The seventh annual Capay Tomato Festival runs from 3 to 11 p.m. Saturday, July 19, at Capay Organic, with a full slate of activities for all ages, including heirloom and cherry tomato tastings, farm tours and live music throughout the afternoon and into the evening. Event proceeds benefit the Kathleen Barsotti Nonprofit for Sustainable Agriculture.
The nonprofit gives an annual scholarship to a high school senior who plans to pursue a field related to sustainable agriculture. It also donates school supplies to farmworker families in the Capay Valley. Last year, more than 600 backpacks full of school supplies were given to local students.
“We welcome the public to our farm for the biggest event of our farm tour season,” said Thaddeus Barsotti, farmer and co-owner of Farm Fresh To You, which sponsors the event. “There’s nothing like the taste of just-harvested, heirloom tomatoes to celebrate the bounty of summer. The Capay Tomato Festival is our farm’s mission in action — connecting people with the land that grows their food.”
Visitors will take part in a tomato tasting, featuring cherry and heirloom tomato varieties, and vote on their favorite varieties. The 2013 heirloom tomato tasting winner was “Chocolate Stripe” with the “Sweet 100” variety taking the cherry tomato category.
In addition to tasting all of the farm’s tomato varieties, tacos, pizzas and sandwiches from local purveyors made with farm produce will be sold. Caffé Italia’s mobile pizza oven will return with its farm-fresh pizzas and salads. Tacos 911 will sell tacos and burritos. Elote corn will be roasted with a special glaze.
Sacatomatoes food truck will feature food made from farm ingredients with vegetarian and vegan options. Luciano’s Scoop will treat the guests with gelato and iced coffee drinks, and Ruhstaller will pour their locally brewed beer.
All food and drink is sold separately from the admission price.
Guests are also encouraged to bring their own picnics, and the event will feature a “Best Guest Picnic Contest.” Farm staff will roam the event, scouting for the best-looking picnic. The picnic contest winner will receive three complimentary Farm Fresh To You deliveries.
Another Capay Tomato highlight will be the live music by three bands.
At 4 p.m., it’s time for Hot City jazz. This ensemble has established an aesthetic of New Orleans style hot jazz and classic swing, which they augment with a vast array of exotic musical elements, from Latin and Caribbean rhythms to Pacific Island themes and Middle Eastern melodies.
Miss Lonely Hearts takes the stage at 6:30 p.m. With influences from Tom Waits to Woody Guthrie, the band describes its music as “back country, roots-a-billy music.” Miss Lonely Hearts brings together guitar, harmonica, drums, mandolin and upright bass for an upbeat sound.
At 9 p.m., the eight-piece amalgamation Old Man Markley will entertain the crowd with its mix of bluegrass and punk. With captivating, three-part harmonies, nimble instrumentation and an energetic, raucous performance, this band is set to rock the event with fiddle, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, guitar, washboard, drums, autoharp and a homemade, washtub bass
Tickets are on sale now through Wednesday, July 17, for $20 per person (children 12 and under are free). After July 17, tickets will be sold at the door for $25 per person. To purchase tickets, visit www.capaytomato2014.eventbrite.com or call 1-800-796-6009.