Weather big factor in better tomato crop this year for Grainger

Weather big factor in better tomato crop this year for Grainger Co. farmers

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The Grainger County Tomato Festival, a 22 year East Tennessee tradition, is about a week away, showcasing locally grown tomatoes. The Grainger County Tomato Festival, a 22 year East Tennessee tradition, is about a week away, showcasing locally grown tomatoes.
Farmers like Jack Ritter, who have been busy picking and packing tomatoes this week, are celebrating before the county's biggest celebration. Farmers like Jack Ritter, who have been busy picking and packing tomatoes this week, are celebrating before the county's biggest celebration.
Having nearly double the amount of vine-ripe tomatoes this year means one more thing to showcase at the Grainger County Tomato Festival. Having nearly double the amount of vine-ripe tomatoes this year means one more thing to showcase at the Grainger County Tomato Festival.
By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

RUTLEDGE (WATE) - The Grainger County Tomato Festival, a 22 year East Tennessee tradition, is about a week away, showcasing locally grown tomatoes. Last year, farmers struggled with rain-soaked crops but say this year is a different story.

Farmers like Jack Ritter, who have been busy picking and packing tomatoes this week, are celebrating before the county's biggest celebration.

"At this point we've got a good crop of tomatoes. They've picked real good and are good quality," he said.

One reason why is the weather this summer, with plenty of sun and not nearly as much rain.

"It was a tough deal last year. We had too much rain and too much rain on tomatoes will cause us to have disease and the tomatoes are usually not as good of quality," said Ritter.

Having nearly double the amount of vine-ripe tomatoes this year means one more thing to showcase at the Grainger County Tomato Festival.

"We try to have plenty of canning tomatoes, last year we didn't have those. So this year it looks like we're going to have plenty of plenty of canning tomatoes," added Ritter.

Over at Tennessee Homegrown Tomatoes, their produce is noticeably bigger. "And I think the flavor is excellent this year," said employee Linda Carpenter.

The farm has five new greenhouses so that tomato season lasts longer.

"So far it's been a real good season and hopefully it will continue," added Carpenter.

The Grainger County Tomato Festival kicks off Friday, July 25 and lasts throughout the weekend. Vendors set up around Rutledge Middle and Elementary schools, 7480 Rutledge Pike in Rutledge.
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