Grainger County Tomato Festival wraps up 27th year

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Slice them, fry them, even chuck them. Basically anything you can do with a tomato, people have been doing in a part of East Tennessee this weekend.

It’s called the Grainger County Tomato Festival, and it’s in its 27th year.

It’s a celebration of Grainger County tomatoes.

“It’s the best tomato around. And I don’t just mean in Grainger County, I mean in the United States and I know about England too,” said chairman Kathie Self.

Fresh and whole. Sliced and fried. Sometimes even thrown. The festival hosts a Tomato Wars.

“It was like fighting for your life. I felt like I was going to get hit every time I turned around,” said one participant.

That was just a part of the entire weekend dedicated to promoting the local agriculture.

The secret to their specialty?

Kim Stratton with Stratton Farms said, “I have a feeling it’s the soil we grow the tomatoes in here. It has something to do with the climate, the mountains. Not only is the festival about the tomato but also about community.”

“People want to show we’re proud of what we’ve got. We don’t want to brag about it, but we want everyone to see what we’ve got in a positive way,” said Self.

Organizers say preparations for next years festival begins in a couple of weeks.

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