The Tomato Festival was great this year!!!

Did you get along to the Tomato Festival Sydney this year?

If you didn’t make it, put it in your calendar for next year because it’s amazing!!

Come and celebrate the tomato with us! Yes, that’s right the humble tomato and wander around the event village on the beautiful Band Lawn, try free tastings, join a guided walk (free), take part in talks and activities (some free, some ticketed) and so much more!

These little fellas are enjoyed all over the world, in all manner of ways. From salads to sauces, pizza to pastas, the fabulous tomato has become a key ingredient in all our lives. This is your one chance every year to celebrate the tomato.


Click here to see the weekends Tomato Festival program.

Tomato making and growing competitions

 There were THREE Competition Classes all booked out:

  1. Tomato Passata Sauce Challenge.
  2. Tomato Relish/Chutney Challenge.
  3. ‘Best in Show’ Home-Grown Tomatoes

Judges for the Relish/Chutney Challenge and Passata Sauce Challenge included the discerning palates of Ashley Hughes, Group Executive Chef Trippas White Group, Mark Proudfoot, Head Chef, Centennial Parklands Dining and chef Simon Lawson from Agape Organic Restaurant and Bar.

Judges for the ‘Best in Show’ home-grown tomatoes include ABC Gardening host Costa Georgiadis, and gardening expert and radio presenter Judy Horton.

Prizes included:

  • Three x 1-year household memberships to the Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens
  • Two x 2-year memberships to the Diggers Club
  • Two x $100 vouchers for the Botanic Gardens Restaurant
  • Three x packs of four complimentary swims at the Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool
  • Copies of the book The Australian Fruit And Vegetable Garden by Clive Blazey and Jane Varkulevicius

Click here to view the video of the Tomato Festival Sydney 2014.

Tomato Festival Village (free entry)

Here everyone immersed themselves in the buzz of activity and revelled in the surroundings – so what was on?

  • Local and heirloom produce for sale
  • Relish, pop-up cafe and bar
  • Tomato Taste Test – you be the judge (10 different varieties to test, 11.30 am daily)
  • Sensational Tastes guided walk (free, 11 am and 2 pm daily)
  • Plants and botanically inspired gifts for sale
  • Children’s cherry tomato and spoon race, plus other games – gold coin donation

Local producers included:

Sorbello Family Fresh Produce who specialise in heirloom tomatoes plus heirloom cucumbers and also have a great range of herbs.

Highland Gourmet Potatoes (one of my neighbours) who grow in the fertile potato District of Robertson NSW around 40 different varieties of potatoes! Norman will also be giving a fabulous talk on potatoes (

Australia on a Plate will be showcasing cheeses from Shaw River Buffalo Chees who craft milk from their own herd of water buffalos into delicious cheeses, such as the multi award winning Annie Baxter a pecorino/romano style cheese and mozzarella the perfect accompaniment to tomatoes ( along with Yarra Valley Dairy who make a range of delicious fresh artisan cheeses from both cows and goats milk such as fresh goat cheese dusted in ash and Persian fetta (

Pukara Estate from the Upper Hunter Valley produce a wonderful range of distinctive regional olive oils, vinegars and condiments  (

There were Masterclasses, Talks and fantastic Luncheon

Here’s some of the program!

  • Growing in containers: From creativity to compost: Making use of space around you, Costa Georgiadis: Sunday 12 noon
  • Natural fermentation and pickling – the benefits of living food, Steve Hogwood, 1910 Lifestyle: Saturday 10.45 am and 3 pm
  • Potatoes don’t grow on trees, Norman Gair Highland Gourmet Potatoes: Saturday 2.15 pm
  • Tomatoes are not the only fruit: a practical guide to growing other Solanaceae plants, Paul Nicholson, Royal Botanic Garden: Sunday 2.15 pm
  • Growing tips for our favourite heirloom varieties, Ian Magnus, the Diggers Club: Both days 10 am
  • Companion planting, Ian Magnus, the Diggers, Club: Both days 1.30 pm
  • Bees and their important role in our food chain, Doug Purdie, The Urban Beehive. Doug manages the beehives at the Royal Botanic Garden. The Urban Beehive and Bloomberg are proud supporters of honey bee conservation: Saturday 12.15 pm and Sunday 10.45 am

Masterclasses in Maiden Theatre

Preserving the Italian Way with Pietro Demaio

When: Saturday 14 February: 1.30-3.30 pm or Sunday 15 February: 10 am-12 midday
Cost: $55 p/p Non-members, $50 p/p Members (Diggers Club, Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens).
Bookings were essential as it was packed out.

The History of Heirloom Tomatoes and Why I Fell in Love with Them! – Talk by Clive Blazey

A wonderful opportunity to meet Clive Blazey, founder and Chairman of the Diggers Club, and enjoy his fascinating talk and slide show. There will be an opportunity for Q&A with Clive after his presentation as well.

When: Saturday 14 February: 11.00-11.45 am or Sunday 15 February: 2.00-2.45 pm
Cost: $25 p/p Non-members, $20 p/p Members (Diggers Club, Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens)

Bookings were essential and this session was packed out too!!!



This lunch was truly amazing at the Botanic Gardens Restaurant because they created a special 4 course tomato themed lunch for the Festival. Head chef Todd Hunt brought his considerable talents to bear designing a delicious lunch for all who atteneded. Todd has worked in some of Sydney’s top kitchens including the Quay with Peter Gilmore.

Finding Pizza Plants – A great Children’s Activity at Lion Gate Lodge.

Pizza Plants, there much flurry with hands-on pizza making at Lion Gate Lodge. An engaging event that took kids and their tastebuds on a delicious adventure to find pizza ingredients growing in the Garden. why not plant theses yummy herbs at home and then let them use the plants to make their own munchalicious mini-pizza at home?! Here was the flyer for the event!

Pizza_Plants_flyer  Download flyer


Tomato Festival Sydney wins national award in it’s first year!

The Tomato Festival Sydney 2014 won the Best Achievement in Marketing, Communication or Sponsorship category at the Australian Event Awards, who knows they may win it again this year!

This achievement was also made possible through the extraordinary collaboration with The Tomato Festival’s partners, the Diggers Club, Trippas White Group, Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens and Grow It Local.

Hopefully I’ll see you next year??

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