THE eighth annual Tasmanian Garlic and Tomato Festival at Selbourne in the heart of northern Tasmania near Hagley aimed to teach about growing and picking the correct produce for the right dish.
More than 2000 people flocked to the community volunteer-run event, which featured 35 stalls and forums.
Annette and Nevil Reed grow high quality heirloom tomatoes and garlic.
The couple have been at the property for 30 years and started Tasmanian Natural Garlic and Tomatoes about 12 years ago.
They grow everything from seeds, seedlings and fresh produce to pantry items. “When we started, we didn’t know anything about growing tomatoes, but since then we have been on a steep learning curve. This year it took forever for the tomatoes to ripen,” Annette said.
“We love having people come to the farm and seeing what we’re doing. “Our standards are high and our philosophy is simple: don’t offer anything that we would not be delighted with ourselves.”
Tomatoes come in every colour of the rainbow and Annette talked to groups about the characteristics of each different coloured tomato.
“My tomatoes are like my babies, they even have names.”
Annette said it’s been a “bummer” of a season for garlic.
“We lost almost 90 per cent of our crop,” she said.
Long-time tomato fanciers Andrew and Donna Hanson moved from Rosebud in Victoria to Newnham to expand their tomato growing passion.
“We loved the festival, there was so much to see and learn,” Donna said.
“I gained so much more knowledge. I’ve learned more today about tomatoes and garlic than I have in 20 years.
“Being with Annette is like reading four books on tomatoes, she is so knowledgeable and willing to share her knowledge and expertise.”
Festival stallholder Georgie Galloway with her baby daughter Bonnie explained an innovative product Easy Mulch.
She makes the Easy Mulch using all local materials at Westbury.
“The mulch is in pellets for easy use, you place it on the garden, add water and the pellets expand to form a base cover for the plants,” Georgie said.
“The pellets are heat treated so we don’t get any weeds and the mulch adds nutrients to the soil.”