If you didn’t make it to this year’s Palmetto Tasty Tomato Festival at downtown farm City Roots, you missed out. But they just might do it again next year, so here’s to that! The Shop Tart was a judge, in the esteemed company of all the best chefs in town, local media moguls and lots of really important people. In fact, she isn’t 100 percent sure how she made the cut, but she’s always happy to judge food, because she likes to eat. Her fellow judges…
- Belinda Gergel, Columbia City Council
- Richard Burts, Historic 701 Whaley
- Ann Timberlake, Conservation Voters of SC
- Frank Knapp, SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce
- Amanda McNulty, Making it Grow
- Rodger Winn, Heirloom seed maestro
- Jenks Farmer, Horticulturist and permaculture expert [Ed. Note: And Shop Tart contributor!]
- Emile DeFelice, All-Local Farmer’s Market at 701 Whaley, Caw Caw Creek Farms, pictured below right with Jenks Farmer and Tom Hall, but not the Tom Hall that was also a judge.
- Eva Moore, The Free Times
- Alicia Barnes, ABC Columbia news anchor
- Chef Tim Peters of Motor Supply Co. Bistro
- Chef Mike Davis of Terra Restaurant
- Chef Ricky Mollohan, chef/owner of Mr. Friendly’s, Solstice Kitchen & Cellar on Greene
- Kristian Niemi, owner of Rosso and Gervais & Vine Restaurants
- Tom and Julie Hall, owners of SMOKE Southern BBQ Revival
- Sean Hanley of MoMo’s Bistro
- Julie Culclasure of Blue Cactus Cafe
- Chef Alex Suaudom du Monde of Baan Sawan Thai Bistro
- Joe Turkaly of Doc’s Gumbo Grille
- Chef Benoit of Rosewood Market
The Shop Tart joined Chef Benoit and Alicia Barnes in judging the Best Tomato Grown By a Child Contest.
These black cherry tomatoes were the clear winner. They were grown by none other than the offspring of Eddie Wales, owner of Motor Supply and Tombo Grille. And they were awesome. In fact, had there been a Best Overall award, they would have won. Or the Shop Tart would have died fighting for their honor.
Because of these tomatoes, the Shop Tart has learned she prefers a black tomato. They have a hint of salt at the beginning and a sweet, but not cloying, finish. She is obsessed. So obsessed, she purchased a black heirloom tomato at Rosewood Market yesterday for her dinner.
She also scored some local chanterelles at Rosewood.
She added a bag of City Roots sprouts to her cart to go with the ones she had picked up at the All-Local Market on Saturday, bringing her greens supply to three: arugula, sunflower sprouts and snow pea sprouts. If you have not discovered the great joy of City Roots sprouts, go there, like, yesterday.
At home, she had chipotle mayo, goat cheese from the All-Local Market and a very special slab of bacon she had received as a parting gift from Chef Tim at Motor Supply’s 20th Anniversary Dinner.
She also had a roll of venison burger from a very generous hunter friend. First, she chopped the bacon into bits and sauteed it in a pan. That’s not true. First, she poured a glass of grüner veltliner. Yum. Then she sauteed the bacon, removed it from the pan and fried the chanterelles in the bacon drippings.
She made the burgers in a grill pan, adding a handful of chanterelles and a dollop of goat cheese before finishing them in the oven. Enfin, she was ready to plate the meal. Sprouts and arugula were topped with chanterelles, bacon bits, a venison burger with goat cheese and more chanterelles and a dollop of chipotle mayo. Hear that? It’s the sound of all the Shop Tart’s ex-boyfriends whimpering – just a little – because they weren’t man enough to take on her kind of crazy. If they had been, they could have eaten this last night.
After dinner, there were a few leftover slices of tomato and bacon bits. Hmmm… Also at the Tomato Festival, artisan stonemason Jay Hubbell was manning the tomato sandwich station, slapping Duke’s mayo on white bread, adding salt, pepper and juicy slabs of local tomatoes. Is there a more perfect dish in the world? Probably not.
For dessert, Mr. Shop Tart and his wife enjoyed tomato sandwiches on Heather’s Artisan bread with the leftover bacon and tomatoes and a dab of chipotle mayo. Yum!
The Shop Tart was also inspired by dishes brought to the festival for a tomato-themed potluck.
Anna Redwine made tomato ice cream with a hint of basil and it was delicious! No lie. There were several tomato pies and the Shop Tart desperately wanted to try this one. Sadly, she missed it because she was saving her appetite and palate for judging duties and it was but a memory by the time she was finished. Might have to pick one up at DiPrato’s for dinner.
Nick of the Half and Half was there peddling posters, including the one they designed for the tomato festival. Ten dollars is about the best price ever for art, n’est-ce pas? They may still have a few left.
The lovely Tracie Broom, one of the main organizers along with Ryan Nevius of Sustainable Midlands and Kristen Dubard of Slow Food, announced the winners and Tom Hall and the Plowboys entertained afterward.
A good time was had by all and the Shop Tart can’t wait until next year!
Speaking of inspiring, are you ready for fall fashion? The Shop Tart already has an obsession. At the Kicks sidewalk sale on Saturday, where she scored a crazy good deal on Pura Lopez clog sandals, she also spotted these Mary Jane wedges by Pour La Victoire for fall. Want.
Happy Shopping and don’t forget to tell them you read it on the Shop Tart!