Spring Sign: Tomatomania! Hits the Road

The juiciest tour of the year starts its squeezable run in Corona del Mar.

A TRUE-HEARTED TOMATO FAN... would never want to be put on the spot about whether her favorite food was best savored inside a simple sourdough sandwich, with a little cheese and pepper to complement the juicy superstar, or on a pasta. Nor would the same fan want to address the issue of tomatoes topping a salad, or starring as the main part of a dippable appetizer, or as the sole food on the plate (along with a pinch of salt). The globular fruit is fabulous in the many ways it arrives in our bowls and dishes, and to narrow one quadrant down as superior to all other styles of cooking and presentation is as fruitless as narrowing down any other pleasure of the plate. All that said, tomato lovers are bound to land upon a particular season they like the most, at least when it comes to their most desired foodstuff: springtime. True, true, many a tomato reaches its ripest, shiniest expression when the height of summer arrives, but the warmer days of spring are all about the garden, and planning, and plotting, and shopping for the seeds that will become the tomatoes that you will put upon pasta and swanky sourdough bread. Tomatomania!, the traveling heirloom seed extravaganza, announces the arrival of this growing season, and it does so in several cities around California, including...

CORONA DEL MAR: That's stop one for the tour, and it happens over the first weekend in March. The last stop is on the final day of April in Geyserville. And within that multi-week span? So much tomato love, from tastings to sales to hobnobbing with other tomatoists to exchanging gardening tips. It is, in short, the rock concert for this rock star of a fruit, the heirloom tomato, and fans come out in let's-get-growing profusion. Did you prepare part of the yard for some awesome tomato action in the months ahead? Best find out when the exclamation-point-y spectacular lands in a town near you. (And, before we go, we'll come out in favor of tomato-sourdough sandwiches, except in the fall and winter, when pasta rules. See? So hard to choose in matters of tomatodom.)

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