A Fruit's Grand (and Juicy) SoCal Tour

Tomatomania! is headed for Westwood, Descanso Gardens, and points beyond.

Foods do travel, oftentimes more than humans do, but mostly their routes consist of Point A (a farm) to Point B (a grocery store) with a couple of stops along the way.

But foods rarely if ever go on tour, like a band might, with one notable exception: heirloom tomatoes. Nope, we're not saying that heirloom tomatoes receive an annual festival or two -- plenty of fruits and vegetables get that treatment. We're saying that the posh, seedy fruits actually hit the road, or their seedlings, do, making several stops over the course of springtime, the better to meet with adoring fans.

Well, "meet" is a stretch, but get purchased by is correct. The tour is called Tomatomania!, complete with exclamation point, and it is headed to Southern California in April.

Stop one in April is in Westwood, at Grow Native on Davis Avenue. Dates? April 5 or 6.

Stop two is Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge on April 6 and 7.

What will you find there? Descanso lists classes on growing tomatoes in the backyard, while shoppers at both stops will be able to peruse and purchase the seedlings of hundreds of heirloom and specialty tomatoes. If the fruit has a fancy name, bet you'll locate it here, or one like it.

And, yep, serious horticulturalists attend this mega tomato buff gathering, but so do those gardeners looking to move beyond their first cherry tomato plant into something a bit more exotic.

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By the by, Tomatomania! started in Pasadena back in the early '90s. No surprise it has grown, given the fact that it supports a food that's perfect raw or in a sauce or salsa.

Welcome to town, Tomatomania! Not many fruits go on tour, but perhaps the heirloom tomato can be the trendsetter for any shy kumquats or plums out there looking for wider fame.

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