healthy eating

Tomatomania! Starts Its Juicy SoCal Roll

That's right: Tomatoes are going on tour, via an on-the-road event brimming with heirloom plants, seeds, and more.

Annabelle Breakey

What to Know

  • "The world's largest (and most fun) tomato plant sale" kicks off its 2022 events at Roger's Gardens in Corona Del Mar on Feb. 25
  • The on-the-road event will also call upon Ojai, Moorpark, and other cities
  • Hundreds of tomato plants are for sale, while experts are on hand to chat about a host of tomato-y topics

Tomatoes are the tangy titans of late July and early August, from fresh-off-the-vine salads, to thick slices topping just-barbecued burgers, to oversized heirlooms simply adorned with basil leaves, olive oil, salt, and pepper, a juicy afternoon snack.

But before those terrific warm-weather tomatoes grow, grow, grow, and soak up all of that summer sunshine, they must first be coaxed, cared for, and fussed over.

Tomato tending goes full seed, er, speed in the springtime, when fresh soil is laid, a new corner of the yard is prepped, and gardeners give plenty of love to seedlings and young plants.

And many of those fruit-forward plants? They're found at Tomatomania!, the on-the-road plant sale, an appetite-stoking event that pops up at several Southern California gardens over several weeks, beginning around the end of February.

And the first Tomatomania! happening is just ahead, at Roger's Gardens in Corona del Mar, with a savory start date of Feb. 25.

"The world's largest (and most fun) tomato plant sale" will offer fans plenty of browse-ready plants, with "... an astonishing selection of over 250 varieties of heirloom and hybrid tomato plants, including new varieties for 2022, and over 100 varieties of peppers."

"Bronze Torch," named the Tomato of the Year, will also be in the sauce-ready spotlight at each stop.

Roger's Gardens has this to say about the tempting tomato: It's a "... beautiful brick red elongated cherry or grape style fruit with dark green and gold striping. This new tomato has an alluring sweet and complete tomato taste that is perfect in salads, salsa, sauces, roasted, or as a delicious snack."

If you can't make the multi-day sale in Corona del Mar, there are several more stops to go in 2022, with the Mission Hills Nursery up in early March, Tapia Bros. Farm Stand later in the month, and Wachter Hay & Grain in Ojai on April 1.

The Signs of Spring are plentiful right now, with the flowering of the fruit trees, the return of The Donut Man's strawberry doughnuts, and the planting of thousands of colorful tulips at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge.

Call the return of Tomatomania!, that garden-gladdening favorite, another promising entry in this category.

Is this the year you finally jump into growing tomatoes? Do you want to snack upon sublime heirlooms come August, or jar homemade sauces for next winter?

What about the truly spectacular salsa possibilities? We're breaking out the extra-crunchy tortilla chips already.

Start here, tomato-ists, and find out where Tomatomania! is rolling, quite literally, near you.

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