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The good, the bad and the oh-so-tasty at inaugural tomato cocktail contest

July 20th 11:07am, 2010

072010_tomatocontestSure, the thought of sweet summer tomatoes plucked fresh from a local farm should be enough to get you out of bed on a Saturday. But just in case you need that little extra push shaking off the covers, this homegrown tomato contest will also feature the first-ever Good, Big and Ugly tomato cocktail showdown. Got your shoes on yet?

For the contest, three local mixologists will be paired with three area farmers to create cocktails that showcase the day’s star ingredient: tomatoes, of course. Matt Seiter of Sanctuaria will be paired with YellowTree Farm’s Justin Leszcz, Monarch’s Nate Selsor will work with Gabriel Walbridge of Ozark Harvest Farms and Ted Kilgore of Taste by Niche fame will spend the day working with Karrie Johnson of Red House Farm.

Each mixologist has already started working with his assigned farmer to concoct a drink that uses tomatoes of all shapes and sizes, as well as any other herbs, veggies and fruits they can find on their partner’s farm. The weirder, the better for this seasonal battle, Seiter said, as the teams are looking to steer clear of the traditional reds and reaching for more obscure varieties including Zebras, Purple Cherokees and Italian Ices. The mixologists will also have to make a second cocktail, this one on-the-spot using whatever ingredients are set out on the table. Something tells me this won’t be your mom’s bloody mary.

Each cocktail will be judged on appearance, flavor and overall impression and the judges (including Sauce Elixir columnist Ligaya Figueras) will award first place “good”, second place “big” and third place “ugly” awards in accordance with the festival’s theme.

The Homegrown Tomato Contest and Tasting put on by Slow Food St. Louis will be held at Orlando Gardens near the Sappington Farmer’s Market on July 31 from noon to 4 p.m.; the cocktail contest starts at 2 p.m. For more info, click here.

By Stacy Schultz

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