Big tomato earns big money

Staff Writer
Geneseo Republic
Connie Rollins displays the big tomato that won her $500 in the Giant Tomato Search contest, sponsored by Sunnyfield Greenhouse and Gardens.

Tom and Connie Rollins, Victoria, have won $500 by growing a tomato weighing more than 2 pounds in their home garden.

Mr. and Mrs. Rollins entered their big tomato in the Giant Tomato Search Contest, sponsored by Sunnyfield Greenhouse and Gardens, rural Galva. It weighed in at 2.76 pounds on Aug. 26.

“We didn’t really do anything special to the plant,” Connie said. “We always plant them deep. We add some time-release fertilizer and watered them a couple times. Tom built wooden cages about five feet high and our plants always grow over the top.”

Connie said the plant produced about 15 other tomatoes, all good-sized and good-tasting.

“After we weighed in, I took the tomato home and we made BLTs. It was the variety Delicious, and it was - very delicious,” she said.

“This was a beautiful tomato to look at,” said Ron Dieter of Sunnyfield Greenhouse and Gardens. “Sometimes these big tomatoes can get pretty ugly, but this one was firm and smooth without any large cracks near the stem. I almost hated to cut it open for pictures.”

Three other entries vied for second place, each weighing 2.62 pounds. Roger Garrison, Wyoming, won the second-place prize of $300 because he was the first to weigh in. His tomato, also a Delicious, was weighed Aug. 7, the earliest of all the winning entries.

The $200 third-place winner, Dawn Bryner, Neponset, brought in two tomatoes for weighing Aug. 25. Each weighed exactly 2.62 pounds.

“Last year only three entries in the contest broke the 2-pound barrier,” said Dieter. “This year we had a dozen entries over 2 pounds. I think it shows how much better growing conditions were this season.”

The largest tomato recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records was a Delicious tomato weighing a whopping 7 pounds, 12 ounces. It was grown by Gordon Graham of Edmond, Okla.