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Music has Coachella. Fashion has Bryant Park. Tomatoes have…well, Tomatomania!

Our local purveyor of fresh produce, Tapia Bros., has been advertising this 3-day event for weeks. So, with canvas bags and several ideas for using tomatoes, off we went. We didn’t know exactly what to expect, but we did expect to buy tomatoes. And, we did…but they won’t be ready for 2-3 months. Yes, this is a festival for buying tomato seedlings, not ripened tomatoes.

In hindsight, it makes sense. Tomato season is still a way off, even here in sunny Southern California. But we’re so spoiled to having all types of produce available at the grocery store year round, that we guessed these hoped-for tomatoes would come from somewhere.

While our local grocery stores do stock a surprising amount of tasty year-round produce, of course nothing competes with the flavor of locally grown produce in season. It can literally make all the difference in the world. And nothing is more local or seasonal than what’s growing in the backyard.

We’ve only lived in our home for six months and it’s the first time being in Los Angeles that we’ve had a yard to call our own. A backyard garden was high on the list of home-shopping wants. How soon the reality of actually creating it has arrived. In fact, we’re running a little late, but the first year is always the toughest. So, with our raised garden kit on order, we saw Tomatomania as a sign that our first plants should be none other than the versatile tomato.

Tomatomania celebrates 20 years of promoting the planting of tomato seedlings, as well as the fertilizers, containers, and stakes needed to make it all happen. With events running March and April throughout California, it so happens that Tapia Bros. hosts the largest of these with over 300 varieties of tomatoes sold.

The people at Tomatomania were quite helpful, advising these two novice gardeners to purchase the Celebrity (hybrid standard), Sungold (heirloom cherry), and Indigo Apple (vibrantly colored heirloom shown below).

Stay tuned as we get our first garden planted!

In addition to a huge assortment of tomato seedlings, the next best part of Tomatomania (and Jessica's favorite) was the sheep corral. Enjoy!

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