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Epicurean Tomato Fete
 
The Epicurean Tomato Fete is featured the Classic American Home September 2001 issue
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Food Event: The premier tomato event in the Northeast
When: September 12, 2004, 2:00PM
Where: The Berkshires, MA: Eastover Resort, Lenox, MA
What: Sample 100 plus heirloom tomato varieties, delectable creations from great chefs from New York to Boston and the Berkshires, wine, garlic oils, salsas, rare seeds for sale, and more.
Tickets: $50 children age 9-12 $25. Tickets may be purchased by check to our mailing address after July 1, or at Domaney's Wine and Liquor Store in Great Barrington while their supply lasts during the month of August. Tickets will be mailed out or held at the door if checks not received in a timely fashion.


Eastover Resort is located in Lenox , MA on 430 East Street. For directions only call 800-822-2386.

FROM Metro, NY and NJ I-87N to I90E to Exit 2(Lee, MA) to Rte 20W or Taconic Pkwy to I-90E to Exit 2 (Lee, MA)

FROM Albany I-90E to Exit 2 (Lee, MA) to Rte. 20W

For the more adventurous take I-90E to Exit B3 - Austerlitz, (last exit in NY State) onto Route 22 North. Turn left onto Route 102 back over I-90, and continue through West Stockbridge to Route 183 (by the Berkshire Botanical Garden). Left onto Route 183 into the center of Lenox. Find and take Housatonic Street (off Church Street, center of town) across Route 20 and continue as below.

FROM Boston and Eastern New England I-90W to Exit 2
(Lee, MA) to Rte. 20 W

FROM 20 W: Follow Rte. 20 W for 4.5 miles (through the town of Lee towards Lenox) Take a right at the second stoplight onto Housatonic Street. Take your first left onto East Street. Eastover is 1.25 miles on the right.
The banquet table loaded with dozens of colorful heirloom tomato varieties, sliced and ready for tasting.
It is a celebration of the heirloom tomato, taking place annually in early September in the Berkshires. The Fete highlights the valuable roles that chefs and farmers together make in building a sustainable cuisine. World class chefs come to the fete to serve their food creations using one or more heirloom tomato varieties.
New York Chef Larry Forgione (An American Place) serving his wonderful tomato creation to an awaiting aficionado.
While heirloom tomatoes taste great the chefs transform them into delicacies, bringing out their complex flavors. The Fete began as a one time event to create links between chefs, farmers and food distributors and educate these groups about the wide diversity available in heirloom tomatoes. It quickly turned into an annual event attracting people from many states.

The Conservancy and area farmers bring together a magnificent display of over 100 tomato varieties arranged around a central two tiered banquet table. Tomatoes are artfully sliced on plates by chefs for sampling. The combination of colors and shapes is dazzling.

Since you can never count on the New England climate no one knows just how the tomatoes will be this year and what varieties will finally end up on display. But there are always new ones, and some farmer will bring at least one variety that no one has ever seen before.
There's never enough room to accommodate all the varieties on one table so these spill-overs share a round with some Cream of Saskatchewan watermelon.
As the chefs complete their final preparations, fiddling with flower arrangements and rainbow piles of tomatoes the crowd anxiously awaits entrance onto the field, like horses at a starting gate. At this point they will try a glass or two of regional wine perhaps Champagne from Westport Rivers Winery in Massachusetts or a Cabernet Franc from Sakonnnet in Rhode Island or a Chardonnnay Proprietor's Reserve from Millbrook in the Hudson Valley.
Chef Melissa Kelly from Primo in Rockland Maine, has always got a smile for one her fans as she hands them a dish of "Frico". She was the James Beard Chef in 1999.
Then they must wait patiently while they hear a short lecture on genetic engineering, local agriculture, or biodiversity. Just as a few eyes begin to glaze over the word is given and everyone rushes towards the chef's stations or are captivating on the way by the volumes of multicolored tomato slices. Warming in the sun. Instantly the banquet table becomes transformed into an elegant feeding trough as people discern the flavors of one tomato compared to the next attempting to ascertain which is the best, the sweetest or the most complex.
The echoes of "ahs" and "oohs" and "mmms" are heard as people sample a scallop seviche made by Chris Douglas from Savoy in Boston, or a frico made by Melissa Kelly from Primo in Maine, a combination of tomatoes,
Seven Hills Chef Aura Weiss works feverishly to get to the end of the banquet table as she slices tomatoes for the waiting crowd, shortly before the start of the Fete.
pesto and crab or a crab meat salad stuffed into cucumber sections with a Japanese tomato sauce from Diane Forley of New York's Verbena. Then people may move on to dessert-- perhaps an Indian Moon sorbet or champagne granite from Aunt Ruby's German Green tomato made by Wheatleigh's pastry chef Sheryl Garde or for something a bit spicier how about sugared ginger tomatoes with a delicate pastry from Blue Ginger or for the truly bold Francois Payard's Napoleon?

If that isn't enough there's always a table with roasted and salted heirloom potatoes to eat and another table with a half dozen or so heirloom garlic's and oils, along with copious loaves of French bread for dipping. Often other heirloom produce makes it to the tables, rare native American corns, eggplants, peppers, squashes and more.
Cherokee Purple, Magnus, Livingston's Beauty, Black Pear and Aunt Ruby's German Green are among the many tomatoes about to be consumed at the Fete.
The Fete is both a feast for the palate and for the eyes. It features many of the best chefs from Boston to New York and aide from the aforementioned has included Bostonians Stan Frankenthaler from Salamander, Frank Mclleland from L'Espalier, Andy Husbands from Tremont 647, while from New York Larry Forgione, Peter Hoffmann from Savoy, Kevin Reilly from Zoe, and Katy Sparks from Quilty's have all made appearances
 
If you are around the Northeast at the end of summer consider attending the Fete. But dont wait too long--we will sell out!
It's the big tomato feed at the main banquet table.

EASTERN NATIVE SEED CONSERVANCY
P.O. Box 451
Great Barrington, Massachusetts 01230
413.229.8316
natseeds@aol.com