French Market Creole Tomato Festival
June 8 - 9, 2013
June in New Orleans means the arrival of Creole tomato dishes on local restaurant menus, in farmers markets and at roadside stands. Typically the crop arrives in early June, which is why the French Market Creole Tomato Festival is always held the second weekend of that month.
This year's 27th annual Creole Tomato Festival runs from Saturday, June 8 to Sunday, June 9 at the historic French Market. Hours on both days are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Festival-goers can also enjoy the Cajun-Zydeco Festival that same weekend at the Old U.S. Mint, directly across Barracks Street from the French Market.
Admission to the festival is free and open to the public. It is family-friendly with activities for children offered.
Centered around the French Market, which dates back to 1791 and is the nation's oldest city marketplace, the Creole Tomato Festival features:
- Live outdoor music
- Cooking demonstrations
- Creole Tomato Parade
- Local farmers' market and food and beverage booths
- Fresh Creole Tomatoes for sale by local produce growers
- Creole tomato dishes
- Creole tomato eating contests
- Misting stations
- Children's activities
More information, including the live music lineup, will be announced as the date gets closer.
Food booths typically offer Creole tomato favorites like Fried Green Tomatoes, Creole Tomato Bloody Marys, Creole Tomato with Shrimp Salad, Stuffed Shrimp with Grilled Creole Tomato over Jasmine Rice, Creole Tomato Basil Crepes, Creole Tomato Gelato, Creole Tomato Cream Crawfish Pies, Blooming Onion on a bed of Creole Tomato and more!
Tomatoes, especially the succulent Creoles, are essential ingredients in many of the most popular dishes served by New Orleans' top restaurants. Chefs love them for their versatility and diners love them for their unique flavor.
The French Market Creole Tomato Festival is a celebration of Louisiana's produce, farmers and the Pelican State's unique cultural and cuisine offerings, of which the Creole tomato is emblematic. Originally imported from the West Indies, the Creole tomato thrives in the rich alluvial soil and subtropical climate of south Louisiana, especially in St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes.
For over 20 years, the Creole Tomato Festival has celebrated this unique Louisiana vegetable, which adds so much to so many local recipes. The festival is beloved by locals and visitors alike for its quaint and quirky traditions, such as life-sized tomatoes strolling the grounds handing out tomato shaped fans, and the auctioning off of the first tomatoes of the season to local chefs. Shrimp season coincides with Creole tomato season, so it's a perfect recipe for delicious summer fun to feature fresh seafood and fresh produce in dishes, seminars and in "making groceries" at the historic French Market.
Also on the grounds of the French Market are dozens of booths selling everything you can imagine: clothing, jewelry, artwork, crafts, antiques, compact discs and DVDs and much more. You can enjoy the festival and do some shopping all at the same time.
For more information on the Creole Tomato Festival go to www.frenchmarket.org.