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Winners of China Grove tomato contest

CHINA GROVE — The “Best Tomato” Contest was held during Farmers Day in China Grove on July 16 at the China Grove Farmers Market.
Participants each entered five tomatoes for the contest. Judges were Don Bringle, mayor of China Grove; Darrell Blackwelder, agricultural agent in charge of horticulture and director of the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County; and Gary Ritchie, owner of Gary’s Bar-B-Que in China Grove. The judges carefully examined the tomatoes and scored each entry based on appearance, taste, no core and inside meatiness.
Winners in the Youth Division were the children of Chris and Charissa Walters, Luke, age 10; Grace, age 8; Rebekah, age 6; and John, age 2. These children have been growing fruits and vegetables this summer in the family garden. Their tomatoes were the Better Boy variety.
The winner in the Adult Division was Duard Cress, a 90-year-old farmer who has been growing tomatoes since he was a youngster. His tomato entry was the Cherokee Purple variety. Both winners were from China Grove.
Other tomato entry varieties included Big Boys, Celebrities and the small cherry tomato variety of the Cherokee Purple tomato .
The winners in each division received a $100 prize from the sponsor of the contest, L.L. Goodnight and Sons Inc. located on Saw Road in Southern Rowan County. Henry Goodnight was on hand to congratulate the winners.
Alan Goodman, manager of the Farmers Market in China Grove, organized and conducted the contest and announced the winners.
Another hit of the day was the “Watermelon Seed Spitting” Contest. Alan Goodman gave away ice cold watermelon and then encouraged the children and adults to enjoy trying to spit the seeds to the farthest end of the contest grid.
“The Biggest Watermelon” contest is now under way at the Farmers Market. Individuals may bring their watermelon entries to the Market on Fridays, 4-7 p.m. The melons will be weighed and the size recorded. Individuals may enter more than one watermelon until the contest ends Sept. 30. Watermelons must be grown in Rowan County. The winner in the Adult and Youth divisions will each receive $100 from the sponsor of the contest, Goodman Farm Supply, located at 338 N. Main St., China Grove.
The China Grove Market at the Mill is sponsored by the Historical Society of South Rowan and is on the grounds of the historical China Grove Roller Mill at 308 N Main St. in China Grove. The market is open on Fridays from 4 until 7 p.m.
A variety of fruits, vegetables, plants, baked goods, honey, eggs and meat is available from Rowan County producers. For more information, please contact Alan Goodman, 704-857-5938.

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