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Almost time for Jacksonville vs. Crystal Springs tomato contest

May 25, 2013— Jacksonville, TX, and Crystal Springs, MS, are both famous for their tomatoes and both communities have an annual Tomato Fest.  Jacksonville, TX, is challenging Crystal Springs, MS, on June 5.  Only one community will win. The town that has the best tasting, best plate of three, and largest plate will be determined, and only one community will return home the tomato winner.

Back in 1896, 2 ex-Mississippian growing tomatoes shared their season’s returns in growing tomatoes to C. D. Jarratt and W. R. Stout of Jacksonville, TX.  The Jacksonville farmers amazed by their returned determined to sell the tomato idea to their home-folks. During Jacksonville tomato industry history, Jacksonville was a center of a circle with an 8-mile radius producing 90% of all the tomatoes shipped from Texas. It’s true, Crystal Springs got Jacksonville started but Jacksonville’s rich soil and years of improving the ‘love’ apple made Jacksonville famous for their tomatoes.

This tomato challenge will take place on Wednesday, June 5, in Shreveport.  Randy Bain of KTBS-TV station is organizing the battle as both communities will deliver the best of the best tomatoes.  The blind taste will take place during their morning program with 5 judges up to the challenge.  One of the official judges will be from Jacksonville, Cherokee County Court At Law Judge Craig Fletcher and the other will be representing Crystal Springs.  Randy Bain of KTBS will select the other three judges to complete the panel of 5 to select the winner.  David Claiborne, Jacksonville local farmer and member of the Tomato Fest Committee is growing the winning tomatoes from Jacksonville. David is not only involved with the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce but also one of the organizers for the Tyler, Texas Farmers Market.

A group of Jacksonville supporters including  Brett Brewer, Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce Chair of the Board, Robin Butt, Jacksonville Chamber Tomato Fest Chair, Jacksonville Mayor Kenneth Melvin, County Commission Bryon Underwood, Jacksonville Tomato Mascot and others will be traveling to Shreveport to attend the challenge!  Crystal Springs Mayor Sally Garland will have supporters as well.

Jacksonville’s 29th Annual Tomato Fest will take place on Saturday, June 8th and Crystal Springs festival will be the last Saturday in June (June 29th).  Jacksonville’s Tomato Fest will have over 24 events in just one day.  Some of the tomato related events include the Celebrity Tomato Eating Contest, Tomato Peeling Contest (peel tomato with your teeth), Best Home Grown Tomato Contest, Salsa Contest and Tomato Mashing Contest.

For additional information contact Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce at 903-586-2217 or 800-376-2217 or visit www.JacksonvilleTexas.com or Crystal Springs, MS Chamber of Commerce at 601-892-2711.

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