AgEBB-MU CAFNR Extension

David Burton
Civic Communications Specialist
2400 S. Scenic Ave.
Springfield, MO 65807

April 27, 2018

Gardening Favorite to be Celebrated at 2nd Annual "Tomato Expo" July 24 in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Everything about tomatoes will be celebrated as part of University of Missouri Extension's 2nd Annual "Tomato Expo" planned for July 24 at the Springfield Botanical Center, 2400 S. Scenic, Springfield.

The workshop will include educational presentations by Patrick Byers, a University of Missouri Extension horticulture specialist, Kelly McGowan, a horticulture educator with MU Extension, and Dr. Pam Duitsman, a nutrition specialist with MU Extension. Tomato production - including how to choose the best variety, planting and caring for tomatoes, and the harvest and storage of tomatoes - will be addressed in presentations at the festival. These educational classes are scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and require a ticket for $10 per person.

Agriculture specialist David Middleton from Lincoln University will conduct a taste testing and survey of 10 heirloom tomato varieties from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. To participate in this fun taste testing survey participants must be enrolled in either the afternoon commercial or evening educational classes.

A free walking tour of the tomato plantings in the demonstration garden will begin at 4 p.m.

A vendor marketplace for tomatoes and tomato products opens at 4 p.m. in the atrium of the Botanical Center. Local producers will be selling their unique products until 8 p.m. The vendor area is open to the public.

In the afternoon from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., MU Extension specialists will offer a special local foods program targeting commercial growers or those who want to grow produce for profit. This program has a separate enrollment fee of $15 per person.

Advanced registration for the classes is needed and can be done online, in person at the Greene County Extension, or by sending a check by mail to Greene County Extension at 2400 S. Scenic Avenue, Springfield, MO 65807. A registration form can be found online at

Tomatoes have a celebrated history in the Ozarks. Tomato growing and canning as a commercial enterprise began in the Ozarks sometime in the 1890s and reached a peak during the 1920s and 1930s, before trailing off dramatically around the time of World War II, and died out completely around the 1950s or 1960s.

While tomato production in the Ozarks has since declined, there is a growing potential for new local markets according to University of Missouri Extension specialists. Even without commercial production, tomatoes are a favorite of local gardeners.

Additional information about tomatoes is online at

Source: David Burton, (417) 881-8909

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