AgEBB-MU CAFNR Extension

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

July 6, 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 Ave, Springfield.

An afternoon workshop will be offered from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. MU Extension specialists will teach this session. This special "Growing for Profit" program targeting commercial growers or those who want to start growing produce for profit.

This program has a separate enrollment fee of $15 per person. Educational topics will include; a presentation by a successful local farmer as well as "Food Safety," taught by Dr. Pam Duitsman and "Tomatoes in the High Tunnel —The Path to Profitability," taught by Patrick Byers.

A free walking tour of the tomato plantings in the demonstration garden will begin at 5 p.m.

A vendor marketplace for tomatoes and tomato products opens at 5 p.m. in the atrium of the Botanical Center. The vendor area is open to the public.

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 production class or evening educational class.

The expo will conclude with an evening workshop (6 p.m. to 8 p.m.) taught by Kelly McGowan, a University of Missouri Extension horticulture educator with MU Extension, and Dr. Pam Duitsman, a nutrition specialist with MU Extension. Tomato production and use at home will be featured during this program for home gardeners. Enrollment requires a ticket for $10 per person.

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