August 27th, 2021.
On Tuesday, August 24th, Freedom Food Farm was again awarded the first-place trophy in the 36th annual Massachusetts Tomato contest. The award-winning tomato – the orange variety called moonglow took top prize in the heirloom category – was grown and harvested on the Raynham, MA farm.
In 2019, Freedom Food Farm was recognized at this contest for their cherry tomatoes, which received first and third prizes. No contest was held in 2020, so this year’s win marks back-to-back first-place awards for the farm.
The winning tomatoes were raised in greenhouses, which may surprise some tomato-lovers who deride “hothouse tomatoes.” But, as greenhouse manager Grace McCurn explained, “especially in years with unpredictable weather, raising tomatoes in a greenhouse allows us to provide the perfect environment for the plants.”
Two weeks before the contest, McCurn stopped watering the plants, so that the sugars in the fruit would become more concentrated, leading to an even tastier tomato.
The Massachusetts Tomato Contest is hosted each year at the Boston Public Market and is sponsored by the New England Vegetable and Berry Growers Association in cooperation with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) and Mass Farmers’ Markets. The contest is advertised as a friendly competition with the goal of celebrating the skills and bounty of Massachusetts farmers. This year, 15 farms from across the state brought 77 entries to the contest.
Chuck Currie, the owner of Freedom Food Farm, feels especially proud of this win, which he sees as a validation of his farming practices. Currie’s farm is certified organic and regenerative, which means the farmers work to rebuild environmental health and reverse the impacts of climate change while raising healthy food.
McCurn agrees, stating “Growing organically, it’s expected that some years you lose plants to pests. But the flavor and quality are worth it.”
The first-place trophy will be displayed in the farm store next to the two previous awards. Meanwhile, the award-winning tomato variety, along with cherry tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, and many other vegetables will continue to be available at the Somerville Union Square Farmers Market and the farm store in Raynham.
Freedom Food Farm Assistant Manager
More about the contest here: https://www.mass.gov/news/state-agricultural-officials-announce-winners-of-2021-massachusetts-tomato-contest
More about the farm here: http://www.freedomfoodfarm.com/our-farm