Taste terrific tomatoes at NightCrawler Gardens

By Matt Reese

Fresh lettuce is fine, sweet peas are great, and hot peppers can add flair to summer fare, but many gardeners especially yearn for the first, ripe, delicious tomato from the garden each year.

“Whether it is a couple of plants in the garden or in a pot on the back porch, if people grow one thing, it’s a tomato,” said Jason England, who owns and operates NightCrawler Gardens in Fairfield County with his wife, Sheri. “Here we try to focus on quality and customer service and we try to be diverse and offer unique things. This year we had 85 different varieties of tomatoes. Peppers have been really big for us too. There are a lot of chili-heads out there who want hot peppers.” Word of mouth has been great, but advertising efforts have been lackluster. They send out regular e-mail updates about the farm and have an extensive Web site (managed by England’s mother), but it is often hard to keep up to date amid all of the other demands on the farm.

Another way NightCrawler has been reaching out to customers has been through hosting events, including the Third Annual Terrific Tomato Tasting that will be held on Aug. 18, held in cooperation with Ohio State University Extension. Last year, 150 visitors came to sample the extensive tomato varieties. This year’s event will feature 85 varieties of tomatoes to sample, a cooking demonstrating from an area chef, a recipe contest using fresh garden products and a gardening presentation.

“It is held on a Thursday night and it is a laid back event. It is a lot of fun and we love to get gardeners out here to visit,” England said. “People just love to try those tomatoes.”

For more information visit http://nightcrawlergardens.com.

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