Saturday, May 18, 2024

Tomato grow-off turns into fierce rivalry

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Greg Holmes, left, and Ted Waters came up with the friendly competition to bring the community together over summer.

What started out as a friendly, morale-boosting community competition has turned into a fierce battle to be crowned the first Apothecary tomato growing champion.

A competition set up by the Apothecary Licensed Eatery’s Ted Waters and friend Greg Holmes has given members of the community a chance to ‘exercise their green thumb’ and grow the heaviest tomato possible.

Holmes, who came up with the idea, planted about 80 beefsteak tomato plants for the competition, not thinking the idea would be so admired.

“Now we have run out and people are still coming in wanting them,” says Holmes.

The plants were given out free of charge at the Apothecary to anyone who wished to participate.

“It was just an idea for a bit of fun over summer, to get people involved and bring the community together a bit more,” says Holmes.

Competitors are asked to send in progress pictures to a Facebook page set up for the competition

“People have started naming their tomatoes and getting quite into it which was been awesome,” says Waters.

Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown, Opposition Leader Christopher Luxon and former rugby league star Richie Barnett are among those hoping to take out the ultimate title as the Apothecary tomato growing competition champion.

Holmes says that if the competition takes off it will become an annual rivalry in the community and might look into a potato growing competition over winter.

“There have been a few cheats already… one lady sent in a progress picture of a big red capsicum under the plant,” says Waters.

The official weigh-in will be held at the Apothecary Licensed Eatery at 2pm on January 22, 2023, giving contestants almost three months to nurture their tomatoes.

“Afterwards we’ll probably put them all in a blender and gel a few Bloody Marys together” says Waters.

There will be prizes for the top three heaviest tomatoes; 1st place – $150 bar tab and a trophy, 2nd place – $75 bar tab, 3rd place – $25 bar tab.

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