Tourism and Ohio Festivals
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Tomato Festival

Reynoldsburg is famous as the birthplace of the domesticated tomato we all eat and love today. Tomatoes haven't always been part of our salads. In fact, most people had never seen a tomato and those that had seen them didn't care for them. In fact, many people thought they were poisonous (not true).

The English word tomato comes from the Spanish tomatl, that first appeared in print in 1595. A member of the deadly nightshade family, tomatoes were erroneously thought to be poisonous (although the leaves are poisonous) by Europeans who were suspicious of their bright, shiny fruit. Native versions were small, like cherry tomatoes, and most likely yellow rather than red.

Tomatoes are the third most widely consumed vegetable (in 1893, the United States Supreme Court ruled the tomato was a "vegetable") lagging only behind potatoes and lettuce. They are one of a few foods that are native to the Western Hemisphere. Tomatoes originated in the coastal highlands of western South America and then appeared later in Central America where Mayan Indians used them as food. With the conquest of Mexico in 1519, tomatoes were carried eastward to Europe. Although Europeans at first believed tomatoes to be poisonous, the Spaniards and Italians eventually found many culinary uses for them. By the early 1900s, tomatoes were considered a staple of American cookery. It is estimated that more than 85 percent of home gardeners plant tomatoes.

So what does all this tomato information have to do with Reynoldsburg? Alexandar Livingston! Livingston was a native of Reynoldsburg and a horticulturalist. It was through his cultivating efforts that turned that terrible tasting vegetable into the delicious vegetable we cherish today. In 1870 he introduced the Paragon tomato. This tomato not only tasted good, but was easy to grow and process without losing its flavor. Paragon became the hot new vegetable. Ergo: Reynoldsburg decided to pay tribute to Livingston's work each year during the first week in September. The festival has been running continuously since the mid 1960s.

Tomatoes are a major crop in Ohio, in fact, as a state, it ranks 3rd in the country in the production of tomatoes.

Reynoldsburg Ohio

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