Here are some of the Mister/Miss Tomato Heads created at the Tomato Tasting we hosted last Saturday. The Brandywine tomatoes we use were generously donated by Spring Valley Farm and Orchard. Staff photographer Drena J. Galarza took these photos and it shows that she is a kindergarten teacher by day, doesn't it?
I learned a few things from this first-off event. Children younger than 4 enjoy sticking toothpicks in tomatoes. No need to have any artistic goal or concept in mind. It is just fun. Therefore, we ended up with a few "sputniks" in our gallery.
I also learned that certain grown-ups are without shame or sound judgement -- a number of individuals were coming up and sampling the cut-up foods off the kid's activity table. When we warned them that A. the food had been kid-groped, B. it was just for the kid's project, and C. was not meant in any way, shape, or form for actual sampling, they remained undeterred. The selection included such wonderful foods to sample as broccoli shavings, stale celery bits, and old raisins -- yum. I suppose this behavior is par for the course when dealing with the general public, but it still saddens and kinda sickens me that folks will eat anything put out on a paper plate in a street market.
Despite the misbehavior of a few, it was a terrific morning and the crowds had a great time. Most children took their creations home with them, but a few left theirs for our display. Next year, we may get even more ambitious and have them all leave theirs on display for a competition of sorts (all will win prizes) and we can award categories such as "best animal resemblance," "scariest dinosaur," "most raisins used," etc.