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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – It’s time to talk tomatoes!  This weekend the French Market will be filled with tomato festivities for the 29th annual Creole Tomato Festival.  News with a Twist Reporter, Kenny Lopez wanted to learn more about the creole tomato.  What is it?  How’s it different than a regular tomato?  How do you pick one?

Andrew McDaniel with Crescent City Farmers Market helped answer those questions.

“It’s been debated upon what a creole tomato is.  Some people say it’s a variety of tomato that was put out by LSU in the 1960’s.  Large in part, the creole tomato is a tomato grown in Louisiana soil.  These tomatoes are usually grown along the river parishes, the parishes that line the Mississippi River.  The soil is richer , so these are the ones we consider creole,”  McDaniel said.

McDaniel said that the main difference between a regular tomato and a creole tomato is the taste.  “Creole tomatoes stay on the vine longer, so they’re fresher.  They’re better because the tomatoes don’t have to travel across the country.  The soil is what makes them sweeter,”  he said.

He sure knows a lot about creole tomatoes and how to pick some good ones.

“You want them to be firm and red.  If it’s for a salad then you don’t want them to have a lot of blemishes.  Those kind end up slicing well.  When you come to the Farmers Market, you’ll often find a basket called ‘seconds’.  These kind of tomatoes are good for stewing, cooking, and making salsa.  They are just as good, they don’t always look as pretty as the others, so that’s the reason they’re cheaper,” he said.

The summertime is the perfect time for creole tomatoes.

“Creole tomatoes are just a quintessential summertime food, especially when you pick them up fresh,” McDaniel said.

For more information on Crescent City Farmers Market and locations click HERE:

The 29th annual Creole Tomato Fest takes place at the French Market on Saturday, June 13 and Sunday June 14.