For us southerners, nothing quite says “summer” like a plump, juicy, fresh-off-the-vine tomato. In Atlanta perhaps, even more so than elsewhere, due to the traditional jamboree we have come to know and love as the Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival, organized by the good folks of JCT Kitchen. What is it exactly? Well, it’s a fête of victuals and tinctures from some of the city’s best chefs, mixologists, and farmers all showcasing the ripe, delicious flavors of our beloved tomato. Yup, they’re simply ripe with methods to celebrate the humble ‘mater (think Willy Wonka’s Factory, but lose the creepy orange men and candy). In honor of the coming festivities on July 20 at the Goatfarm, we and the good folks of Georgia Organics (a beneficiary of this year’s event alongside the the Giving Kitchen) caught up with a few of this year’s participating farmers to hear about their relationship with summer’s most luscious fruit veggie.

Pro-tip: Snag your tickets whilst ye may

Cory Mosser
Burge Organic Farm
A couple of years ago a certain TV show that shall remain nameless was shooting near us, and called us inquiring about dead produce. They came to the farm and filled up a small trailer with our spent tomato plants.
Turns out they were shooting a scene where a witch who has a garden (I didn't ever think of witches as home gardeners, but that's awesome) loses her powers and her garden wilts and dies. As a farmer, I feel like I need to say that wouldn't have happened if she were using organic methods and practices instead of relying on magical quick fixes.
I love thinking that millions of people have seen my rotten tomatoes. The best part of it all is that the production company paid the farm a more than decent sum of money. Seeing the words "Dead Veggies" on an invoice is still one of the strangest moments of my farming career.

Katherine Kennedy
The Lionheart Gardens
The weirdest thing I make with tomatoes is the one to two heirloom tomato sandwiches I make every day in the summer until I get ulcers in my mouth from the acidity!

Tripp Eldridge
White Oak Pastures
We often make tomato-based cocktails, sorbets, and baked goods, but the weirdest thing I've ever made with a tomato is freezer art. At a farm in Pennsylvania where I interned back in 2006, we would save the oddly shaped fruits of the season in the freezer. By the end of summer we had quite a collection of different tomatoes with faces and tails and other seemingly grotesque features.
Second weirdest thing: At my old garden in Macon, I set up a basketball goal directly above the compost pile. When you found a bad tomato in the field, you just launched it over and splattered the mushy mater against the target you could just conveniently rinse off at the end of the day. Of course, all kinds of tomatoes sprouted around the perimeter of that compost the next season.

Ashley Rodgers
Serenbe Farms
I clean my hands with a tomato after working in the field picking, or pruning, or trellising, as you get a black funk on you that even soap cant get off. Squishing a tomato in your hands and using it like soap works great!