Two towns to tango over top tomatoes - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Two towns to tango over top tomatoes

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(TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - Two towns known for their tomatoes will battle for bragging rights on who has the best-tasting tomato.

Jacksonville and Crystal Springs, Mississippi, are both known for their red fruits, and will square off June 10 at the KTBS TV station in Shreveport, Louisiana.

The tomatoes will be judged in three categories: largest tomato, best plate of three and best tasting, with a blind taste test. Each community will provide one judge and the television station will supply the others. County Judge Chris Davis will represent Jacksonville and Mayor Sally Garland will represent Crystal Springs.

Tomatoes connect the histories of the two towns, and this is the second time the two have met to compare their product.

According to a news release, in 1896 two Cherokee County brothers-in-laws who were employed in the Cotton Belt Railroad offices in Tyler made the acquaintance of an ex-Mississippian growing tomatoes on a small scale for express shipments. The railroad men were determined to sell the tomato idea to their home-folks after hearing about the product’s profitability.

A decade later in June 1907, Jacksonville alone shipped 42 railroad cars of tomatoes in one day and, in 1917, Jacksonville was the center of a circle within an 8-mile radius producing 90 percent of all tomatoes shipped from Texas.

Jacksonville will host its 30th annual Tomato Fest on June 14 downtown

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