Grown in the rich soil of Plaquemines Parish and technically considered a fruit, Creole tomatoes — though lumpy and oddly-shaped — are meaty, yet tender, and sweet enough to be eaten like an apple. Dust them in cornmeal and fry them while they’re still green, or slice them at the peak of ripeness, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper for a delicious and healthy summertime snack or side to any main course.
But before becoming a culinary master of this special tomato, you’ll need to stock up — and why not have some fun while you’re at it? Here are 10 things to do while sinking your teeth into a ripe one at the Creole Tomato Festival this year, happening Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9. Remember, entrance to the festival is free!
10 Things to Do at Creole Tomato Festival
1. Try a Fresh Creole Tomato
This one is pretty obvious, but hear us out – while the tomatoes are the star of the show in many dishes, they’re worth experiencing all on their own. Purchase a bushel or buy a single, fresh Creole tomato to try. Head to one of the tomato stands scattered throughout the French Market for a taste.
2. Visit the Bloody Mary Market
The Bloody Mary is the definitive tomato cocktail, and local bars and restaurants are creating their own versions made with Creole tomatoes at the Bloody Mary Market in Dutch Alley, open during the festival from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Try two-ounce sample sizes of each concoction (for a lesser price) then order a full 12-ounce size of your favorite.
3. Get competitive
Head to the Creole Tomato Eating Contest for kids and adults at the Louisiana Cookin’ Culinary Stage. This challenge, which takes place both days at noon, requires contestants to eat up to 3 tomatoes without using their hands (less tomato eating required for the kids!). All you have to do is sign up each day and the trophy could be yours.
4. Hear the live music
Music can be heard from two different spots all festival long. On Saturday, catch the Uptown Jazz Orchestra wrapping things up at the New Orleans Jazz Museum at 4:15 p.m. Sunday, catch the Royal Rounders on the Dutch Alley Stage at 4:15 p.m.
5. Bring the kids with you
Both days of the festival, be sure to check out the Kid’s Zone where a variety of vendors will have arts and crafts, kid-friendly activities, and more.
6. Grab a praline, or two, or three…
Head to the Loretta’s Pralines stand at the food booth in Dutch Alley for this classic New Orleans treat in a variety of flavors.
7. Savor the seafood
This festival may be named for the Creole Tomato, but we can’t forget our Louisiana seafood (which happens to pair perfectly with the tomatoes). Enjoy shrimp creole, Gulf tacos, fried okra, and other delicacies in Dutch Alley and near the New Orleans Jazz Market at the Old U.S. Mint.
8. Enjoy a cooking demonstration
Held at the Louisiana Cookin’ Culinary Stage will be talks about the Creole Tomato, giveaways, and cooking demonstrations from local chefs and restaurants.
9. Taste them (and wear them too)
Purchase a Creole Tomato Festival “Ripe and Ready” apron while you’re at the fest. Because we all know nothing splatters quite like tomatoes!
10. Explore the French Market
There’s nowhere quite like the French Market in New Orleans. Check out our Top Five Stops in the French Market, and watch the district come alive during Creole Tomato Fest.