TomatoFest, seed from all over the world, but…


TomatoFest is your destination for finding the best tasting, heirloom tomato seeds from around the world. They have collected what are considered to be the most valued heirloom tomato seeds from many different regions and family farms, to grow and harvest these tomato seeds to share them with you. All TomatoFest heirloom tomato seeds are CERTIFIED ORGANIC by CCOF. This is how Gary Ibsen and Dagma Lacey welcome us at their websiete, where you can find seed from all over the World. They do not have the Canary Tomato ones, so we will have to send some to them.


The Carmel TomatoFest that has taken place in Carmel, from 1991-2008 California was the nation’s premier tomato festival for 17 years. This was the largest and most prestigious tomato festival in America with a tasting of more than 350 tomato varieties from around the world, an extravagant outdoor BBQ, delicious tomato dishes created by 60 of America’s best chefs, a tasting of 200 of California’s finest wines, chef and gardening demonstrations, a “Salsa Showcase” tasting of 90 best tomato salsas from around the U.S., “The International Olive Oil Tasting” featuring extra virgin olive oils from 8 countries and the best of California, live music and dancing. The TomatoFest Net proceeds were donated to local and national youth charities. The Carmel TomatoFest®, “America’s Favorite Tomato Harvest Festival”, held its final event on Sept, 14, 2008.. Read about Gary Ibsen’s retirement celebration at the spectacular countryside setting of Quail Lodge Resort in Carmel, California

Gary Ibsen An advocate of sustainable agriculture. He has given talks about growing tomatoes, seed saving, and organic gardening for the University of California, regional garden clubs and the Culinary Historians of Southern California and has made presentations on P. Allen Smith’s nationally syndicated television show, P. Allen Smith’s Gardens.


Gary Ibsen was the founder and executive director of the nationally renowned, Carmel TomatoFest, in Carmel , California from 1991-2008. The annual TomatoFest event celebrated the food & wine from chefs and wineries from around the nation, and featured an expansive tasting display of 300 heirloom tomato varieties from around the world. An advocate of organic farming and seed saving, Gary has been a driving force in the growing popularity of heirloom tomatoes and sustaining the bio-diversity of heirloom tomato seed varieties for more than 33 years.


In the 18 years Gary operated the Carmel TomatoFest®, he and Dagma revitalized the appreciation and desire of heirloom quality tomatoes by chefs, farmers and consumers alike. They ensured the highest quality fresh tomatoes products from harvest to table due to their hands-on production and harvest techniques. For 20 years, their TomatoFest Farm brand supplied best-tasting varieties of fresh, certified organic heirloom tomatoes to preferred restaurants and produce markets in selected areas of California and the U.S. In 2004 they discontinued providing fresh heirloom tomatoes to the marketplace to focus on their organic tomato seed business, “TomatoFest Heirloom Tomato Seeds.”

Gary and Dagma Lacey, currently grow more than 600 varieties of certified organic, heirloom tomatoes many originating from seeds sourced from family farms around the world. They also cherish and share the tomato histories and family stories that accompany the generations of tomato seed saving.

Other successes centered on food and wine have found a way into Gary’s life. He has extensive experience in the marketing and publishing arenas, having received numerous national “Maggie” awards for his magazine publishing ventures, Adventures In Dining and Monterey Life magazine. He has extensive experience in food and wine, having managed wine marketing for The Wine Spectrum, a division of The Coca Cola Company, owned an upscale restaurant in Carmel, California and served as a Founding Member of the National Board of Directors of The American Institute of Wine & Food with the late Julia Child, Robert Mondavi and Richard Graff.


Gary’s love of cooking led him to study with Marcella Hazan in Italy and many regional cooking styles throughout North America, win a cooking award with actor/director Clint Eastwood, and cook for a national television audience on Good Morning America with Joan Lunden.


Gary is also author of The Great Tomato Book, published by Ten Speed Press, which was nominated by the International Association of Culinary Professionals for best cookbook in the single subject category. The Great Tomato Book provides an astonishing diversity of vine-ripened delights, offering background and cultivation tips for more than 80 tomato varieties along with outstanding recipes.

Gary and Dagma are currently active in supporting numerous urban, school and community gardens world-wide with their TomatoFest Tomato Seed Donations Program in their effort to support bio-diversity, ensure that heirloom tomato varieties will be preserved, and to feed those in need. They remain a source of inspiration through their passion for sharing and practice of feeding people through sustainable organic gardening.


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