We make no apologies for going bananas over tomatoes this year, although we may be looking for anyone willing to accept donations later this summer.

Veggiepalooza returns in person this coming Saturday, April 16

The public is invited back to Cal State Fullerton’s Arboretum for Veggiepalooza, once again in person, on Saturday, April 16 starting at 9 a.m. and closing at 3 pm. (Members of the Arboretum are allowed to purchase plants the day before.)

Each year, after pulling out the dying remains of that year’s vines, I look forward with enthusiasm to the bountiful array of tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and more that are displayed on the grounds of the Arboretum.

Nothing beats the taste of homegrown tomatoes: Jelly Bean Yellow, Indigo Rose, San Marzano!

The Arboretum has posted a plant list online, so I am planning my attack in fond hopes of scoring… small.

I will walk right by the plants with bigger fruit — Genovese, Gold Medal, Porterhouse — because I can’t finish off one of the tomatoes at a single sitting. I will spurn cherry tomatoes because I have chomped down on many with too-thick skins. No, my favorite fresh-picked varieties are sweet grape tomotoes like Jelly Bean Yellow. Sadly, those peppy little bundles of juice and sweetness are not available this year. I will be forced to try a new variety, like Sprite or Sweetheart. Maybe a Black Zebra, to make up for another missing favorite, Indigo Rose.

Peppers make up another large category of the sale, from Ghost Peppers (Scoville rating of 1041427) to sweet Red Knight.

Accompanying plants that will available this year include flowers (marigolds, sunflowers), herbs (basil, cilantro), and vegetables (eggplant, onions).

I’ll be there at 9 a.m. making a beeline for the grape tomatoes. Happy summer tomato season!