Kendall-Jackson 17th Annual Heirloom Tomato Festival

Howdy! How was everybody’s weekend? Was the weather good by you?

Ours was absolutely perfect; sunny skies with temps in the high 70’s (Fahrenheit) and just enough humidity to keep you comfortable. Pure bliss.

We did our best to savor every moment of the beautiful weather and spent the entire day outside at the Kendall-Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival on Saturday.

KJ Festival 0

The event was held at Kendall-Jackson’s Wine Estate and Gardens, where we went earlier in the year to buy our heirloom tomato plants.

As I said before, I have a slight obsession with heirloom tomatoes {and wine, of course} so I was determined to make it to the festival this year and bought tickets as soon as they went on sale, back in June.

The tickets were a little pricey but I honestly think it was well worth the cost. Everything was clean and extremely well-organized plus there were over forty-five local vendors offering samples of heirloom tomato themed recipes.

KJ Festival 4

As you first walk in, they provide you with a custom engraved wine glass, drink tickets for free samples of KJ wine, and a token to vote for your favorite food vendor.

All of the food was incredible {and mostly vegetarian} so it was a bit overwhelming to pick a favorite.

Bayview Italian Restaurant was really good and offered three different samples: Roasted Heirloom Tomato Tapenade over Grilled Polenta, Heirloom Tomato Tarte Tatin, and some sort of dessert tarte that I didn’t get the name of.

Bay View Rest

Yum, yum and yum.

Heirloom Tomato Jam Crostinis from Backyard:

Tomato Jam

Rustic Tomato Pie from Costeaux French Bakery:

Tomato Pie

Definitely the biggest tomato pie I’ve ever seen! That one was Brandon’s favorite although I think he might’ve been swayed by the fresh loaves of French bread they fed him.

Tomato Water Popsicles from Applewood Restaurant:


I know it sounds weird but they were actually really good and quite refreshing.

Gluten-free Grapeseed Flour Crostinis from WholeVine:


Flour from grapeseeds? Genius.

Grilled Pimento Cheese with Heirloom Tomato Jam from Rocker Oysterfellers Kitchen & Saloon:

Pimento Grilled Cheese

That one was amazing and got my vote. I’m a sucker for a grilled cheese with anything tomato.

Last but not least, heirloom tomato desserts from Cookie…Take a Bite served with organic coffee & tea from Taylor Maid Farms.


After we finished sampling all of the food, we made our way to the tomato tasting tent where they have over 175 varieties of heirloom tomatoes grown that were grown at the Kendall-Jackson Estate Gardens.

kj 10

I thought the names of those two were pretty funny.

My favorite variety was the Garden Lime; slightly tart but full of juicy flavor.


After making our way through all of the tomatoes and getting a good dose of vitamin C, we decided to try one of the six seminars they offered and picked a thirty minute wine and cheese seminar

They also had a Chef’s Challenge featuring contestants from Bravo’s Top Chef that we watched for a few minutes in between food and wine sampling.

Chefs challenge

I didn’t recognize anybody but that might be because I don’t watch that show.

As the day was winding down, we made our way through the estate to the front so that we could walk around the vineyards for a little while before leaving.

KJ 1

kj inside

It was much more low-key among the vineyards and the grapes were in full bloom…

grapesB & S

The perfect end to a perfect day.


What’s the best festival you’ve ever been to?

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{ 39 comments… add one }

  • Becky @ Olives n Wine September 29, 2013, 6:26 pm

    So. Much. FUN!! A tomato festival at a vineyard??! Girl, you are seriously making me reconsider my recent move to Chicago ;) It looks like you two had a blast and I’m hoping you recreate some of those recipes!
    Becky @ Olives n Wine recently posted…Sunday Funday + Weekly Eats and FitnessMy Profile

  • Carly @ Snack Therapy September 29, 2013, 6:50 pm

    These pictures are all completely frame-able. Gorgeous! And that tomato pie is ridiculous. It’s huge! That’s what she said ;)…

  • hillary | nutrition nut on the run September 29, 2013, 6:55 pm

    yum & great outfit!

  • Erin @ The Almond Eater September 29, 2013, 7:10 pm

    Ahh that looks so much fun! That rustic tomato pie? Holy crap. Huge. And the estate looks gorgeous..any festival that offers wine is myyyy kind of festival ;)

  • Lisa September 29, 2013, 8:14 pm

    That sounds like such a cool event. I didn’t know they had tomato festivals. That’s kind of awesome.
    Those samples all look amazing!
    Lisa recently posted…On The Bright SideMy Profile

  • Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) September 29, 2013, 8:49 pm

    I’ve never been to KJ’s tomato festival because of the price, but I hope to go some day! Especially after reading your post. Funny you were so close to me! Your pictures really are great!
    Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) recently posted…Jalapeño Popper PizzaMy Profile

    • Sarah September 30, 2013, 2:26 pm

      Yes, I was right in your backyard! You should go at least once. I was hesitant because of the cost but it really is worth it, especially if you are a local. It’s a great way to learn about different restaurants and bakeries in the area. I loved it!

  • Davida @ The Healthy Maven September 30, 2013, 3:10 am

    Flour from grapeseeds IS genius! You actually go to the coolest foodie events. I’m so jealous! And I’d like to try one of those popsicles. It does sound weirdly refreshing!
    Davida @ The Healthy Maven recently posted…{MIMM} Weekend Recap 09/27-09/29My Profile

  • Christina (Sisters Running the Kitchen) September 30, 2013, 3:18 am

    I LOVE the last photo- you are gorgeous! and that festival seems amazing!!! I LOVE tomato…and love tomato pie haha. I have been to a peach festival before which was good but this looks much better!

    • Sarah September 30, 2013, 2:24 pm

      Aw, thanks Christina! You’re too kind. A peach festival sounds pretty amazing too.

  • Christine @ Gotta Eat Green September 30, 2013, 3:19 am

    Looks like it was the perfect festival for you! Wine and tomatoes? Win win. It’s too bad they didn’t have corn there too! I haven’t been to a food festival in ages.. they are so much fun though.
    Christine @ Gotta Eat Green recently posted…9 Month Countdown + Weekly PlanMy Profile

    • Sarah September 30, 2013, 2:19 pm

      Haha, you know me too well. ;)

  • Liz @ I Heart Vegetables September 30, 2013, 3:52 am

    First of all, who knew you could make flour from grapeseeds? That’s kind of crazy and awesome haha. That sounds like such a fun day! I love both wine AND tomatoes ;)

  • Ashley September 30, 2013, 4:10 am

    Whoa, that tomato pie is HUGE! haha I keep staring at the photo! Sounds like great day – this festival sounds right up my alley : ) Happy Monday Sarah!
    Ashley recently posted…Mustardy Kale and Butternut SquashMy Profile

  • Jo @ Living Mint Green September 30, 2013, 4:15 am

    A heirloom tomato fest?!


    Lets trade lives, mmkay?!
    Jo @ Living Mint Green recently posted…Made You Look!My Profile

  • Sam @ Better With Sprinkles September 30, 2013, 4:43 am

    Looks like an intriguing festival! I actually have a bag of similar flour that my mom brought me back from a winery last year – I never have any idea what to do with it though! And intrigued by using tomatoes in a cookie recipe…did those actually taste tomato-y?
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted…Rehashing September.My Profile

    • Sarah October 1, 2013, 8:32 am

      The desserts were actually really good! They didn’t have too much tomato flavor; just a slightly sweet flavor. I loved them!

  • FitBritt@MyOwnBalance September 30, 2013, 5:06 am

    Can I just say that I am oozing with jealousy over here!? This looks amazing! I love tomatoes, especially very fresh ones. I would love this event. The food looks just divine. I think I might have to see if I can re-create a few of these for fun. Your photos are beautiful as always. I love wine too! :)

  • Amy @ The Little Honey Bee September 30, 2013, 5:30 am

    Looks like so much fun! I loveee tomatoes (used to call them “may mos” when I was little hehe) such a gorge picture of you and the man :)
    Amy @ The Little Honey Bee recently posted…Weekend SnapshotsMy Profile

  • Alex@Veggin' Out September 30, 2013, 5:37 am

    Oh my goodness that pizza!!! That should win a biggest pizza contest if there happens to be such a thing ;)

    I would have loved this event! Heirloom tomatoes are my favorite. I would love to try all the varieties and all the little tasties they made from them! The wine and cheese pairing looks like so much fun too – that’s definitely on my bucket list, I just have to wait three more years haha. This festival is going on my bucket list too!!!
    Alex@Veggin’ Out recently posted…I’m a Half Marathoner!My Profile

  • Angela @ Health's Angel September 30, 2013, 6:09 am

    This looks like so much fun and my kind of festival, for sure! That tomato pie…ah! That would probably get my vote. Good quality tomatoes are so hard to find where I live.
    Angela @ Health’s Angel recently posted…Silence the MindMy Profile

  • Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens September 30, 2013, 6:11 am

    Wow! What an amazing event! And with your gorgeous pics, I feel like I was there (well, except for getting to sample the wines and taste that amazing big-as-a-house tomato pie!). I adore heirloom tomatoes like that fabulous Mortgage Lifter – they’re so much more flavorful!

  • MelissaD September 30, 2013, 7:44 am

    So jealous!! Looks like the perfect day. Sigh……I’ll just have to live vicariously through your posts :-)

  • Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog September 30, 2013, 7:59 am

    How fun! Any festival with wine and food involved sounds good to me. I can’t believe the size of that tomato pie!
    Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog recently posted…Tomatillo & Pork ChiliMy Profile

  • Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat September 30, 2013, 8:00 am

    What a great festival! I wish we had something like this around me, but I’ve never heard of anything. All the food looks delicious and the setting of the festival looks really pretty too!
    Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat recently posted…MIMM #10 – ShopaholicMy Profile

  • Kelly @ Kelly Runs for Food September 30, 2013, 9:02 am

    It’s totally obvious I live in the wrong state. I want everything at that festival! Looks like so much fun! I’m gonna be on the lookout now for something fun like that in Williamsburg!
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs for Food recently posted…On The Mend (And Back On The Road)My Profile

  • Erica {Coffee & Quinoa} September 30, 2013, 11:17 am

    Oh my gosh, everything looks DELICIOUS! I looove tomatoes (and wine, obviously!) and combined with the perfect weather you guys had, it looks like the best possible way to spend a day. Jealous!
    Erica {Coffee & Quinoa} recently posted…Super Sweet Spinach SaladMy Profile

  • Jillienne @ ChasingRaspberries September 30, 2013, 11:40 am

    Let me start by saying that I want your entire outfit! Everything from the sunglasses down to the maroon pants! Secondly, this event looks amazing… yum to all the tomato dishes! Lastly, I am pretty excited that grapeseed flour is a thing! Imagine all the beautiful dishes you can make with redish flour!
    Jillienne @ ChasingRaspberries recently posted…Australia Bound!My Profile

  • Tara September 30, 2013, 12:50 pm

    First off, I think you and your husband look perfect together. Such a good looking couple!
    Second, my roommate also attended the festival and said he had a blast. Maybe you guys even crossed paths at one point. :) Out of everything, I would love to try the crostinis; they are my favorite appetizers.

    The best (and maybe even worse) festival I went to is probably the Folsom Street Fair. It actually just passed this Sunday and I didn’t attend this year, but I went the past 3 years and I think I’m good for a decade or two.
    Tara recently posted…FelinaMy Profile

    • Sarah September 30, 2013, 2:29 pm

      Such a small world. We probably did cross paths!

      There was so much incredible food that I didn’t get a chance to show. It was awesome.

      There’s a food event coming up in SF (SF Magazine or something?) that I wanted to go to but after spending so much on this, I couldn’t. Looks awesome though.

  • Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen September 30, 2013, 12:55 pm

    Oh wow, this festival looks amazing! I seriously adore local tomatoes. I would have been all over those mini grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato jam!

    The best festival I’ve ever been to was probably the Toronto Food Festival last summer where I had jalapeno cornbread grilled cheese, sticky toffee bacon cake, and the best meatball of my life!
    Chelsea @ Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen recently posted…Weekend highlightsMy Profile

  • Tracey @ Cooking with Love September 30, 2013, 1:03 pm

    Oh that rustic tomato pie is gorgeous! I bet it was delicious! What a fantastic day you must have had. I would love to go some where like this! The photos are beautiful!!! :)

  • elle | nutritionella September 30, 2013, 4:26 pm

    Heirloom tomatoes are seriously the BEST! And I think I could support the tomato water popsicle. I mean, the first thing I though of was a Bloody Mary. Glad you had fun at the festival!
    elle | nutritionella recently posted…one simple way to cut down on clutterMy Profile

  • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats October 1, 2013, 2:32 am

    Everything looks so yummy! Especially that tomato pie and I really want to try one of those popsicles.

    We have lots of food and wine festivals here. One of the best ones I’ve been to was set in one of the botanical gardens we have that has a big house estate. It was just beautiful.
    Jan @ Sprouts n Squats recently posted…Trial Tuesday #21My Profile

  • Alisha @ Alisha's Appetite October 1, 2013, 5:02 am

    Omgggg this looks like a serious BLAST! You are gorgeous and I love your outfit!! I love wine, I love french bread…and I LOVE tomatoes. Definitely looks like you had a perfect day.
    Alisha @ Alisha’s Appetite recently posted…5 Life Lessons Blogging Taught Me (1st Blogiversary)My Profile

  • Sara @ Fit.Fun.Femme October 1, 2013, 2:19 pm

    Jealous jealous jealous. I would have picked the pimento grilled cheese, too. OMG just thinking about it is making my mouth water.

    Can I ask a silly question? What’s the difference between an heirloom tomato and a regular one? I never buy them in the store because a. I don’t know what the heck they are and b. they are so dern expensive.

    Love all of your beautiful pictures. And you are just too pretty for words!

    • Sarah October 1, 2013, 9:01 pm

      Heirloom tomatoes are from an original seed (different seeds for different varities) that was passed down over generations. Think of the word heirloom kind of like an antique. :) Regular tomatoes are from hybrid seeds which are genetically created. As far as regular organic tomatoes, I’m not sure if those are from hybrid seeds or not.

      Yes, heirlooms are so expensive but they taste incredible. Most of them are grown in California so luckily, they are a little cheaper here. You should at least try one though. Now is the best time!

      And thank you, again, for the sweet compliment. You are always too good to me. :)

  • Meghan @ fitnesscrEATures October 1, 2013, 6:09 pm

    This looks like such a fun time and absolutely worth that price tag! I must confess – I won’t go near tomatoes. I can’t eat them, for some reason – when they’re raw. Put them in anything else, though, and I’m all about it. So that pie – YUM! LOOKS SO GOOD! Now those grapes and wine however, I’d be all over that! This little festival is absolutely adorable! What an awesome way to spend the weekend.
    Meghan @ fitnesscrEATures recently posted…Shenanigans and Fun and Friends and AdventureMy Profile

    • Sarah October 1, 2013, 9:06 pm

      Oh, you’re one of thhooosssee people. Haha, I kid. So funny, I just posted chili with corn and thought of you. :)
      Is it a texture thing? If not and it’s just a flavor thing then I think you should try an heirloom tomato. They taste so much better than the regular ones.


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