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.

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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.

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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?