Jessica Damiano Jessica Damiano, Newsday columnist

Jessica Damiano is a master gardener and journalist with more than 25 years experience in radio, television, print and online media. She has worked on Newsday's interactive endeavors since 1994, and currently is Deputy Editor overseeing's Lifestyle and Entertainment coverage. Jessica enjoys toiling in her garden -- a never-finished work in progress -- and helping local gardeners solve their horticultural problems in her Garden Detective column, which appears every Sunday in Newsday. The Garden Detective blog was awarded a Press Club of Long Island Society of Professional Journalists Online Features Reporting Award. Jessica lives in Glen Head, NY, with her husband John, daughters Justine and Julia, dogs Maddie and Miguel, and a whole bunch of perennials, vegetable plants and weeds. Ask a question Show More

UPDATE: Due to inclement weather, the 2016 Tomato Challenge has been moved to 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 19, rain or shine.

This year’s Challenge will be the 10th, and to celebrate we’re doing some things differently.

The event will be held Aug. 19, with appropriate fanfare and surprises.

Just give your plants plenty of tender loving care all season long, then bring your biggest, heaviest fruit to the event, where it will be weighed and recorded by Newsday garden columnist Jessica Damiano.

Anyone can join, and there’s no need to RSVP. Just come to Newsday headquarters (235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, at the Ruland Road entrance) at 7 p.m.


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Tomatoes must be homegrown, fresh and not previously frozen. They don’t need to be ripe, but stems should be removed before weighing.

Entries will be judged in six categories:

— Heaviest

— Smallest (measured, not weighed)

— Ugliest

— Three youth categories: 6 and younger; 7-12; 13-17

As you await the big day, send a photo of yourself with your tomato plants, along with details about your growing techniques and the varieties you’re growing, to, and you might be featured in an upcoming issue of Newsday. Then come back and follow the competition in Newsday every Sunday all summer long.