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One of more than 40 tomatoes that vied (Credit: Nicole Horton)

One of more than 40 tomatoes that vied for bragging rights at Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

2012 Great Long Island Tomato Challenge

The 6th annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge was held August 24, 2012, with gardeners from all over Long Island gathering in Newsday's Melville auditorium to spend a couple of hours with garden columnist Jessica Damiano, share their jokes and growing secrets, exchange seeds, tomatoes and email addresses, and -- above all -- compete for the title of Long Island Tomato King or Queen.

An excited crowd of participants enters the Newsday
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

An excited crowd of participants enters the Newsday auditorium in Melville for its annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

The audience watches a slideshow of tomato-growing tips
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

The audience watches a slideshow of tomato-growing tips and reader-submitted photos at Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

The audience watches a slideshow of tomato growing
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

The audience watches a slideshow of tomato growing tips and reader-submitted photos at Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

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Janet Hart of Lindenhurst smiles as she sees
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Janet Hart of Lindenhurst smiles as she sees her photo in the slideshow at Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Newsday's Garden Detective columnist, Jessica Damiano, welcomes participants
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Newsday's Garden Detective columnist, Jessica Damiano, welcomes participants to the 2012 Great Long Island Tomato Challenge in Melville. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Gary Schaffer of Lindenhurst, with his wife, Linda,
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Gary Schaffer of Lindenhurst, with his wife, Linda, shows off his 3 lb., 6 oz. winning tomato. He picked it 10 days ago and kept in the refrigerator until the Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Gary Schaffer of Lindenhurst quickly takes his hands
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Gary Schaffer of Lindenhurst quickly takes his hands away after placing his tomato on the scale during the 2012 Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Gary Schaffer of Lindenhurst is named winner of
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Gary Schaffer of Lindenhurst is named winner of the 2012 Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

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Gary Schaffer of Lindenhurst, a lifelong gardener, displays
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Gary Schaffer of Lindenhurst, a lifelong gardener, displays his prize as winner of the 2012 Newsday Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

William Boyziotis of Northport shows off his prize
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

William Boyziotis of Northport shows off his prize as 2nd place winner in Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Ellen Papadopoulos gently places her 3rd-place-winning tomato on
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Ellen Papadopoulos gently places her 3rd-place-winning tomato on the scale for the weigh-in at Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

This pea-sized tomato didn't even weigh enough to
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

This pea-sized tomato didn't even weigh enough to register on the scale at Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge in Melville. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Lucas Rios, 5, of Seaford, shows off his
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Lucas Rios, 5, of Seaford, shows off his Big Zac tomato, which he grew from seed. (Aug. 24, 2012)

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Lucas Rios, 5, from Seaford, weighing his Big
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Lucas Rios, 5, from Seaford, weighing his Big Zac tomato, grown from seed, during Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Tina Kraemer, of Bohemia, displays her entry in
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Tina Kraemer, of Bohemia, displays her entry in the Smallest category in Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Rachel Haimowitz, 11, and her dad Steve of
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Rachel Haimowitz, 11, and her dad Steve of East Meadow, display their smallest and largest tomatoes at Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Rachel Haimowitz, 11, with her dad, Steve, of
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Rachel Haimowitz, 11, with her dad, Steve, of East Meadow, displays her prize for winner in the kids category of Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Steve Sicarella shows off his prize as one
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Steve Sicarella shows off his prize as one of the winners of the 3-way tie for Smallest tomato in Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

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Peter and Angel Notarincola, a brother and sister
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Peter and Angel Notarincola, a brother and sister team from Massapequa and winners of last year's Great Long Island Tomato Challenge, weigh their tomato at Newsday's annual event. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Vito Cottone of Commack with his prize for
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Vito Cottone of Commack with his prize for Ugliest Tomato in Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

One of more than 40 tomatoes that vied
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

One of more than 40 tomatoes that vied for bragging rights at Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Santo Endrizzi carries his bountiful basket of tomatoes
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Santo Endrizzi carries his bountiful basket of tomatoes and figs in to Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

A participant holds a tomato while watching the
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

A participant holds a tomato while watching the slideshow of tomato growing dos and don'ts at Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

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Janet Hart shows off her tomatoes as she
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Janet Hart shows off her tomatoes as she enters the auditorium for Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Janet Hart of Lindenhurst in her signature tomato
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Janet Hart of Lindenhurst in her signature tomato tank top weighs her tomato in her 5th attempt at winning Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Santo Endrizzi, a first time Great Tomato Challenge
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Santo Endrizzi, a first time Great Tomato Challenge participant from New Hyde Park, sits next to a basket of tomatoes and figs that he grew. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Corinn Kraemer, 13, of Bohemia with her entry
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Corinn Kraemer, 13, of Bohemia with her entry for smallest tomato in Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Billy King, 2010 Challenge winner from Mastic Beach,
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Billy King, 2010 Challenge winner from Mastic Beach, waiting to see what the scale's final reading says at Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

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Billy King Jr., 6, winner of last year's
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Billy King Jr., 6, winner of last year's Great Tomato Challenge in the kids category, shows off his tomato and the empty space where his tooth used to be. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Billy King Jr., 6, poses with his dad,
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Billy King Jr., 6, poses with his dad, 2010 Tomato Challenge winner Billy King, and their entries in Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Ryan Fonseca, 5, and his grandfather Fernando Ferreira
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Ryan Fonseca, 5, and his grandfather Fernando Ferreira of Lake Ronkonkoma, third-time Challenge participants, weigh the tomatoes they grew together. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Vito Cottone, a first time Challenge participant from
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Vito Cottone, a first time Challenge participant from Commack, tells the audience a story about his tomato and its likeness to Richard Nixon in Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Billy King, 2010 Challenge winner from Mastic Beach,
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Billy King, 2010 Challenge winner from Mastic Beach, holds up his tomato. (Aug. 24, 2012)

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Ryan Fonseca, 5, and his grandfather Fernando Ferreira
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Ryan Fonseca, 5, and his grandfather Fernando Ferreira of Lake Ronkonkoma, third time Challenge participants, weigh the tomatoes they grew together. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Vito Cottone, a first time Challenge participant from
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Vito Cottone, a first time Challenge participant from Commack, tells the audience a story about his tomato and shows a photo of another that bares a striking resemblance, he said, to Richard Nixon. (Aug. 24, 2012)

Vito Cottone, from Commack, about to weigh his
(Credit: Nicole Horton)

Vito Cottone, from Commack, about to weigh his odd-looking tomato, which he adorned with googly eyes, in Newsday's annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012)

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