Backyard tomato growers unite -- and mark your calendars: It's that time of year again!

The Garden Detective Great Long Island Tomato Challenge event and weigh-in will take place Friday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m.

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Regular-size tomatoes have better odds than ever this year, what with the cool, rainy June plants have had to endure and the late-blight scare that has killed -- and may continue to threaten -- plants all over the northeast.

Bring your heaviest tomato to Newsday headquarters (235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville), where I'll be on hand to weigh each fruit personally (I might even spring for a digital scale this year so I don't have to sit on the floor to get an accurate reading).

Bring your family and share some laughs and stories of your tomato trials and tribulations with like-minded Newsday readers. You just might be crowned the next Tomato King or Queen!


Photo: John Salvador, 69, watches as I weigh his winning entry (3 pounds, 1 ounce) at the 2008 Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Newsday Photo / Ken Sawchuk / Aug. 22, 2008)