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2012 Great Long Island Tomato Challenge

One of more than 40 tomatoes that vied

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

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
Photo 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
Photo 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
Photo 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)

Janet Hart of Lindenhurst smiles as she sees
Photo 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
Photo 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,
Photo 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
Photo 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
Photo Credit: Nicole Horton

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

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

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

Lucas Rios, 5, from Seaford, weighing his Big
Photo 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
Photo 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
Photo 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
Photo 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
Photo 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)

Peter and Angel Notarincola, a brother and sister
Photo 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
Photo 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
Photo 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
Photo 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
Photo 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)

Janet Hart shows off her tomatoes as she
Photo 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
Photo 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
Photo 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
Photo 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,
Photo 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)

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

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

Ryan Fonseca, 5, and his grandfather Fernando Ferreira
Photo 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
Photo 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
Photo 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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