Summertime means fresh tomatoes, and Switzerland has an annual festival to celebrate this special red vegetable (or maybe you consider it a fruit?). I attended Fête de la Tomate last weekend near Geneva, and thankfully wasn’t hit in the head by a flying tomato—it’s not that kind of festival!
Connecting Consumers with Fresh Local Produce
Now in its 17th year, the Union Maraîchère de Genève started Fête de la Tomate as a way to connect consumers with fresh local produce. Located at the place de Sardaigne in Carouge, about a 15-minute tram ride from the Geneva main station, the festival has activities for everyone—live music, carnival rides, farm animals, antique tractors, cooking workshops and lots of colorful tomatoes. In all, you can find about 50 different tomato varieties represented at the festival.
On Sunday this year, the third day of Fête de la Tomate, I attended the first-ever “Brunch du Terroir” under the big tent. I grabbed a tomato tart with caramelized onions from Traiteur A. Vidonne and a white Belgian-style beer from Brasserie du Murailles. Music was playing, people were talking and laughing, and delicious food was all around—it was a pleasant way to spend a summer morning in the canton of Geneva.
Marché du Terroir
You don’t have to like tomatoes to attend Fête de la Tomate, as many other Swiss specialties are on display at the festival’s market of local products, the Marché du Terroir. Vendors had tables heaped with local cheeses, salamis, pastries and more. I saw enormous wheels of nougat studded with nuts and jars of pickled cardon, a specialty from Geneva. A bakery from the Jura had fresh breads and pastries, like Toetché, a savory tart made with sour cream. Most vendors had samples of their products for visitors to try.
Fête de la Tomate has the feel of a small neighborhood festival, even though it draws thousands of people each year to the event. The weather that day was incredibly hot, so children took advantage of the shallows pools alongside the music of alpenhorns. This year, I went without my kids, but I’ll certainly try to bring them next year!