Come June, Creole tomato dishes begin to appear on restaurant menus, at farmers markets, and at roadside stands. To commemorate the crop’s arrival, the French Market Creole Tomato Festival is held every summer in the French Quarter.
The French Market Creole Tomato Festival honors Louisiana's produce, farmers, and our unique cuisine of which the Creole tomato is a star. The free festival is beloved by locals and visitors alike for its quaint and quirky traditions, such as life-sized tomatoes strolling the grounds handing out tomato-shaped fans, and the auctioning off of the first tomatoes of the season to local chefs.
There are also tomato eating contests and a Bloody Mary Market with variations on the popular cocktail. There is music on several stages throughout the French Market, which sponsors the festival. Past performers have included Jon Cleary, the Honey Island Swamp Band, Tab Benoit, and more. There are cooking demonstrations, cookbooks for sale, and free recipes handed out.
Food booths offer Creole tomato favorites like fried green tomatoes, Creole tomato with shrimp salad, stuffed shrimp with grilled Creole tomato over jasmine rice, Creole tomato basil crepes, Creole tomato gelato, Creole tomato crawfish pies, blooming onion on a bed of Creole tomato and more. Judges roam the festival searching for the "best of the fest,” with vendors competing for most creative, most traditional, tastiest and healthiest dishes.
Succulent tomatoes are essential in many of New Orleans’ popular dishes. Chefs and diners love their versatility and unique flavor. Many French Quarter restaurants offer special dinners in June starring our popular tomato. For more information, visit the French Market's website.