March 16-18, 2012
About this time every year, I start marking my calendar with all my favorite plant sales around Southern California. One of the earliest ones is the Monster Tomato Sale at the Fullerton Arboretum. Each Spring, the Arboretum holds the largest tomato and pepper plant sale in Southern California, and it is among the largest in the country. They expect to have over 250 varieties of tomato plants for sale this year, including every size from tiny currants to giant beefsteaks and every color of heirloom tomato a gardener could ask for. The arboretum also has an extensive selection of pepper plants from mild to inferno hot, and even some unusual varieties of eggplant. If you attend the members only preview sale or the first morning they open for retail sales, allow a lot of time to check out, the line is a mile long due to the enormous demand for heirloom tomatoes and peppers.
My photos here are from the members only preview last March.
The tomatoes and peppers are sorted alphabetically, but when there are so many varieties, it takes a while to find everything. I was glad my daughter tagged along with me last year. Normally I attend with my mom and one of my best friends, but neither could make it last year. B took the time to hunt down her Nana’s favorite Super Marzano, which wasn’t on top of the display tables, nor listed with a sign alphabetically. I don’t know how she spotted it, but I was delighted she did. It was one variety on all 3 shopping lists I had. The event is even more busy the next morning when it opens to the public. See the Arboreteum for details on membership and the preview sale the day before. The offer a 10% discount to members on the price per plant.
Fullerton Arboretum’s website has a downloadable link with all the tomato and pepper varieties they will have on sale. All tomatoes and peppers at the sale are propagated and organically grown at the Arboretum nursery by volunteers. Proceeds from event benefit the Fullerton Arboretum. Admission to the sale is free.