Passata Day, the traditional Italian-Australian day for rolling up sleeves and squashing ripe tomatoes, now has its own festival, The Tomato Festival.

On March 1, the Grossi family, Grossi Florentino Ombra Salumi, Merchant and Farm Vigano will hold its own passata day and is extending an invitation to you to join in. Tickets for the festival are presale only and will cover all of the events offered on the day.

The first ever Tomato Festival will celebrate with a day of events and workshops featuring cooking demonstrations, talks, gardening tutorials and, of course, passata-making classes. Mediterranean cooking legends Karen Martini, Rosa Mitchell, Frank Camorra, Guy Grossi and more will hold workshops at which you can see them demonstrate their skills with the star ingredient.

A stack of restaurants and food purveyors will run stalls providing snacks and drinks, including 400 Gradi, Enoteca Sileno, Elyros, Saluministi, That’s Amore and Cavallini.

The idea of Passata Day (aside from it being really fun) is that it helps preserve Italian traditions within the family. For this reason The Tomato Festival will incorporate all of the activities common to a typical Passata Day: food, drinks, family and produce. The festival will also focus on agriculture, offering a day of talks and panel discussions covering subjects such as traditional produce, seasonality and gardening.

These talks will feature Richard Cornish (cookbook writer), Nick Rose (Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance), Katy Barfield (Spade and Barrow), Anna Rose (Earth Hour and WWF) and many more knowledgeable voices on agriculture practices for the future.

There will be a farmers market offering the freshest seasonal fruit and vegetables. Special Tomato Festival bags will be available for purchase with the profits going to charity Second Bite.

The Melbourne Tomato Festival is on Sunday March 1 at Farm Vigano at 10 Bushman’s Way, South Morang. Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for children between 6–13 years, and free for children under 5.

melbournetomatofestival.com