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Jacksonville samples famous salsa flavors before Tomato Fest

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - 7:30pm

The 30th annual Jacksonville Tomato Fest begins in one week. So on Wednesday, ripe for the sampling were home-grown Jacksonville salsas.

KETK spoke with the Chairman of the festival, Robin Butt, who said, "The tomato has just gotten larger not only in size, but in it's reputation over here in Jacksonville". Residents chose from five flavors: Five Amigos Fire Roasted, Ghost Pepper, Black Bean and Corn, Peach, and Mango. Not to mention a special Red Vine Tomato Salad Dressing. Of course everyone chose their favorites, one of them being, "The Five Amigos Fire Roasted Pepper salsa. It makes my mouth smile". Others had a harder time deciding, "Every single one I ate was good"! 

The creator of these famous salsas is Jacksonville resident Barbara Bradshaw. She is the founder of the family-operated company, "Gourmet Gardens". Bradshaw explained, "I made jellies, and then I made syrups, and then I made salsas". She shared the road to success was not always easy, "I started with an army stove in a building that we put out a gun shop that I bought. And I stirred my products by hand".  Now in 2014, Bradshaw has 150 unique products selling all across the nation. Bradshaw said, "I love to cook. I like each salsa to have a specific taste". 

So this Jacksonville native encourages all to take a bite out of life. Bradshaw encouraged, "I believe that if you don't try, you can't succeed".

The festival officially begins on June 14, 2014, and a special showing of the award-winning documentary, "Tomato Republic" will take place on June 12, 2014. For more information on the event, visit:  .  

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