Azua’s Tomato Festival: a celebration of community and agriculture
Azua, DR.- Azua came alive with vibrant colors and enticing aromas as it kicked off the Second Tomato Festival, transforming into a celebration of local gastronomy and the agricultural richness of the region. Departing from typical inaugural formalities, this year’s event, spearheaded by Governor Ángela Gray Pérez Díaz, centered on community and passion for local cuisine.
Citizens of Azua gathered in the heart of the city to honor the versatility and significance of tomatoes. The festival aimed not only to boost local production and tourism but also to pay homage to the hard work of farmers and culinary artisans shaping the Dominican culinary landscape.
Instead of customary speeches, attendees experienced a lively showcase of Azua’s cultural diversity, featuring live music, folk dancing, and cooking demonstrations at every turn. The air was filled with the enticing scents of traditional and inventive dishes, all highlighting the star of the show – the tomato.
Governor Pérez, the visionary behind the festival, expressed her excitement and gratitude to the crowd. She stated, “This festival is more than a celebration; it is a tribute to our identity, our land, and our people.” She emphasized that Azua’s true wealth lies not only in its fields but also in its culture and community.
Hecmilio Galván, the director of the Special Fund for Agricultural Development, stressed the importance of supporting such events for the economic and social development of the region. “The tomato is not just a product; it is a symbol of the dedication and passion of our farmers,” said Galván. “By supporting this festival, we are investing in the future of Azua and the well-being of its inhabitants.”
The highlight of the day was the Second Tomato Gastronomic Competition, where chefs showcased their creativity with tomatoes as the main ingredient. From hot sauces to sweet desserts, participants demonstrated the versatility of this iconic product.
In addition to the culinary competition, attendees enjoyed free tastings, educational lectures on sustainable agriculture, and live cultural presentations highlighting Azua’s rich history and traditions.
The Tomato Festival goes beyond celebrating a vegetable; it signifies the unity of a community and acknowledges the hard work of generations of Dominican farmers. As the sun set over Azua, concluding a day filled with laughter, flavors, and gratitude, it was evident that the tomato symbolizes pride and prosperity for all who call this land home.
The successful tomato harvest of 2021-2022, with a planting area exceeding 85 thousand tasks, reflects the dedication of small agrarian reform producers in Azua, Montecristi, and Valverde provinces. Integrated into Afconagro, agroindustries supply the national market with various canned products, including tomatoes. Afconagro, comprising companies like Peravia Industrial (La Famosa), Victorina Agroindustral, and Transagrícola, SRL (Linda), invested over 950 million pesos in the 2021-2022 Harvest, solidifying its pivotal role in Azua’s tomato cultivation.