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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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In Festival Guide

A battle with rotten tomatoes on Milwaukee's East Side - why not?

In Festival Guide

The sweet stench of victory.

In Festival Guide

Tomato guts flood the street in the aftermath of the acidic battle.

Weekend festivals pay homage to end-of-summer eats


Get your tomato helmets ready! It's time for Milwaukee's fifth annual Tomato Romp!, a neighborhood event of epic proportion.

The eclectic East Side is pulling out all the stops with this year's event. Starting at 10 a.m., you can "get your tomato on" at the East Side Green Market, where local vendors will highlight this star of seasonal eating.

Stick around for a salsa tasting, live performances by flamenco artist Evan Christian, and plenty of tomatoey fun.

If you're over 21, you can also purchase your official Tomato Romp! Bloody Mary Competition ballot. For just $15, you'll receive 5-ounce Bloody Mary samples and beer chasers from 13 participating establishments. Judging will begin at 3 p.m. with the crowning of the East Side's Bloody Mary champion and fan favorite.

Of course, the real highlight of this mighty tomato fest is its finale, the Rotten Tomato Fight, which will be held at 4 p.m. on the corner of Oakland and North Avenues (the former location of the iconic Pizza Man restaurant).

The annual brawl is an homage to the legendary La Tomatina Tomato Fight held each year in Valencian town of Buñol in Spain. For just $5, you can be one of 250 Milwaukeeans who sign up for your chance to chuck "love apples" at friends, neighbors ... and yes, even complete strangers. Safety goggles, appropriate footwear and a waiver are required. All participants will receive an official Tomato Romp! T-shirt.

And here's a comforting disclaimer: no edible food will be wasted during this popular Eat Side brawl. The rotten, shirt-staining tomatoes, donated by Maglio & Co., have all been declared "unfit for consumption." Even better, all proceeds from the fight will go towards efforts to combat hunger in the Milwaukee area.

Of course, if you're hungry for even more local fun, you'll want to check out the awesome eats at the Rock the Green festival this Sunday at Veteran's Park.

Yes, I said eats.

In addition to music from six bands, Rock the Green will be serving up non-traditional festival fare with an added sustainability twist.

Unlike the food typically served at a rock concert, every dish served up will be made from sustainably raised, locally grown, or locally sourced products and served on 100 percent compostable plates and napkins – made from corn, potato, sugar cane and other plant matter.

Offerings will include a wide variety of carnivorous options, including Strauss Free Raised brats and grass fed burgers, as well as vegetarian choices like Petite Market Mesclun Salad paired with Black River Blue Cheese. Featured sweets will include signature Rock the Green velvet cupcakes from Milwaukee's own Classy Girl Cupcakes and a Wisconsin Apple Harvest Menu from Outpost including vegan pies and gluten free brownies.

But, that's not all. All food waste from vendors and attendees will be ground up in four stainless steel InSinkErators and transported to the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District where it will be converted into milorganite, a natural lawn fertilizer which will be applied to the lawns at
Veteran's Park.

Now that's farm to fork ... and right back to farm.


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