NUTLEY, NJ - Nutleyite Domenick Scutti, 85, is practically unstoppable. He has the secret to growing the largest tomato and is not giving it up. Scutti has won five out of six years in the township’s annual Biggest Tomato Contest. This year’s contest was held Sunday, Aug. 26 at Nutley’s Farmers Market in the Ciccolini parking lot.
The annual contest was held for two weeks due to the poor weather this season according to Nutley Mayor Joseph P. Scarpelli.
Scarpelli said, “We were glad to see that Mr. Scutti won again. He waited and kept it in the freezer. We are happy to see our [Nutley] gardeners take such pride in their gardens.”
Resident Tom Orlinski, the 2016 contest winner, tried to earn his title back again from Scutti. However his 1-pound, 6 ounces sunburst tomato was no match to Scutti’s very ripe 2-pounds, 8.7 ounces beefsteak tomato.
In 2016, Orlinski’s 1-pound, 6.35-ounces yellow and red heirloom tomato outweighed Scutti’s by three ounces. Scutti claims he would have won that year as well. He said in an interview, “I had a three pounder but I didn’t bring it, we used it for sauce.”
Although Scutti wouldn’t release any secrets to how he grows such large tomatoes and the care he gives his plants and soil he did say, “There is a lot of work to it.” He said he uses a weed barrier and spends a few hours in the garden. Scutti also saves his seeds and he never shares them.
Not only was Scutti’s beefsteak the largest this year he also beat his own township record by just about half a pound, being the largest recorded tomato in Nutley in the last six years. Previous entrees he had were 1-pound, 9.8 ounces (2017); 1-pound, 6.05 ounces (2016); 1-pound, 8.4 ounces (2015); 1 pound, 6.7 ounces (2014); and 1-pound, 9.46 ounces (2013).
Besides for beefsteak tomatoes he grows hot peppers, gagootz (slang for cucuzza), a very long squash and basil.
His family all came out with him to cheer him on. Scutti received a Greenutley reusable shopping bag, a magazine subscription to Edible Jersey and a water bottle.
The Greenutley Committee accepts fresh produce donations bi-weekly and non-perishables weekly at the Farmers Market which is then delivered to the Nutley Family Service Bureau Food Pantry for distribution.
Opening day for the 10th Nutley Farmers Market season is June 16, 2019.
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