A festival fixture

Get folks talking about the Pittston Tomato Festival and a name that might not come up is that of Harold “Buddy” Golomb. But it should. For as long as I can remember, Harry Golomb, his wife Audrey and their assorted family members and friends, sold their prize tomatoes along with a wide variety of fresh vegetables at their stand on the lower Tomato Festival lot, right near the bandstand. You might say, in fact, it was Harry Golomb who put the “tomato” in the Tomato Festival. Harry passed away unexpectedly last Sunday. According to his obituary, he was 79 years… Continue Reading

Little sultan hats and bolognese sauce

For a day that started out with me ripping up my knee on a tennis court, Thursday turned out pretty spectacular. It was my “good” knee too. About six weeks ago I went to Ernie G’s bar in Avoca to hear my pals Tony Alu and Dave Grundman play their guitars and sing and when I slid up on the bar stool I felt this ripple across my knee. It didn’t hurt until I started to walk to my car about an hour later. The orthopedic guy figured it might be a torn meniscus. I’m not sure, but something tells… Continue Reading

Phyllis … finally

Finally caught the Phyllis Hopkins Electric Trio Wednesday night and now I know what I’ve been missing. She’s awesome. The scene was World of Brew on Laurel Street and part of the attraction was Gene Philbin’s “Peculiar Culinary” food truck parked outside. Sweet way to spend a summer evening. Shame on me for not becoming familiar with Phyllis Hopkins long ago. I kept hearing about her but just never had an opportunity to discover what the big fuss was all about. Now I know. I found out her dad is John Hopkins, legendary local high school basketball coach. Although I… Continue Reading

You say to-may-to

You say to-MAY-to and I say to-MAH-to. Actually, I say to-MAY-to. And I know a lot of people who say to-MAY-duh. But however you say it, when you refer to the Pittston Tomato Festival, you should always include the word Pittston. See, this is not a tomato festival that happens to be held in the City of Pittston. It’s a festival of the Pittston Tomato, a quality tomato grown only in these parts. That’s what one of the festival co-founders always stressed. The late Val D’Elia (he’s on the new downtown mural, by the way, the guy in the wild… Continue Reading

A designer vegetable

In the early days of the Pittston Tomato Festival, mixed in with the professional chefs and restaurateurs you were likely to find a booth with your friends or neighbors serving something prepared from an old family recipe. That’s how I got to taste my first cardoon. The cardoon is a “thistle-like plant in the same family as the artichoke.” That’s in quotes because I just looked it up on the internet. When I was a kid growing up in Pittston all I knew of the cardoon was my friends of Italian descent ate them all the time and talked about… Continue Reading

Weed it and reap

The best headline I ever wrote as a newspaper editor, I believe, was “Weed it and reap.” It was a slant on the old phrase “read it and weep,” often associated with poker. I wrote it over an editorial which appeared a week or so prior to the Pittston Tomato Festival one year. The idea was to encourage Pittston residents to spruce the place up. I can’t remember, but I may have quoted the Mickey Mouse Club too. When I was a tyke, the Mickey Mouse Club designated each day of the week for a special purpose. Tuesdays were special… Continue Reading