Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

June 3, 2013

BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL: There can be only one: Cities face off next week for title of “Tomato Capital of the World;” viewers needed

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — Plans are quickly falling into place for the June 5 tomato showdown between Jacksonville and Crystal Springs, Miss.

Witnesses are being sought for this special event. Those who wish to attend need to contact the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce at  903-586-2217.

At stake – at least for the next year – is the title of “Tomato Capital of the World.”

This particular showdown – leading into Jacksonville's Tomato Fest – will be a “Pepsi Challenge”-style eat-off that takes place on air on Shreveport's KTBS-TV.

It will be completed in time for each town's respective tomato festival. The 29th anniversary of Jacksonville's Tomato Fest, held June 8. Crystal Springs also celebrates its Tomato Festival June 29.

Randy Bain, KTBS news director, is the organizer of this particular battle, scheduled during his station's morning program. KTBS is located at 312 East Kings Highway in Shreveport, Louisiana.

The first television teaser for the showdown takes place as both contestants set up their display will be between 8:45 a.m. and 9 a.m., according to an itinerary submitted by Peggy Renfro, Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce president.

Two of the three items – the best plate of three and largest tomato – will be judged between 9 a.m.-ish and 11 a.m. that day.

The actual judging of the tasting of the tomatoes will be live on television between 11:10 a.m. and 11: 20 a.m.

Those witnesses who attend should be prepared to be interviewed, according to Renfro's chamber announcement.

“Please be prepared as you may be one of the folks interviewed that day,” Renfro wrote. “If interviewed, share Jacksonville’s uniqueness and tourism exchange for both communities.”

As far as transportation is concerned, Jacksonville Chamber officials are willing to rent a van, but they quickly need to know who is going before making that particular decision.  


On  June 23, during the annual picnic of the Cherokee County Democratic Club, the “Cherokee County Democratic Women” awarded their 2013 Scholarship to Rusk High School Senior Laine Cockrum.

Pictured above, from left, are Marlene Jowell, Madeleine Ross, Lainie Cockrum, Joanna Reagan and Susie Blackmon.


The Rusk Chamber of Commerce recently welcomes a new business, “Sweets by Pam” 121 S. Henderson St in Rusk.

This specialty bake shop offers two kinds of  “take and bake” casseroles for a future lunch or dinner. They re available refrigerated or frozen, depending upon when they are planned to be baked.

Those without access to ovens can sample the daily casseroles from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m, Monday through Friday. It cost $8 per plate, with most drinks costing $1.

There also are specialty baked goodies that are available to order for special events.

For additional information about the bakery and restaurant, please inquire by calling 903-683-3333.  


Billy Bateman and Bobby's Tire & Auto at 302 N. Jackson are still in the process of collecting children's supplies for tornado-stricken Moore, Okla.  

Donations such as clothing, food, toys, and blankets will be much-appreciated. Please donate during the working hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mon through Friday or 8 a.m. through noon Saturday.

The tornado that struck Moore was an EF5 – the highest ranking on the scale. More than a mile across, it carved a swath of destruction nearly 17 miles long and left at least 24 dead, The Associated Press reported.

The destruction prompted Jacksonville residents to donate supplies. Some ferried those supplies to Moore themselves.

Bateman can be reached about this by cell phone. Call him at 903-284-1710.

 Ben Tinsley, a Jacksonville Daily Progress reporter with over 20 years in the journalism industry,

writes Business Confidential, a column designed

to help promote and help spotlight the diverse and growing business community of Cherokee County.

Wish to submit ideas? Simply contact Tinsley by email, btinsley@jacksonvilleprogress.com,

or call him at 903-586-2236.

Tinsley can also be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/bentinsley or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ben.tinsley.12