It has been a hot, dry summer here in Delta County. Water restrictions, empty reservoirs, wildfires, smoky air, and difficult growing conditions have marked this season for everyone.
Fortunately, the drought conditions that are limiting the tomato harvest are not affecting Delta County Libraries' fourth annual tomato haiku contest.
"Actually, the drought has inspired a very new kind of tomato haiku," says Leah Morris, collections and systems administrator for Delta County Libraries. "Rather than declarations of delicious, bountiful harvests, we are seeing woeful expressions of loss. It should make for a very different kind of collection of poems this year."
Delta County Libraries launched its first tomato haiku contest in August 2015 to complement the annual Tomato Fest in September. The contest runs through the end of August and a panel of judges selects winners in a variety of different categories.
"We invite the winners to read their haiku at the festival each year," Morris explains. "It has become a very popular part of the day. We also put together a book of the entries we receive and have it available for people to take."
This year, the Tomato Fest is on Saturday, Sept. 15, from noon to 2 p.m. at the park by the Creamery Arts Center in Hotchkiss. Tomato taste testing, "best-of" contests, a tomato-themed fashion show, and the haiku reading are all part of the lineup.
"We would love to see everyone in the community get involved," says Sarah Smith, senior librarian at Hotchkiss Library. "Even if your garden did not produce tomatoes this year, there are plenty of ways to get involved, including submitting a tomato haiku!"
Haiku submissions can be made online through Aug. 31 by visiting www.deltalibraries.org. The contest is open to all ages and is limited to three haiku per person. A haiku is three lines: five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables.
Let's write a haiku!
A fun, easy thing to do.
Please submit one now!