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September 22, 2015 @ 1:10 am by admin

Celebrating and Giving Back

Photo courtesy of Garret Moore

On Sept. 10, the Masonic Home at Union City celebrated its fifth annual Tomato Palooza. Grand Master Russ Charvonia, and his wife, Linda, attended the celebration as special guests.

This treasured annual tradition began as a way to appreciate the Home’s bountiful tomato harvest. Its on-site organic garden has more than 100 tomato plants, representing dozens of varieties. The festival is also a celebration of healthy eating and successful aging.

At Tomato Palooza, residents and staff enjoyed sampling the various colors and flavors of the tomatoes. A variety of foods and beverages with tomatoes as a main ingredient were served, including fried green tomatoes, many different salsas, bruschetta, pizzettas, bloody marys – and more!

A highlight of the mardi-gras-style festival was the election and installation of the Royal Tomato Court. The tomato king and queen were Virgil Land and Louise Henry – both who celebrated their 100th birthday this year. The collective age of this year’s court was 587 years. Resident artist John R. Dahle hand-painted banners and a crown for the king and queen, which were used to decorate the newly remodeled auditorium.

Tomato Palooza also has a charitable aim – helping local community members in need. Residents and staff of the Home collected two large barrels of canned food donations for the Tri-City Volunteers. The ladies of the Acacia Creek Sewing for Charity Group made and sold microwave potholders to support the food bank, as well as donating $600.

Learn more about the Masonic Homes of California at and, “like” the California Masonic Assistance Facebook page to stay up to date with current news from the Masonic Homes.

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