It all begins in May when residents of Marlborough purchase small tomato plants that they hope will be prize-winners in August when everyone gathers at the Benmarl Winery for an afternoon of fun and camaraderie.
The Italian heritage organization UNICO hosted the event last week that is a fundraiser. UNICO President John DeMarco said the organization, “is a group of good-willed guys who want to do things for the community and everybody knows that. They really get nothing for it and the club gives everything back to the community and you don’t hear much of that these days and we’re all proud to do it.”
DeMarco said people pay $20 per plant in the spring, which is also good for two tickets to the gathering in August.
“It’s all day entertainment and all you can eat of a couple of different courses,” he said.
DeMarco said funds raised at the contest are earmarked for UNICO’s Achievement Awards that are given to graduating seniors who have overcome challenges in their lives.
“The effort that they put in and the dedication they have and the drive, we try to reward that,” he said. “That’s what this is all about.”
DeMarco offered thanks to numerous organizations for their help with the Contest: Victor Spaccarelli, owner of Benmarl, Amy Hepworth, of Hepworth Farms for providing the tomato plants, Joel Truncali, of Truncali Farms for providing the fruit on the tables, Jeff Paladino, of Milton Hardware, for donating seating and Marlboro Mini Storage.
UNICO member Willy Biggin announced the winners in the contest: the 1st Place winners were: Devin McLaughlin in the under 16 category for growing a 999 gram tomato. Laura Vandelaar in the 16-65 year old bracket with a 1,021 gram tomato. Lenny Scaturro won in the over 65 category and was also the Grand Prize winner with a 1,023 gram tomato.
Nick Johannetts is an accountant and handles the books for UNICO.
“The more we make the more we give away,” he said. “In our last fiscal year I think we’re over $20,000.”
The trio ‘All Too Real’ provided music for the afternoon, consisting of Jimmy Palmer, Anthony Jeffries and Kevin Lyons.
Benmarl owner Victor Spaccarelli said he fully supports the mission of UNICO.
“Support is the name of the game and I have this place here, it’s beautiful, I’m not selfish about it and I enjoy sharing with everybody,” he said. “It’s gratifying to give something back and they give back to the community and that’s the beautiful part about it. There’s no [personal] profit here, nobody is looking to make any money, it’s just total support for the community.”