Well, we successfully missed this annual Spanish festival by a whole day. But oh well! We'll write about it a day late. :)
Basically, La Tomatina celebrates the summer harvest of tomatoes in Spain by having an enormous, hour-long tomato fight in the streets of Buñol, near Valencia.
On the one hand, such a massive fight with fresh tomatoes seems like a waste of perfectly good produce. On the other, anyone who has grown tomatoes in their gardens probably knows that there is some point when those plants produce such a massive quantity of ripe fruit that your life is completely overrun. Sure, at first, you're enthusiastic: "Let's have a tomato salad!" "Let's make our own pasta sauce!" "Let's revive the long-lost art of canning tomatoes!"
Then, having dressed, stewed, canned, and otherwise prepared those tomatoes until you're not certain what happened to your last three entire weekends, you discover that your kitchen counters are still no longer visible underneath the latest batch of fresh tomatoes. Your neighbors stop answering the door when you come to give them some of the surplus.
When you reach this point, suddenly La Tomatina makes a great deal of sense. FLING the tomatoes! To read more about the festival, and some of the other traditions involved (oh yes, there is a greased pole with a ham atop!), check out the wikipedia page devoted to it.
And if you were clever enough to only plant a responsible single tomato plant this summer, and still love the fruits enough to perhaps want to wear tiny versions of them, check out our tomato earrings!