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When I forked over $5 for three tomato plants at the Dupont Farmers’ Market in May, I knew it wouldn’t cut down my trips to Safeway. I bought the plants out of obligation, or maybe family tradition. Each spring, my father would plant a few Big Boys in the dirt patch between the alley, the bushes, and our driveway. By the end of each August, he’d never even made a stinkin’ salad—or even a hamburger topping—with his harvest. My yield this year? One bloody tomato. Now that’s a tale probably missing from The Tomato Companion, a free booklet of tomato recipes, culture, and lore that will be given out at Behnke Nurseries’ 5th Annual Tomato Taste-Off, where, for four hours, tomatophiles will hover around and sample Beefmasters, Romas, and Better Boys. I’ll be the one snapping photos of an actual, full-grown, ready-for-the-knife Big Boy. No salad dressing will be required when the taste-off begins at 10 a.m. at Behnke Nurseries, 11300 Baltimore Ave., Beltsville. Free. (301) 937-1100. (Elissa Silverman)