Celebrate the summer season with Tomato Day on Saturday, July 13!

It’s time for one of our favorite events of the year: Tomato Day! Oh yeah! Join your favorite vendors and sample dozens of varieties of heirloom tomatoes on the market lawn starting at 9:00 am. We want to give a huge THANK YOU to Chef Kyle Wilkerson for hosting this event for our market community for the third year in a row!

Need a little cooking inspiration? Check out these recipes and chat with folks tomorrow about ways to prepare tomato dishes:

Finally, don’t forget you can re-stock on local groceries at the Wednesday Market every week from 3-6 pm. See you tomorrow!

In honor of Tomato Day, check out this story from Ken Dawson, a founding market member and owner of Maple Spring Gardens:

How I Came to Love Peanut Butter & Tomato Sandwiches
By Ken Dawson

My Granny always peeled her tomatoes. She would have no more considered putting a plate of sliced but unpeeled tomatoes on the table than she would have taken her wringer washer cleaned sheets off the clothesline and put them away without ironing them. There was a special cut glass dish for sliced tomatoes and a summertime lunch or supper without them was unimaginable. They were a natural fit with string beans and new potatoes, sweet corn (referred to a roastin’ ears) and butterbeans, crowder peas and hot biscuits. July thru September, there were always sliced tomatoes on the table.

The summer I was eight years old, my sister Karen, who was a year younger, and I started going to spend a week at the farm with my grandparents. The summer I was 12, my grandfather asked me to come for a month and work for wages, helping with the tobacco harvest. That was the summer I learned to drive the tractor. The year was 1963 and $5 a week was big money to me then. The next summer Granddaddy did not have a crop, as he was recovering from a mild heart attack. The tenant farmers left and I did not work at the farm. The following Christmas, Granddaddy asked me if I would like to come for the summer and work a small (2 acre) tobacco crop with him. I did not think twice; my parents immediately agreed and the plan was made. That arrangement lasted for 2 summers, the summers I was 14 and 15, during which time I grew up a lot, took over a lot of responsibility for the work of the farm when Granddaddy was sick or “down in his back.” I earned and saved all my spending money for the year and ate a whole lot of sliced tomatoes and corn and butterbeans.

Granny was famous for her biscuits. They were big and soft and white, made with Red Band flour and lard and I believe she could have made them in her sleep. A meal was not complete without them. I asked her once how many was the most she had ever made for one meal, back when my Dad was growing up and she was feeding a larger family of hard working folks. She reckoned it was about 75 biscuits. My Dad claimed to have eaten as many as 15 at a meal. Granny’s main job was keeping us fed. She harvested produce from the garden, shelled a lot of peas, fixed all the meals and filled the freezer for the winter. Some days, though, she helped around the barn during “tobacco saving” time. Then the meals were a little smaller and less elaborate. Then we sometimes made eating a tomato and peanut butter sandwich a part of filling up. This was something my Granddaddy liked, and invented, as far as I know. His version of it was made from a cold biscuit broken in half. Jif Peanut Butter was spread on one half, and “Sandwich Spread,” a mixture of mayonnaise and sweet pickle relish, was spread on the other half of the biscuit. A big slice of peeled tomato went in between. They were mighty good. I learned to love peanut butter and tomato sandwiches at my Granny’s dinner table in the late 50’s and early ’60s and have been eating them ever since. The basic formula is sill pretty much the same, but nowadays I prefer a good whole wheat bread, Duke’s Mayonnaise, and a good, all natural peanut butter. And I don’t peel my tomatoes.

I still eat tomato and peanut butter sandwiches. I still love ’em and they always remind me of an awfully good part of my growing up – summers working on my grandparents’ farm and great homegrown meals at my Granny’s dinner table. I have never known anyone else who ate tomato and peanut butter sandwiches, except one summer, we had a young woman, Jo, working here with us. Turns out she had grown up eating tomato and peanut butter sandwiches with her family. We never did figure out if we were related.

Upcoming Events

Wednesdays (through August 14)

  • Calling all kiddos! Join us every Wednesday afternoon for the Sprouts Kid’s Club. After you complete a free activity, you’ll earn $3 in Sprouts Club Bucks to spend on fresh fruits and veggies. We can’t wait to see you at the market!

Saturday, July 20

  • Chat with the Master Gardeners from 8 am-12 pm.

Saturday, August 10

Want to learn more?

Read the rest of the July 12, 2019 newsletter or sign up to receive the next newsletter in your inbox.