What would a Carolina summer without tomatoes look like? Our B.L.’s — dry — with no T.’s? Our countertops and windowsills — naked — with no cheery red fruits? Dinners out — incomplete — with no ’mater starters (not the green ones, fried, or the heirlooms, sliced and swimming in balsamic vinegar)? Lucky for us, we can have our tomatoes and eat them, too: on sandwiches, in cocktails, atop pasta, and even, for some of us, on barbecue. This month, we pay homage to our favorite fruit-not-vegetable. We don’t have to imagine a summer without tomatoes, because we’ve seen the future of Carolina cuisine, and it looks rosy (and also green and a little orange).

Our Summer Food

sk tomatof feature Tomatoes, much like summer, must be cherished, savored, enjoyed for as long as possible.

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Update a Classic: Tomato Sandwich

update feature Sure, the sandwich of summer is wonderful just the way it is — only fresh tomatoes, mayonnaise, and bread. But you’d be surprised what North Carolina ingredients, from sprouts to spreads, will pair well with your next tomato sandwich.

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Blue Ribbon Beverage

nofo bmary feature NOFO’s award-winning Bloody Mary is a triumph for its customers, too.

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Tomato Clubs

tomato club feature The early roots of 4-H and home demonstration can be traced to tomatoes.

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The Italian Connection

italian connection feat Despite the 5,000 miles between us, our state shares a few things in common with Italy: beautiful beaches; warm, sunny summers; and a profound love of tomatoes.

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Picking Season

picking feature At the Holden Brothers Farm Market in Shallotte, visitors pick two of our favorite red fruits: Strawberries in the spring and tomatoes in the fall.

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Get your copy of our July 2014 issue to discover even more ways the tomato is enjoyed and celebrated across the state.

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Erin Reitz is a former digital content specialist at Our State.