Carrboro, July 6
Join the Carrboro Farmers Market for its biggest event of the year. For more than 20 years, the market has celebrated North Carolina’s tomato season with this event featuring kids’ activities, recipes, live music, a raffle, and, of course, a huge variety of locally grown tomatoes.
301 West Main Street, Carrboro, NC 27510
(919) 280-3326, carrborofarmersmarket.com
Lexington, July 20
Self-styled “Tomato Queen” Tinne de Coster Leonard and her mother-in-law, Beth Leonard, created this event more than a decade ago to celebrate Lexington’s tomato heritage. Enjoy tomato-themed recipe contests and games like the Tomato Toss at the Lexington Farmers Market.
129 South Railroad Street, Lexington, NC 27292
Homegrown Tomato Festival
Charlotte, July 27
“Only two things that money can’t buy,” Guy Clark once sang. “And that’s true love and homegrown tomatoes.” The nearly 450 people at Charlotte’s Homegrown Tomato Festival would agree. They’re here to eat tomato sandwiches, sample entries in the Best Homegrown Tomato contest, and try tomato ice cream. (It’s delicious. Really.) The event is classic Southern with a twist: Almost as popular as the tomato sandwiches last year was the limited-release Caprese Blonde Ale by NoDa Brewing Company, made with local basil and roasted Roma tomatoes for the event. Money may not be able to buy true love, but here, for $10, it can buy white bread, tomato slices, and Duke’s mayonnaise. And that’s close enough. — Jen Tota McGivney
511 East 36th Street, Charlotte, NC 28205
Charlotte, July 27
The Charlotte Regional Farmers Market will celebrate the many shapes, colors, and sizes of one of summer’s most versatile fruits. Free tomato recipes will be distributed, and a variety of tomatoes will be available for purchase from local vendors.
1801 Yorkmont Road, Charlotte, NC 28217
(704) 357-1269, ncagr.gov/markets/facilities/markets/charlotte/
The Tomato Tasting
Fuquay-Varina, August 3
Hosted by “foodscape” and horticulture expert Brie Arthur, the 2019 Tomato Tasting will celebrate the taste of summer with a variety of tomato samples and tomato-based recipes.
7624 Troy Stone Drive, Fuquay-Varina, NC 27526
Tomato Celebration Day
Greensboro, August 10
Tomato Celebration Day at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market is an annual tribute to all things tomato, and, therefore, all things good. This year, vote for the tastiest tomato, buy a fried green tomato kit, and sample tomato pie, sliders, consommé, and salsa on the “Tomato Taster” plate. “We love bringing people together through food,” says Lee Mortensen, executive director of the market. Ask any of the vendors, and they’ll all touch on the same communal note: They love coming to the market and participating in events like Tomato Celebration Day because of the people there. As Chef Reto Biaggi, winner of the 2018 BLT Challenge, says, “In the end, it’s better when it’s made for others.” — Caroline Kelly
501 Yanceyville Street, Greensboro, NC 27405
(336) 373-2402, gsofarmersmarket.org
Hendersonville, August 10
Every Saturday, a parking lot in downtown Hendersonville plays host to the Henderson County Tailgate Market, and on August 10, tomatoes reign during the 15th annual Tomato Festival: Agents from the North Carolina Cooperative Extension talk about canning classes and planting methods and share recipes for salsa and sorbet. A woman in a red vest offers free Parmesan tomato chips. But what you really want to know about are the tomato sandwiches taking shape at the table up front: three ingredients that fuse together until you’re holding something else entirely — something that you’d better eat fast before it drips all across the parking lot. — Jeremy B. Jones
100 North King Street, Hendersonville, NC 28792
(828) 707-3133, hendersoncountytailgatemarket.com