N.C. tomato season opens with safe, healthy crop
For many consumers, the fact that juicy, ripe North Carolina tomatoes share the same eye-catching color of stoplights and stop signs is good. They easily attract attention as the fruit and vegetable season gets into full swing.
But, it’s the tomato’s fresh taste that strikes the most powerful sense for many people.
“As far as I am concerned, there is nothing better than a fresh tomato sandwich in the summertime,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “And North Carolinians can be assured that locally grown tomatoes are safe to eat. The Food and Drug Administration has confirmed our tomatoes are not involved with recent salmonella cases that have been linked to tomatoes from Mexico and Florida, so consumers can serve North Carolina tomatoes with confidence.”
Growers in Eastern North Carolina recently began harvesting their crops, with the major volume of tomatoes beginning in mid-July in the western part of the state.
Round, grape, cherry, plum, Roma and heirloom tomatoes can be found statewide at farmers markets and roadside stands. They are also available in retail grocery stores and restaurants during the state’s harvest season. Direct-market farms and farmers markets that sell tomatoes can be found at www.NCFarmFresh.com.
To celebrate the season, which lasts from June through October, the following events are planned:
• June 27 – Tomato Day at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visitors will find giveaways, samples and, of course, locally grown tomatoes, and will be able to speak with Commissioner Troxler and North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services staff.
• July 3 – Tomato Day at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market in Colfax,
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Troxler will also be on hand to celebrate the opening of the N.C. tomato season in Colfax. The Farmers Market will have stickers, recipes and local tomatoes fresh from the tomato vine.
For additional information, nutritional facts and tips for selecting, handling and preparing tomatoes, visit www.nctomato.com.