Tomato Fest held at Henderson Farmers Market

HENDERSON, Tenn. – A popular fruit is the star of a local farmers’ market.

“I love tomatoes, yes. There’s not a bad spot on them. Perfect sandwich,” said Tomato Fest attendee Aloha Prather.

If you’re a tomato lover, there was plenty to go around at the first Tomato Fest at Henderson Farmer’s Market.

“Tomatoes are one of the main reasons people come to farmers markets, so today is our big tomato day,” said UT County Extension Officer Steve Rickman. of Chester. “We have all kinds of contests, we give free tomatoes, two free tomatoes per customer.”

Contests included the biggest, smallest, prettiest and ugliest tomato, as well as a tomato throwing contest.

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Attendees Kristen and Jeremy Hicks say they were grateful they made the decision to visit the farmers market.

“We saw that happening today. It was great,” Kristen Hicks said. “We got free tomatoes, a free bag, and we got to talk to a master gardener about a program, so that was cool.”

Prather says she’s stocked up on her favorite fruits and vegetables, with tomatoes topping the list.

“Put a little salt and pepper in it, put it on a sandwich or make it into a salad. Everything is fine. There’s nothing like home-grown tomatoes,” Prather said.

Rickman says Tomato Fest’s goal is to provide education about growing tomatoes, but it’s also about supporting local farmers.

“People are more concerned about where their produce comes from than bringing it home to eat,” Rickman said. “We try to provide fresh produce, vegetables and locally grown produce.”

And the Hicks say that’s why they come to the farmers’ market.

“You can talk to the farmers who are here growing the real food. I think it’s really cool when you make those connections,” Kristen Prather said.

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“They are the reason we are able to do what we do because a lot of us don’t farm,” said Justin Prather. “Being able to support them keeps us going.”

If you missed Tomato Fest, there will be another event to highlight beef and pork in July.

The Henderson Farmers Market is open every Friday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more news in the Chester County area, click here.

James V. Payne