Things have been tough for tomato lovers at our house and probably in many other homes in the Roanoke Valley. The crop has been slow coming in this year. Our plants were attacked by marauding deer and a fungus.
Good tomatoes were even in short supply at the end of last week at the Roanoke Farmers Market. In fact I was beginning to wonder if all the area tomato farmers had retired.
Fortunately for us, we decided to take a trip down to Cornelius, NC to visit with our college age daughter who will hopefully graduate from UNC Charlotte by the end of the year.
I'm not sure where North Carolina stands among states with Farmer's markets, but I'm convinced it is well up in the rankings of states with produce stands along the highways.
After we had lunch at Lupie's in Huntersville, we came back and visited a produce stand that our NC-based daughter often frequents.
It's one of a number of Farm Fresh Markets in the Charlotte area. According to the owner they have been in business for years. The one we went to was at 19204 W Catawba Ave, Cornelius, NC. It is one the same side of the road as the K&W Cafeteria and actually you enter the produce stand from the road to the shopping center where the K&W is located.
The easiest way to find the Farm Fresh Market is to get off of Interstate 77 at exit 28, take a right and just follow Catawba Avenue about 1.2 miles until you see the stand on your left. There's big "Out Parcel for Sale" sign.
After scoping out the tomato varieties and talking to a couple of repeat purchasers, we actually decided to go with the German Johnson tomatoes pictured to the left. They turned out to be delicious as the main ingredient in our today's lunch BLTs. They were very meaty with very few seeds. Since we bought enough to last for most of the week, I'm looking forward to tomato sandwiches for dinner almost every night this week. They also might end up as the tomato plant of choice for next year depending on whether or not my Better Boys ever recover or not.
We also came away with a Sugar Baby watermelon. After cutting if today, my wife said we should have brought two home. It was the best watermelon I've had since last year.
For the rest of our thirty plus dollars, we got white half runner beans, already shelled Lima beans, and shelled Crowder peas. We got enough tomatoes not only for us, but also left some with the youngest daughter and sent some home with the oldest daughter. We'll freely admit to being a tomato loving family with the exception of our son, a tomato alien, who enjoys his strange lettuce and bacon sandwiches.
We did leave the Okra behind and forgot to try the Sweet Potatoes. The squash, corn, and zucchini we can get at our local Jamison's Market. You just have to be on your toes to get there early enough to capture some of the corn. I suspect their tomatoes are close to being ripe by now.
With all these great vegetables, I guess I'll be pretty choosy at the Roanoke Market this week.