Free Tomato Sandwich Day returns Friday, July 8

Published 10:06 am Friday, July 8, 2022

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VALLEY — Friday afternoon, July 8 Free Tomato Sandwich Day returns to the Valley Farmers Market. People coming out between 3 and 6 p.m. EDT will receive a free tomato sandwich and can wash it down with some free ice-cold lemonade.

The tomatoes will be provided by some of the east Alabama farmers who have produce tables at the weekly farmers market. Valley Parks & Recreation will provide the bread, mayonnaise and lemonade.

Serving as celebrity sandwich makers this year will be Chambers County Commission Chair Debra Riley, Valley Police Chief Mike Reynolds, Chambers County Sheriff’s Department Major T.J. Wood and former Valley City Council Member Ray Edwards.

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Free Tomato Sandwich Day is an event that pre-dates Valley Farmers Market. It’s a local tradition that was started by Evan and Jeanette Mason at the Village Curb Market. When the east Alabama tomato crop started coming in they would pick a day in mid-July to serve free tomato sandwiches as a way to promote Alabama tomatoes. That tradition continues today with Free Tomato Sandwich Day at Valley Farmers Market.

Valley Parks & Recreation Director Laurie Blount said that activity really picks up at the farmers market when the summer crops start to come in. There are more local farmers there selling their crops and more people coming out to see what’s for sale.

The next promotion for the farmers market will be Free Slice of Watermelon Day. That will be taking place on Friday, August 12th. Walter Pulliam of LaFayette usually has some really nice Crimson Sweet watermelons that day.

There’s always a variety of items at the farmer’s market that are very reasonably priced. Randall and Laura McClellan of Circle M Farm, Fredonia, has their table filled with the jams and jellies Laura is so good at making. Pepper jelly is her specialty, but she’s always coming up with something new like rhubarb jam and lemon and lime jelly.

Mary Ann Johnson has had live plants for sale at her Growing Old table. Dennis and Janine Caldwell of Jade Farm & Crafts, Valley, have had green tomatoes ideal for frying along with white red, white and blue craft items that are just right for Fourth of July week.