Hendersonville’s Other “Red Gold”

Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer! Hendersonville just had their annual Apple Festival showcasing its harvest of “Red Gold.” Apples of almost every variety are grown in the rolling hills taking advantage of the cool weather the Blue Ridge Mountains offer. Hendersonville’s streets are flooded with apples showing a glimpse of the area’s apple crop.

The end of summer showcases the harvest of the many farms in the area. Farmer’s markets are filled with their crops of different varieties of green beans, corn, potatoes, cucumbers, and Hendersonville’s other “Red Gold”, tomatoes! The farms are home to over 20 different types of tomatoes that offer delicate taste and texture to home cooking.

Tomatoes are a diverse fruit that has many uses, from snacking to the Southern lunch delicacy, the tomato sandwich. Cherry tomatoes are the easiest to grow and have the classic tomato snap when eaten. They are used for snacking, salads, and as a side for supper. Roma and Plum tomatoes are hardier and have fewer seeds. They are great for processing and creating sauces., Juliet, Sweet 100, or Sweet Million are some of Hendersonville’s favorite cherry tomatoes.

Heirloom tomatoes are varieties that have been preserved over the generations for their taste, color and texture are of particular interest. The seeds of heirloom tomatoes can be planted and grown producing fruit with the same characteristics of their parent. Those heirloom characteristics are continued for future generations. Heirloom tomatoes that do well in the area are Cherokee Purple, German Johnson, Homestead, and Marglobe. These tomatoes have exceptional taste and texture that will add something new to the supper table.

The area also produces a wide variety of hybrid tomatoes that are readily available around Hendersonville. These varieties include the Big Beef, Better Boy, Celebrity, and Early Girl as well as other varieties that can be found around the Farmer’s Markets. The hybrid tomatoes will not breed as heirlooms, they will produce a fruit that is different in taste and texture than their parents. Over the years, that hybrid tomato will change taking on the characteristic of the soil and adapt to the weather conditions, producing a tomato that is unique to the area.

The early fall is a great time to find the many tomatoes that are grown in the Hendersonville area. They can be found at the various Farmer’s Markets, at roadside stands by the farms where they grew. They are a great addition to your supper table, salad, or a quick tomato sandwich for dinner! Pick some up on your next road trip to the orchards and taking in the fall colors.