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Tomato Sandwich Day draws crowd to Red Bay

Joyce and Phillip Ingle were just passing through Red Bay on their way home to Hamilton Saturday when Joyce mentioned she wanted to stop by the Red Bay Farmers Market for some tomatoes. “We were going to have tomato sandwiches at home,” Joyce said. The Ingles, however, like all visitors to the market Saturday, were in for a tomato treat.

Aug. 10 was Tomato Sandwich Day in Red Bay, with members of the Franklin County Cooperative Extension on site boasting large, meaty slices of tomato, fresh white bread, lettuce, bacon bits, mayonnaise and sides for a little picnic under the market shelter.

“Tomato Sandwich Day originated with coworkers in Colbert County, where I transferred from before I came to Franklin,” said Extension director Katernia Cole-Coffey. “It was such a huge success, we decided to copy their idea. It’s been a hit ever since we copied it.”

The promise of a tasty sandwich attracted dozens to the Red Bay Farmers Market Saturday. Visitors could dress up their sandwiches with lettuce, mayonnaise and bacon bits – or not, as they chose.

Not all Tomato Sandwich Day visitors were local folks. Peter and Heather Vanpol were in town visiting Tiffin Motorhomes from Ontario, Canada.

“We’re having loads of fun here,” Heather said. The couple found out about Tomato Sandwich Day and decided to go check it out. Tomato sandwiches are also “a thing” in Canada, and their area of Ontario is thick with tomato farmers, “but we never put bacon bits on them,” Heather said.

In other tomato adventures, the couple said they were looking forward to trying fried green tomatoes during their visit to the South.

David and Rosanna Brengman were also in town for Tiffin Motorhomes, visiting from southern California, and decided to pop in on Tomato Sandwich Day.

“Never had one before – I love them,” said David. “I love this town. The people here are over the top.”