You say tomato…

gov at tomato dayRALEIGH – The line forms quickly on a summer day like today. Legislators, lobbyists and even Governor McCrory all queued up for a real taste of the North State in bright red slices of goodness between two slices of white bread.

All you need is some tomatoes fresh from Alamance County, a little Duke’s, salt, pepper and you’re good to go. If you aren’t up for Duke’s mayonnaise, you’re out of luck.

Rep. Ben Clark and Sen. Rick Gunn

Rep. Ben Clark and Sen. Rick Gunn

“There are no committee substitutes for these tomato sandwiches,” said Sen. Rick Gunn (R-Alamance), who sponsors the annual Infamous Tomato Sandwich Day event that was started more ten years ago by former Sen. Hugh Webster (R-Alamance). It started simply enough. Webster brought in one box of tomatoes, a loaf of bread and set up a make-your-own station in his office.  Now, the day is drawing crowds. This year there’s some sweet to go with the salty.

Sen. Ron Rabin (R-Johnston) with Watermelon Queen Carmen Hunnicutt

Sen. Brent Jackson (R-Johnston) with Watermelon Queen Carmen Honeycutt

Watermelon slices from Jackson Farms were escorted to Raleigh by Watermelon Queen Carmen Honeycutt of Benson. They were a big draw, offered outside on the back porch of the legislative building, salt optional.

“Its all just a way for members and staff to sit and talk to people,” said Sandy Sands, a lobbyist and former legislator. “Its about breaking bread and it happens to have tomatoes in between.”

There’s nothing like a good lunch to bring everyone together. It’s a welcome break from all the budget talk. Might need to wipe your face and get in line at another table for round two.