EATING THE HANOVER TOMATO-HANOVER COUNTY, VIRGINIA
This is a way to enjoy the "Hanover Tomato".....created by my brother, who has been doing this for many years....he also makes his own "Salt Rising Bread" noted below....the "Salt Rising Bread" will have a distinctive odor but is delicious when eaten.....it is eaten for a snack during the evening of TV-ing or when you desire.......great for sandwiches.
TIP: A. OBTAIN A LOAF OF "SALT RISING" BREAD (OR YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN)
B. PLACE SLICE IN TOASTER AND TOAST AS DESIRED
C. FROM THE "HANOVER TOMATO" , SLICE OFF A GENEROUS SLICE
D. SPREAD THE TOASTED SLICE OF BREAD WITH MAYONAISE (OR SALAD DRESSING)
E. PLACE TOMATO ON BREAD SLICE AND "EAT OPEN FACED"
INCLUDED ARE SOME LINKS ABOUT THE BREAD AND TOMATOES.
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Mechanicsville is located on the Battlefield of Cold Harbor, which was fought to a draw in 1864. Because of that, there is no shortage of Southern pride here. For example, I live on Lee-Davis Road named for General Robert E. Lee and Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Four local schools, three of which I attended: Battlefield Park Elementary, Cold Harbor Elementary School, Stonewall Jackson Middle, and Lee-Davis High Schools are all named in keeping with commemoration of the battle. In other jurisdictions, local leaders have caved in to loud demands to change the names, thus sweeping history under the carpet. No such move has been made here and, if it were tried, I have faith that my fellow Hanoverians would laugh in their face. Even on private properties, despite the influx of come-heres from all over, Confederate flag displays around here aren't rare. We don't hide our Southern pride.
The Sons of Confederate veterans are a group that seeks to preserve the history of the War for Southern Independence. They always put up a tent at the Hanover Tomato Festival. All one has to do to be a member is to be descended either directly or by marriage from a Confederate veteran. I qualify. Why are there 4 flags? The leftmost flag is the Virginia state flag, then there is the Confederate battle flag, then the Sons of Confederate Veterans flag, and the rightmost is the Confederate national flag. Most folks confuse the battle flag (bars and stars) for being the national flag. That day (5 July 2003), they had a petition drive to get our governor at the time (from the northern part of the state) to recognise Confederate history month as his predecessor did.
I guess folks from the People's Republic of Charlottesville and points north of Fredericksburg think we're hopeless. Well, I hope we stay that way!
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Hanover Tomato Festival
It seems like each small town has a festival for its favourite local crop. South Boston, Virginia has its Cantaloupe Festival; Urbana has its Oyster Festival; West Point (Virginia) has its Crab Fest; and Hanover County has its Tomato Festival. It must be something unique in the soil, but Hanover tomatoes are among the best American tomatoes. They are exported worldwide and receive frequent mention in the Kay Scarpetta series of Patricia Cornwell's books. The Hanover Tomato Festival is held at Pole Green park (where the old East End Elementary School used to be) on the Saturday following the 4th of July (U.S. Independence Day). Somebody asked me not too long before I put up this tip whether we threw tomatoes at each other like they do annually in this little town in Spain. No, we love our tomatoes. We cut them up and put them in salads, spaghetti sauces, pies, and we even fry some of our green ones.
At the Hanover Tomato Festival, there were a bunch of tents and stands grouped together selling food. Some sold hot dogs, others sold hamburgers and chicken, but there were some more exotic tents selling gyros (I always get mine without that bloody white sauce), Italian Polish style sausages, and even Philly cheese steaks. On this hot day in July, bottled water and lemonade were available.
As a nod to Hanover County's agricultural heritage, a row of old tractors was put on display at the tomato festival. Only the central part of the county has urbanised. Fortunately, the extreme eastern part of the county and western Hanover still are agricultural in nature and carry on growing those Hanover tomatoes.
A row of antique cars was on display here as well. The one that caught my eye was a 1930s Model A Ford delivery truck. The American flag flying on its front bumper only has 48 stars because from 1912-1959 that was the number of states we had. These classics were older, but not as plentiful, colourful and impressive as the ones at the Virgilina Summerfest.
U.S. Senator George Allen came in 2006.
The annual Mechanicsville Christmas Parade is sponsored by the Mechanicsville Rotary and Ruritan clubs. The parade has become one of the bigger events of the year in Hanover County and hosted over 100 groups in 2005 including marching bands, horses, floats, political figures (I marched for Delegate Ryan McDougle in 2005) and a display of all manner of vehicles. The 2005 theme, Toys on Parade, was popular for the little nippers and the nippers at heart. Father Christmas looked great riding down the street with the beautiful floats and the sounds of the bands. On 4 December 2005, there were only two places to be in Hanover County, in the parade or watching from the street! Judges awarded over 15 prizes including Best Appearance, Most Creative, and Best In Keeping With the Theme. The only drawback to the parade is the traffic immediately before and after. Adam and I had to go around Abraham's barn to drop off a girl we knew at a place just down the street.
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