Stories of Interest

14th Annual Tomato Festival

The Henderson County Tailgate Market welcomed hundreds of visitors and customers from across the Carolinas. Many of them snatched up at least 600 of pounds of fresh Henderson County tomatoes until all were sold out during the 14th annual Tomato Festival. 

Hungry shoppers gobbled up about 800 FREE tomato sandwiches as vendors showcased all kinds of varieties of the tasty fruit in ideal weather. The North Carolina Extension Service provided 250 copies of free recipes and offered samplings at a tasting booth with volunteers from Henderson County 4-H and Master Gardeners. Even Tommie Tomato entertained the crowd as many had a photo taken with the mascot.

In addition to tomatoes, vendors also offered other fresh produce, eggs, chicken, flowers, plantings, honey, baked goods, natural beauty products and more.

Every year, nearly 3,000 acres of tomatoes are grown across the Tar Heel state, with North Carolina ranking seventh nationally in tomato production. Henderson County helps lead the way as tomatoes are packed and shipped for fresh use.

Our History

Ernie Thurston was hired by "North Carolina Agricultural Marketing Project" in Raleigh to begin and organize a market in Hendersonville during the summer of 1979.  To this day, Mr. Thurston is proud of what he started and how the Henderson County Tailgate Market has grown over the years.  Click below to view Mr. Thurston's collection of photos. He is the one holding the Farmers' Fair banner in a couple of the photos.

Ernie recently dropped by the market to say hello.

Grab a Cap and Shirt

Our new t-shirts and caps are now available.  100%  heavy cotton Gildan tees come in Ice Grey and the new Carolina Blue.  S/M/L/XL $20 - XXL $22 - XXXL $24 - Caps $20.

Click below to send size, mailing address and add $7 shipping.  You can also e-mail us to place your order for onsite market pickup.

Apparel Orders Click Here


 Established in 1979, The Henderson County Tailgate Market is one of the oldest open air markets in Western North Carolina. This unique Saturday morning market has a festival feel in the heart of Hendersonville. The market is filled with local growers who operate small family farms in Henderson County. They have developed a reputation for quality and high-value specialty crops and nursery stock. Throughout the season you can find beautiful annual flowers, perennials, native plants and shrubs, trees, and fresh cut flowers for your bouquets. You will find in season crops of fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Whether you are looking for organics herbs or vegetables starts, local fruits and vegetables, farm fresh eggs, renewing your yard with local plants, surprising a special someone with fresh cut flowers, or freshly baked goodies, you can find it all here. Bring your whole family with their baskets or wagons and shop with us at 100 N. King Street from 8 am till 12 pm, every Saturday from April through October. Visit our website for more information.

We're On TV

Thanks to WLOS-TV and WSPA-TV for spring 2018 coverage.

Here's our appearance on SCENE -

Thank to local media for recent coverage of our 13th Annual Tomato Festival.  

Fox Carolina 21, WLOS-TV News 13 and WSPA 7News featured us on their morning newscasts.

Here's a photo of Joe Gagnon of Fox Carolina when he visited the farm of Jenny, Jim and Chesnee Sexton and Crab Creek Produce to preview the Tomato Festival.  The series of six live shots included the making of a tomato sandwich.  North Carolina Extension Service Agent Karen Blaedow and marketing board member Joey Popp joined the Sextons for interviews from early to mid-morning.  Click for photos and media coverage:

13th Annual Tomato Festival

Thanks for being a part of our record breaking crowd as we handed out at least 700 free tomato sandwiches to celebrate the crop that's important to Henderson County's economy.

Click here for photos.