Hanover tomatoes may be the most famous "celebrities" of a Richmond summer. Catch them at this year's Hanover Tomato Festival, held on July 11 at Mechanicsville's Pole Green Park. The Black Creek Volunteer Fire Department started the festival 31 years ago as a fundraiser. To this day, all proceeds from booth rentals still go to Black Creek, which organizes the annual event along with Hanover County Parks and Recreation, the Mechanicsville Local and the Herald-Progress.
There will be live music and about 200 vendors, but it wouldn't truly be a festival without recipe contests. Last year, Diana Henley's Green Tomato Cake — an apple-spice cake with chopped green tomatoes replacing the apples — took first prize for "Best Green Tomato Recipe." Whether you're competing or just attending, come prepared for the heat. "It has to be the hottest day of the year," Henley says. For more information, visit hanovertomatofestival.com.