2014 Great Tomato Tasting
Armed with plastic forks, a crowd descended upon Rutgers Snyder Research Farm in Pittstown on August 27 to attend the Annual Snyder Farm Open House and Great Tomato Tasting. Tasters had an offering of eighty varieties of tomatoes to taste from as well as basil, peaches, apples and honey. The samplings provided a glimpse of some of the research crops grown at Snyder Farm and hayride farm tours gave an up close look at fruit and vegetable trials in the field.
Chefs from Rutgers Dining Services were on hand to demonstrate quick and healthy tomato-based dishes and student members of RU Healthy Dining Team challenged tasters with a healthy eating quiz. While most of the tasting tents do not conduct taste rankings, select tomato and basil varieties were provided for evaluation. The basil varieties under evaluation are being developed for resistance to basil downy mildew. Grape tomatoes and a “retro Rutgers tomato” were selected for evaluation.
New this year was a turf labyrinth, which replaced the traditional corn maize. In between munching on tomatoes, tasters could ask questions from Rutgers NJAES Master Gardeners and personnel from Rutgers Soil Testing and Plant Diagnostic Labs, hazelnut breeding and the Center for Vector Biology.
While the tomato tasting public is greeted with a beautiful display of landscape plants in the teaching garden, a whimsical scarecrow display at the entryway and has the chance to win baskets filled with Jersey Fresh produce and flowers from Snyder Farm, behind the scenes are dozens of Master Gardener volunteers and a top notch team of faculty and staff affiliated with Snyder Farm that execute this extraordinary event each year. This is one group that deserves a plastic fork salute!