The secret to getting a great tasting tomato, according to Ambler Farm agriculture director Jonathan Kirschner, is a simple one.

“The tomato has to be warm, it has to be room temperature,” Kirshner said Aug. 16 at the farm, which is in the middle of the peak tomato harvest.

“It has to be warm, to bring out those sugars,” Kirshner said as he stepped through rows of tall tomato plants bearing green fruit, not yet ripened red. Many bushels had already been picked.

“If you put tomatoes in the refrigerator, they taste bland,” he said.

Bland tomato taste will be the last thing on anyone’s mind

Saturday, Aug. 25, at Ambler Farm on Hurlbutt Street, when the town-owned farm throws its fourth annual Tomato Tasting & Family Fun Event.

The event will run from 10 to noon, and it includes tastings from among the farm’s 30 varieties of heirloom, hybrid and garden variety tomatoes.

There will be walks through the tomato rows, as well, so lovers of the tomatoes can see them growing up close.

It’s there that you get that delicious aroma, that translates itself to tomato sauce.

“If you rub a leaf with your fingers, you get some of that nice smell,” Kirschner said.

There will be more than a tasting and a tour. People who attend are encouraged to bring the largest tomato from their own garden, to win a prize for the biggest homegrown tomato.

The farm’s farm stand will also be open that day, so that event-goers can partake of other vegetables grown there, as well.

The farm’s harvest this year includes about 160 cherry tomato plants, 160 hybrid plants, and 160 heirloom plants.

The vine-ripened tomatoes are sold, along with all the other vegetables grown at the farm including beans, potatoes and carrots, at farmers’ markets, the farm stand, and to various restaurants in the region.

Weather, the balance of sunshine and rain, has to be right for the tomatoes to mature to their sweetest and juiciest. They don’t like a lot of rain once the fruit has begun to grow, Kirshner said. A wet year often translates into a bad year.

“It’s too soon to know what kind of year we’re having just yet, but it’s been wet,” he said.

Tomatoes are a food staple, too, because they can be canned and jarred and made into sauce that lasts through the winter months.

There may be nothing like a fresh tomato straight from the vine, though.

“I only eat them when they are in season, never out of season,” Kirschner said.

For more information on the event, contact Laura Cady from the farm at laura@amblerfarm.org.