In the plastic tunnel above the Trials Field Mario de Pace from the Trials Department has been looking after cherry tomatoes over the summer. These tomatoes are still cropping now and are being harvested at intervals for display at the shows at Malvern, Vincent Square in London, and soon for our Taste of Autumn event at Wisley.
Tasting is part of the assessment here, with the Vegetable Trials Subcommittee being the lucky tasters, although other criteria also come into play.
Mario has used an instrument called a refractometer to test sugar levels in the fruit, measured in units called Brix. Other crops where sweetness is a key characteristic such as grapes and pumpkins are often tested this way. Out of interest, it is generally accepted that a 'cherry' tomato is 35mm or less in diameter, although it can be flexible and EU rules may change this in the future.
Several were recommended for the Award of Garden Merit including favourites like 'Sungold', 'Piccolo' and 'Sakura'.