A disease called late blight is attacking Cheshire gardens causing tomato plants to wilt and the fruit to turn brown.
"This will kill the field tomato plants," said Boulder Knoll farmer Brenda Caldwell. Here's what she wrote in the community farm's newsletter:
"If you find a brownish patch on a tomato, let it ripen and then cut the brown part off. The remaining fruit is perfectly fine to eat. Many other farms in the area are losing their tomato plants too. We are lucky that it has been dry for a while; in wet conditions plants get infected and die very quickly."
Caldwell said she hopes the tomatoes plants in the farm's new high tunnel will stay healthy.
The Connecticut Agricultural Extension Service alerted residents about the appearance of late blight a few weeks ago when it hit the eastern portion of the state. (The brochure is from June and is outdated in that it notes no other outbreaks have been reported).
Here's their notice about the "seasonally emerging" disease:
"It's important to remember that late blight is not like other crop pathogens that affect leaves and stems but not necessarily fruit. Late blight can affect all parts of the plant, including fruit, and can spread rapidly, rendering an entire crop unmarketable and inedible relatively quickly."
The state experts have information in this brochure that should help Cheshire gardeners save some plants and prevent the disease from sticking around to infect next year's crop.