By Mike Lauterborn

Crops from the local harvest are ripening, and tomatoes -- for many, the favorite crop -- were celebrated for their seasonal succulence at a special program Saturday at the Fairfield Woods Branch Library.

Gardening enthusiasts from around town converged on the library to display and taste each other's homegrown tomatoes for the event. More than two dozen varieties of tomatoes were on hand for sampling and growing tips.

"This is kind of the kickoff of the 45th anniversary of the library and goes along with our Seed Library, which enables community residents to check out organic seeds to plant in their home gardens," explained Deputy Town Librarian Nancy Coriaty. "The event was inspired by local gardeners' enthusiasm about their efforts. This celebrates that while allowing people to see what each is doing."

Eric Frisk, a master gardener and featured speaker at the event, said that this year's tomato harvest, in comparison to last year's, has been "a good crop ... though it arrived later than last year because of lasting cold weather in the spring.

"Last year, we had a very hot June which kicked things off earlier then," he said. "Now, with this hot September, this year's season is getting extended."

Yota Angelopoulos of Fairfield brought her home-grown Heart Tomatoes for judging, one of them weighing nearly 2 pounds. "You can use tomatoes in so many different ways," she said. "I make sauces, stuffed tomatoes, Greek salad with feta cheese and olives and homemade pizza."