TPWC Member Highlight: Kagome

TPWC Member Highlight: Kagome

Get the scoop on Tomato Wellness member, Kagome. We are proud to have them on board as part of the tomato community!

Kagome may have started small, but they have increased their reach to have a collaboration with growers, partners and customers to cultivate a passion for food that now spans the globe. While they produce a colorful variety of fruit and vegetable products, they have never strayed from founder Ichitaro Kanie’s principles of making great tasting foods that are true to nature.

The term “Kagome” translates to basket weave pattern in Japanese which is a reference to the lattice baskets used to harvest produce. Kanie first began growing Western crops, including tomatoes in 1899, and started producing purees and sauces a few years later. In 1989, Kagome opened for business in Los Banos California, and emphasized creating customized sauces for U.S. restaurants. In 1993, they expanded to include an internal research and development center and have continued to expand their reach and offerings. Kagome now operates 15 facilities in 10 countries offering a wide variety of products.

Kagome utilizes current agricultural research to increase the overall quality of their crops and improve the efficiency of their production process. Along with this they put an emphasis on creating unique and flavorful sauces by bringing a chef into their research and development team. Their products include pizza and pasta sauce, salsa, BBQ sauce, cocktail sauce, along with a variety of Asian sauces and other flavor enhancing toppings.

The Kagome Way

This is an all-encompassing phrase that they use to describe the pride they have in the company. They value customers, long-term relationships, elite quality, food safety, and commitment to their communities. Their team displays respect, passion, grit, teamwork and commitment every day, and holds themselves to the highest standards. Watch this video to learn more.

Welcome a piece of Kagome into your home by trying a few of their tasty recipes.

https://kagomeusa.com/ahi-tuna-tostadas/
https://kagomeusa.com/shrimp-linguini/

TPWC Member Highlight: Pacific Coast Producers

TPWC Member Highlight: Pacific Coast Producers

Get the scoop on TPWC member, Pacific Coast Producers. We are proud to have this family-run company as part of the tomato community!

Pacific Coast Producers started in 1971 with their first location in Lodi, California. Since then they have expanded their company, and offerings, with locations across the entire Pacific Coast. They were founded by farmers as an agricultural cooperative. Their passion for growing quality crops allows them to work with other farmers that share the same values. Pacific Coast Producers have made it their mission to meet the brand requirements of their customers, while providing world class service at a competitive price.

Pacific Coast Producers make a variety of canned fruit products, along with an entire line of tomato goods. Their tomatoes are offered as whole, diced, crushed, or pureed, as well as pizza sauce, marinara, salsa, enchilada sauce. Along with several products to choose from, they also have organic products, ensuring that every customer has what they need to be successful in their own business.

The majority of tomato growers are in the Woodlake and Los Banos areas of California and 95% of their tomatoes are grown within a 17 mile radius of the Woodlake processing plant. This close proximity allows them to make quality tomato products at peak freshness. It can take less than 24 hours to take a tomato from a vine in the field to a finished product ready for use.

At Tomato Wellness, we help with their annual Registered Dietitian Tour every year, but because of the lockdown, you can now get to experience the tour virtual: The Heart of California Tour 2020

Here are just a few recipes highlighting their quality products.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Polenta and Steam Peeled Tomatoes
Vegan California Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing

TPWC Member Highlight: Stanislaus Foods

TPWC Member Highlight: Stanislaus Foods

Get the scoop on Tomato Wellness member, Stanislaus Foods. We are proud to have this family-run company as part of the tomato community!

Stanislaus Foods has been a landmark in the central valley of California for 80 years. In 1942, they first opened their doors in the heart of Modesto, California. They take pride in offering high-quality tomato products to chefs and Italian restaurants throughout the country. Their lineup includes a variety of options from whole peeled and diced tomatoes, purees, and pastes to fully prepared pizza and pasta sauces.

“You can’t make good wine from bad grapes,” is a motto that the Cortopassi’s stand by in their effort to make great-tasting tomato products. They took the values instilled from their Italian parents and grandparents. Hard work, doing your best, not cutting corners, and keeping your word are just a few of the “real Italian” values they brought into their business. As a family-owned business, they make it a point to work with farmers who share their passion and beliefs. 

 

To ensure consistency in their products, each load of tomatoes is evaluated to determine key flavor characteristics. Their Raw Product Lab is unique to Stanislaus Foods and allows them to make necessary adjustments to continue to offer the same great-tasting product in each and every can. We are OBSESSED with their Basil Room! It’s always our favorite part of their tour. 

Welcome a piece of the Cortopassi family into your home by trying one of their traditional Italian recipes.

Lala Ethel’s Sugo Genovese
Salsa di Cipolle e Capperi
Sugo alla Melanzana

Healthy Skin Starts with…Tomatoes?

Healthy Skin Starts with…Tomatoes?

Could the secret to glowing, healthy skin be sitting in your kitchen pantry? Read on to learn more about what science has to say about lycopene and skin health.

Canned (and jarred) tomatoes are full of bioactive compounds such as polyphenols, carotenoids (like lycopene), and other vitamins. While some can be isolated and taken as a supplement, they are most effective when they come directly from foods. In their most natural form, the compounds work together, and have been shown to protect and promote healthy skin (1).

Lycopene has antioxidative properties, and while tomatoes contain a high concentration of this carotenoid, heating them during canning increases the bioavailability. In the body, the highest concentration of lycopene is found in the skin tissues, and studies have shown that regular consumption of lycopene rich foods such as tomato products can increase the serum lycopene levels as well as procollagen I. These studies also indicated a decrease in mitochondrial DNA damage (1). Beyond lycopene, tomatoes also contain vitamins A, C, and E, which decrease inflammation and protect from UV light.

Looking for ways to get that healthy glow with tomato products? Check out these recipes: 

Greek Style Braised Eggplant
Crockpot Chicken Burrito Bowl
One Pan Chicken Cacciatore

References:

  1. Fam, V., Charoenwoodhipong, P., Sivamani, R., Holt, R., Keen, C., & Hackman, R. (2022). Plant-Based Foods for Skin Health: A Narrative Review. Journal Of The Academy Of Nutrition And Dietetics, 122(3), 614-629. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2021.10.024
Correlation between canned tomatoes and cancer prevention

Correlation between canned tomatoes and cancer prevention

There are a number of health benefits that come from the regular consumption of tomatoes and tomato products. Here’s what science has to say about the correlation between canned tomatoes and cancer prevention.

Cancer is a global health concern, and a leading cause of death worldwide. Billions of dollars are spent annually on cancer research, and a significant number of those studies focus on the effects of certain compounds found in food and their cancer prevention properties. The bioactive compounds of plant based foods have been thoroughly examined, with an emphasis on carotenoids and phenolic compounds.

One of the most potent antioxidants out there is called lycopene, which is the powerful pigment responsible for giving tomatoes their bright red color. It can also neutralize reactive oxidative species, and prevent damage to our cell’s DNA. According to several scientific studies, people who consume more tomato products have a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer, likely due to the powerful combination of lycopene, vitamin A, and vitamin C that occurs naturally in tomatoes. Along with being an antioxidant, lycopene can promote cancer cell apoptosis (ie. death), and interfere with cell signaling pathways to prevent cancerous cells from reproducing.

While fresh tomatoes are relatively high in lycopene, the compound becomes more bioavailable as tomatoes are cooked, meaning your body can absorb more and take advantage of its anti-cancer properties. Why is this? Heat changes the structure of the lycopene molecule, making it easier for the body to take in, and helps break down cell walls, which frees lycopene and allows it to be absorbed.  A recent study found that men who ate cooked tomatoes five to six times per week had a 28% decreased risk of developing prostate cancer versus those who didn’t. Eating tomato products such as tomato sauce, tomato juice, tomato soup, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and salsa is a great way to ensure you are getting in plenty of cancer-fighting lycopene.

To get the most out of your canned tomato products, try adding a little bit of oil to your tomatoes, as this can boost your ability to absorb lycopene even more. This is because lycopene is a fat-soluble compound, and the fat in oil helps lycopene get broken down to a form usable by the body. A serving of whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce and a side salad with olive oil and vinegar is the perfect prostate-cancer-preventing meal!

Looking for ways to power up your lycopene intake? Check out these recipes:

Ratatouille
One Pan Chicken Cacciatore
Eggplant Moussaka

Is fresh really best? Here’s why canned tomatoes reign supreme.

Is fresh really best? Here’s why canned tomatoes reign supreme.

Is fresh really best? Despite some common misconceptions, canned goods (like tomatoes) can be a more delicious, nutritious, and a more affordable option compared to their fresh counterparts. Here’s why you should consider adding some canned (or jarred) tomatoes to your grocery list.

Many people may be under the belief that while canned foods are convenient, they are lacking in nutrients. But is this thought process really true? Let’s break down the difference between fresh and canned tomatoes to see which one comes out on top.

Fresh Tomatoes

Tomatoes pack many beneficial health compounds–such as fiber and vitamins A and C–that are important for a healthy heart, as well as eyes, skin, and gums. Tomatoes also contain a powerful antioxidant and pigment called lycopene, which lends tomatoes their bright red color and contributes to heart health and cancer prevention.

While they may be available year-round, fresh tomatoes are often shipped over long distances in the winter or grown in heated greenhouses. It can take up to two weeks from field to fork to get fresh tomatoes when they are out of season, and they certainly won’t taste as good. While fresh tomatoes can add a flavorful bite to many dishes, they are best when they are in season. However, if you don’t have a garden and have to purchase fresh tomatoes, you might want to reserve them for dishes in which this texture really makes a difference (such as salads and sandwiches), as there’s no need to use fresh in dishes that feature cooked tomatoes.

Canned Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes are harvested at their flavor and nutrition peak and canned within just a few hours. Plus, they are quite affordable, meaning that this is a budget-friendly, easy, and convenient option for you and your family.

In addition to the affordability of canned tomatoes, they are rich in vitamins and minerals your body needs to function properly and can help boost energy and reduce the risk of certain diseases. In fact, studies have shown that canned tomatoes are even more nutrient-rich and environmentally-friendly than fresh tomatoes. And, as people continue to cook from the comfort of their own homes, canned tomatoes have grown in popularity thanks to their ease of use, high nutrition content, and a variety of forms (like tomato sauce, tomato paste, marinara sauce, salsa, and diced, stewed and whole tomatoes). Since fresh tomatoes can cost more–especially during the fall/winter/spring–you’re better off using canned/jarred tomato products for dishes in which the texture of fresh isn’t important, such as pasta dishes, pizza, lasagnas, curry, soups, stews, and casseroles and you want that PEAK of season flavor and nutrition.

What’s the verdict?

While fresh tomatoes can be eaten throughout the year, they are at their peak during summer; as such, it can be challenging to enjoy their ripeness during fall, winter, and spring. Conversely, canned tomatoes can be enjoyed all year round as an affordable, nutritious option that consistently delivers those delicious summer flavors whenever you need them. 

Use this guide from Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN to help determine when it’s the right time to use canned or fresh tomatoes.

  Fresh Canned
Cost 1.98 per pound, on vine organic* .98 per 14.4oz can diced tomatoes**
Local Seasonality (U.S.) Summer Harvesting during the summer; available year-round
Flavor Firm, plump, juicy, mild. Changes from one tomato to another.  Consistency! Higher concentration of flavor similar or sometimes better than fresh tomatoes based on the variety of tomato used and processing procedures
Cooking Suitability SaladsSandwiches

Salsas

Roasted

Grilled

Baked

Kebabs

Bruschetta

 

SoupsPastas

Salsas

Pizzas

Baked pasta dishes

Marinades

Chili

Curries

Stews
Pizza

Casseroles

Convenience Wash, slice, and dice as needed Open can and mix into dishes
*Based on price data, May 25, 2017, Walmart.com**Based on price data for Hunt’s, May 24, 2017, Walmart.com

 

Learn more about why dietitians loved canned tomatoes with these articles:

Why Dietitians Won’t Bash Canned Tomatoes
Tomatoes: Fresh vs. Canned