Shop local: why USA tomato products reign supreme

Shop local: why USA tomato products reign supreme

When you shop local, you support the local community, reduce your carbon footprint, and get higher-quality products. From transportation woes to budgetary advantages, here’s why USA tomato products reign supreme. 

Did you know you vote with your food dollars? Every time you visit a grocery store or order food at a restaurant, you have the opportunity to voice which products and companies you want to support. From organic offerings to budget-friendly prices, your purchases speak for themselves and will ultimately help determine if the quality of products will improve or not.

This doesn’t just stop here–it also extends to the product’s country of origin. Where your food comes from has a major impact on the quality of food, the local economy, and farmers who grow it. When you shop local, you can positively impact the environment and even your wallet. 

Here’s why you should consider prioritizing USA grown tomato-based products, and how your purchases can make a difference. 

Sustainable choices

Surveys show that 77% of Americans consider sustainability when making food purchases. Some reasons for this include:

  • desire to protect and preserve the environment
  • better quality/taste
  • show their support for companies who are doing the right thing
  • healthier products

Sustainable food doesn’t just come from packaging–it also stems from transportation costs and where the product was originally grown.

For instance, tomatoes grown overseas have to be transported to America, which incurs overseas transport, more fossil fuel usage, and ultimately a larger carbon footprint. Compare that to tomato products grown in the USA: you get to save on transportation costs, lower your carbon footprint, and still get the same quality compared to those grown anywhere in the world. It’s a win-win situation! Plus, you know food safety, worker safety and regulations in the USA are very different from other countries that are not taking care of their land or their workers. You can dig deeper into this here. 

Don’t fall prey to marketing hypes

Have you heard someone say that they need to pay more for Italian tomatoes because they are more exotic? Don’t fall prey to this train of thought! USA grown tomatoes are just as high of quality as those from Italy, and may even be better, especially considering that the economical and environmental benefits are much higher.  

Fun fact: Did you know that USA grown tomatoes have won numerous blind taste tests against those from Italy? Check out this video to see how tomatoes from America stack up against Italian ones!  

How can you shop local?

You can shop local by supporting those who grow your food. After all, the best way to thank a farmer is to buy from them! They work incredibly hard every day to bring you the highest quality canned tomato products. Plus, farmers give their best effort to preserve the soil and keep their manufacturing as climate friendly as possible.

When you make your choice at the grocery store, you essentially decide who you will support: Either American farms and the communities they support, or foreign countries where you don’t know about their oversight, food safety, worker and health regulations, and often an inferior product.

Check out this video to learn more about our hardworking tomato farmers in the US. 

Summary

Keeping it local is the way to go. Supporting our USA farmers has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint associated with transporting the product into the United States. This may seem small but the more times we make the choice to keep our purchases local, the better the effects will be on the environment down the road. By doing this, you will also be pouring back into your community and supporting local initiatives to reduce waste and protect the environment. So the next time you are craving a dish that requires canned tomatoes, shop local! 

Check out these other articles on why USA-grown tomatoes reign supreme:

Canned Tomato Challenge: San Marzano vs. USA
The Fake Rolex of Canned Foods
Why Buying USA-Grown Tomato Products Matters

TPWC Member Highlight: Ingomar Packing Company

TPWC Member Highlight: Ingomar Packing Company

Get the scoop on Tomato Wellness member, Ingomar Packing Company. We are proud to have this company as part of the Tomato Wellness Family and read to the end to see how in one of the worst droughts California has ever seen, they have figured out how to grow their own water!

Ingomar Packing Company is known as a premium supplier of industrial tomato products. Operating out of Los Banos, CA, they now have two processing facilities to ensure the consistency in producing high quality tomato products. Their tomato products include tomato paced and diced tomatoes which are world-renowned for their premium quality and taste.

What makes this organization so special is their continued support for their local community, their close attention to customer needs and their emphasis on environmental sustainability. Their business model highly relies on the local relationships they have with tomato growers. This relationship allows for community support and direct communication concerning the farm to processing procedure.

Each customized process guarantees that people receive their desired level of consistency and quality of diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Throughout the process, field, production, and QA teams ensure the utmost color, flavor, and texture of the tomatoes, which make them a perfect ingredient base in a wide array of products. 

The attention to detail can also be traced back to the equipment that is used for processing, as the needs of the customer are taken into consideration when packing every order. In 2010, Ingomar Packing Company established an initiative to cut back on waste products and pollutants to protect the environment and continue to stay mindful of their environmental impact. They installed solar panels and have a system to minimize overall water waste. 

And maybe most exciting of all, they have partnerd with an Australian company to extract the water from the tomatoes to be purified, repurposed and made available as drinking water! In a time where we are all facing historic drought condifitions, this is a monumental breakthrough. Watch this video to learn more! 

We absolutely adore Ingomar Packing Company and their passion for their community and their products. Try one of their tomato products in some of our favorite recipes!

Walnut and Mushroom Ragu
Sausage Tortellini Soup
Huevos Rancheros
Greek Style Braised Eggplant

Go Red for Movember!

Go Red for Movember!

Canned tomatoes can be a great benefit to men’s health. Go red for Movember and learn more about the power of tomatoes in our battle against prostate cancer.

It’s Movember – which means during the month of November, we are bringing awareness to men’s health. According to the Movember website, approximately 10.8 million men across the globe have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. That does not even include other health implications like testitular cancer and men’s suicide.

The Movember organization has many ways to support the movement of men’s health and the research involved in the fight against cancer. You can grow a mustache and start a fundraiser of your own, build a team and run/walk 60 miles in the month, or host an event to raise money for the cause. You can also take the fight into your own hands by building a lifestyle that benefits your overall health. Did someone say, eat more canned tomatoes? Let’s dive into the risks of cancer, why tomatoes are important for cancer prevention, and how you can go red for Movember. 

What increases your risk of cancer? 

While cancer can develop as a result of age or family genetics, there are also other potential factors that can be avoided or reduced. Some of the most studied risk factors for cancer are age related risk, alcohol, chronic inflammation, tobacco use, obesity, diet and cancer causing substances. The National Cancer Institute suggests that limiting your exposure to some of these lifestyle behaviors and maintaining a healthy weight can help to lower your risk of developing certain cancers. Diet can be incredibly impactful and a focus on choosing foods rich in antioxidants and vegetables has been associated with reducing cancer risk [1]. In fact, tomatoes, especially canned tomatoes, are a very popular source of antioxidants rich with beta-carotene and lycopene [2]. 

Tomatoes have a powerful team. 

Tomatoes have an incredible team of nutrients to provide our bodies with cancer fighting benefits. They are full of antioxidants which are known for their ability to neutralize free-radicals. It is possible for the body to create some antioxidants, but for the most part you have to get your antioxidants from food sources [1].

The antioxidants that are present in tomatoes are lycopene, beta-carotene and vitamin C [4]. This team of nutrients is what leads scientists to believe that tomatoes can be impactful in the fight against cancer. 

Fun fact: the red color of tomatoes is due to its lycopene content.

Canned tomato products like pizza sauce, ketchup, tomato paste, and tomato soup possess a more bioavailable form of lycopene due to the processing of these products [3]. This means that our bodies are better able to absorb these nutrients. While more studies are needed, lycopene has been associated with up to a 40% reduction of risk of aggressive prostate cancer [3]. Interestingly, one study showed that eating 2-4 servings of tomato sauce per week reduced the risk of prostate cancer by one-third [3].

Creative ways to go red for Movember

If you’re looking to add more canned tomatoes into your meal routine, we have you covered! Here are some of our favorite ways to use this produce item. 

 

Learn more about Movember with these resources:

References:

  1. National Cancer Institute – Risks for Cancer, November 9, 2022 from https://www.cancer.gov
  2. National Cancer Institute – Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention, November 9, 2022 from https://www.cancer.gov
  3. A Review of Epidemiologic Studies of Tomatoes, Lycopene, and Prostate Cancer. Experimental Biology and Medicine, November 9, 2022 from doi:10.1177/15353702022270100
  4. Healthline – Tomatoes, November 10, 2022 from https://www.healthline.com

 

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

Canned tomatoes in the kitchen

Canned tomatoes in the kitchen

The end of summer is not the end of tomato season. Canned tomatoes ensure that you can enjoy all of those wonderful tomato recipes (and health benefits) year round! 

Tomatoes are a versatile produce item that many people have in their kitchens. And for good reason! Tomatoes are teeming with health benefits (since they provide antioxidants in the form of lycopene, beta-carotene, and vitamin C) which can help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. They are also great to use in a variety of meals and snacks! 

While fresh tomatoes may be available year-round, they are only in season during the summer months. So, if you’re looking to get that fresh summer tomato flavor all year ’round, canned tomatoes are a fantastic option! Canned and jarred 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).

While you can used canned tomatoes in soups and chilis, here are some other ideas of how to use them in the kitchen.

1. Make salsa. During the summer months, it’s usually fresh tomatoes that find their way into salsas. As the seasons change, they may not be available (or might be too expensive). Luckily, canned tomatoes work just as well, are less expensive, and offer more health benefits! Check out this recipe for a delicious homemade salsa.

2. Homemade marinara. Skip the store bought options and make your own! A homemade sauce will be lower in sodium and a lot more flavorful. The best part is that you can adjust seasonings to fit your personal taste!

3. Add some variety to your dips. The addition of tomatoes can make an ordinary dip extraordinary. We love the unexpected flavor combination in this Tomato Pesto Hummus.

4. Add it to a quiche. Fresh tomatoes are delicious sliced on top of a quiche, but you can achieve the same flavor using canned tomatoes. Try out this quiche recipe for your next brunch.

5. Use it when cooking grains. Substitute diced tomatoes (along with the juice) for water when cooking rice or quinoa. It will add flavor and nutritional value.

What are your favorite ways to use canned tomatoes in the kitchen? Let us know!