An Inside Look
Looking for deep red flesh… and we found it.
Chris gets down, pulling back the vines, to check for sunburned skins or raw underbellies. We find rich deposits of perfectly ripe tomatoes, huddled together, protecting each other from the sun. Although some tomatoes are not quite ready, the harvest proceeds. The entire plant is mechanically lifted, the fruits shaken free, and loaded into trucks. But no tomato goes to waste, the still green ones are returned to the fields as compost.
A Place in the Sun
Eric of the Olam tomato cannery, where these tomatoes are destined before meeting your pizza, meets us in the field to see just how gorgeous the tomatoes are this season.
Our Guest Chef
Seriously, what’s not to smile about?
Here's a closer look at what a lift of the leaves revealed.
Keep on Truckin’
Miles of trucks fill the highways during the harvest. But not all tomatoes will make it to the canneries…
…all the highways radiating from Woodland are littered with flyaway tomatoes.
Amid the fields of Williams, CA, the autonomous Olam Tomato Processors factory rises. This location has dedicated machine lines for organic and conventionally grown tomatoes, making it ideal for the uncompromising standard of Bianco DiNapoli.
Open the Cans
Settling into a quite conference room—tomato sorting and canning is noisy business!— we set up for a cutting. The dialog opens into what everyone—but mostly Chris—likes about the previous year’s packs, ensuring these element are maintained.
We break into 2010 and 2011 packs. Even at two years old, the tomatoes are firm and fragrant. We lean in close, the wafting sweetness of fruit filling our noses. We chomp into the two year* marinated flesh, tempered in their own juices, the tomatoes remain succulent. (*Not that a can of Bianco DiNapolis would ever last this long in the real world.)
A Closer Look
The differences between the packs are almost nil, a testament to the consistency maintained year to year. Chris explains that the Bianco DiNapoli is packed in thicker juice then similar tomatoes, with no need to add water or reduce it. Hand crushing “activates” the sauce, releasing the juice and blending the salt and basil.