From Field to Jar- See How We Make Jovial Tomatoes
We care from seed to shelf. This tag line is printed on jovial products and means that we are directly involved in all aspects of the creation of every jovial product, from the moment the seeds are planted in the fields each year to the time the product arrives at your local store. Each season is a new journey that presents new challenges, but also beautifully fresh raw material that is the foundation to our great-tasting finished products.
Italy is a fantastic place for us to work, because organic farming is small scale and the distances from farm to production are incredibly short. The weather is generally very hot and dry in the summer months and perfect for sweet tomatoes. Climate change over the years has changed weather patterns, and each year our farmers are faced with unexpected challenges. This year, the spring was very warm, with temperature in the 90s as early as April. Our tomato farmers were hoping for a seamless and early July harvest, then the clouds rolled in and the rain came. It was rainy and cold nearly every day in July, putting our crops at risk.
The rainy weather in July was very worrisome for our tomato crop, but thankfully the late July sun was just in time to produce beautifully ripened tomatoes for an August harvest. Many hands touch jovial’s tomatoes before they make it to the jar. The new F-1 hybrid tomatoes that are used in large scale farming produce the deep red tomatoes you might find in a supermarket, the tomatoes that lack flavor and sweetness. They were genetically bred to turn red all at the same time for ease of harvest, but their red appearance does not mean the tomatoes are truly ripe. Our organic tomatoes ripen naturally, so we must sort out the green tomatoes that are harvested with the plant. We only want to pack the tomatoes that are at the perfect stage of ripening, so the tomatoes are sorted three times by hand, once at the fields, then two more times during packing. Until this year, we grew all of our tomatoes on one farm, but to satisfy an increasing demand for our products, we partnered with a handful of small organic local farmers. Each farm is just a few acres in size, family owned, and a stone’s throw from our canning facility.
The tomatoes are sorted upon arrival at the canning facility, then thoroughly washed and gently steamed to remove the peels. We take one last look at them, again sorting out the tomatoes that we do not like by hand. From there, we either crush the tomatoes, cut them in dices, or pack them whole. The process is very similar to what you would do at home, but with the help of machinery. During the crushing and dicing, fresh juices are collected and gently cooked down to a delicious puree that is packed with the tomatoes. This puree is the key to a fantastic finished product because if we packed the whole or diced tomato pieces in the straight juice, they would be watery and you would have to cook them for a long time. Our homemade puree not only prevents waste, it gives your tomato product a wonderfully flavorful base that will save you time in the kitchen.
The glass jars are sanitized with hot water, the tomatoes are packed, then all of the jars are touched one more time by attentive hands that check the seals and stack the tomatoes, where they rest all year until ready to ship. Because we pack everything from fresh, there is a lot of hustling and it’s quite a mad dash to get the year’s supply ready. Some tomato manufacturers add things to their tomatoes like salt, citric acid and calcium chloride. Our tomatoes are packed in glass the old fashioned way, nothing is added because nothing is needed! Now that you’ve seen where your favorite jovial tomatoes come from, you can also share in the delicious aroma that fills our factory in the late summer months every time you pop open a jar of tomatoes in your kitchen.