Monday, October 27, 2008

Jersey Fresh Canned Tomatoes

I don't know if the rest of the country views Jersey Tomatoes the way we view them here in New Jersey. In my state, if you've got a vegetable garden, you grow tomatoes. It's what New Jersey soil was made for, or so we're raised to believe here in the garden state. I grew up with my father raving about Jersey Tomatoes. In the summer, he loved to eat thick slices of local tomatoes with a huge dollop of Miracle Whip on them (ya, I know - ewww, but that's how he liked them.)

Earlier this year, six NJ farms pulled together to can their own tomatoes, putting them out under the Jersey Fresh label. All of these farms are from the South Jersey region, but for some reason they initially began to sell the canned crushed tomatoes in North Jersey (and for those of you unfamiliar with NJ, they might as well be two different states). I knew nothing about them until a few weeks ago when they showed up at my local farmer's market. There were some women buying several cans of them so I asked if they had tried them. They said they had, and they were delicious.

I bought a couple of cans and used the product for the first time Sunday night to make eggplant parm. The women at the farmer's market were right. The crushed tomatoes are really good.

According to the press release issued earlier this year
Jersey Fresh Crushed Tomatoes are a premium product. It is made with pure, ripe Jersey Fresh Tomatoes. There is no tomato concentrate, no puree, no citric acid, no water and no sugar. It is all spelled out on the label, and no other major brand can make this claim.
So that's it. Just Jersey tomatoes. Excellent. I get to season them however I want including adding as much or as little salt as I want. I like it.

I like it for another reason, too. As much as I admire people who can their own produce, I'm not sure if it is something that I'm going to learn to do anytime soon. If I were to can my own produce, tomatoes would probably be the first thing I'd do. Now that this product is available, I don't have to can my own. I can support local farmers, my food isn't traveling hundreds or thousands of miles to get to me, and I can have the tomatoes year round. The press release also mentioned that the tomatoes are picked, processed and canned within 24 hours. I would assume that means that they are vine ripened and little or no energy is needed for refrigeration throughout the process.

Supporting local farmers is much more difficult in the winter than it is in the other seasons. I'm really glad I've found a way that I can continue to do it in a small way throughout the whole year.

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jmisgro said...

I hope they find their way over here in PA>

Janine said...

I saw these at the farmers market but haven't bought yet. Any idea if they'll be making their way to South Jersey stores?

Robin Shreeves said...

jmisgro - If they do well here, perhaps they'll find their way across state lines.

Janine - the few articles I read about them said to contact your local grocery store and ask that they stock them. I should probably contact my Wegmans.

Captain Feedback said...

You can order the tomatoes online at I'm not advertising for the site but I'm a jersey boy living in New Orleans and I need my red gravy fix.