In most of the country, the tomato harvest for 2021 is underway! Keep an eye out for those tomato trucks running 24/7 to rush the tomatoes from the field to the canneries to be sealed in cans and jars within hours, locking in the flavor and nutrition of summer!

Where our food comes from has a huge impact, not only on the quality of the food we eat but on our local economy and the farmers who grow our food. When it comes to farming, the tomatoes are picked at their flavor and nutrition peakโ€”unlike fresh tomatoes that make their way to the supermarket, which are picked about 2 weeks before they are ripe. With tomatoes destined for cans and jars, the farmers pay careful attention to their daily progress, waiting for the tomatoes to be perfectly ripe before they harvest them. The tomato harvester runs through the tomato fields when the tomatoes are perfectly ripe. They pull up the plants and collect the tomatoes, while kicking out the stems and leaves, which will be turned over as organic mulch for the field. Itโ€™s a very efficient system that saves back-breaking work for farmworkers.

Thatโ€™s why buying USA grown tomatoes matters! The farmers that grow our food are struggling with a detrimental lack of water, new regulations and increased costs up and down the supply chain. The people who get hit the hardest are the thousands of family farms and the workers that they employ, and the local economies built around agriculture that struggle to make a living feeding America. 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 with questionable oversight, food safety, worker, and health regulations, and often an inferior product. When you buy USA-grown tomato products, this is who youโ€™re supporting. We want to send a huge thank you to all the farmers out there who spend hours each day planting and harvesting food for us to eat!
Buying USA grown tomatoes will not only support farmers, but they give you a healthy dose of cancer-fighting lycopene as well! The incorporation of lycopene-rich foods, especially tomato-based products, have been shown to boost overall health and reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men. Learn more about the consumption of tomato products in relation to the reduced risk of prostate cancer here.

Knowing where your food comes from (as well as specific health benefits) will help you make more informed choices when it comes to nutrition and sustainability. After all, what you put on your fork matters! 
"So God made a Farmer" - Paul Harvey
Is someone cutting onions? This is such an iconic speech about farmers. It's a little outdated (1978) but always reminds us of the special kind of people it takes to build their lives on producing the food that feeds us all. It ain't easy.
3rd generation farmer Jake Barcellos shares how a recent life event has impacted the way he feels about growing tomatoes.
Derek Azevedo discusses the advances at Bowles Farming, a 160-year-old farming operation, and their commitment to be good stewards of the land.
Support Your Favorite Restaurants!
We're still in tough times. The hospitality industry has had so many ups and downs. Please continue to support your favorite restaurants as they try their best to make it through all these challenges. Remember to be patient and kind as they're ironing out the kinks.
Fun New Recipes!
Looking for a healthy, protein-packed recipe for this summer? This Picadillo-Style Beef Stir-Fry is one dish that you donโ€™t want to miss out on! This recipe calls for sirloin steak, potatoes, green bell peppers, tomato sauce, and seasonings galore. It can be served with a warm flour tortilla, hot cooked rice, or refreshing salad with greens.
This nutritious California Walnut Salsa recipe is not only packed with flavor, but it can be prepared in under 10 minutes. This specific salsa recipe also contains roasted red peppers, jalapeno peppers, and toasted walnutsโ€”giving it an extra kick of flavor and crunch. While fresh, chopped tomatoes can be used for salsa, real cooks and chefs will tell you to go canned and jarred for the most consistent delicious flavors all year long!
July RD of The Month: Christy Wilson
Iโ€™ve always been a strong advocate of nutrient-dense foods, whether they are fresh, frozen, dried or canned. Fresh-to-canned foods like tomatoes, are a convenient, budget-friendly, flexible and delicious way to expand the variety of foods we eat in our diet. Going on the Tomato Harvest tour a few years ago really opened up my eyes as to just how quickly (about 4 hours) and efficiently tomatoes go from the farm into the can and that is what locks in that fresh taste and nutrition. You get tomatoes that are picked at their most fresh state and they are ready to use all year long! Canned tomatoes have always been a pantry staple of mine and I always recommend them as a healthy addition to any and all meals. Check out my collection of favorite recipes!

We're keeping it REEL. It's where we're having the most fun these days. Tune in for recipe videos, silly memes and farm/harvest updates.
Spreading Love and Health to the Next Generation with Canned Tomatoes
We all want to keep our families as healthy as possible, now more than ever. For those of you who choose to show love to your family through cooking, keep reading! Cooking our families healthy meals can be an amazing way to keep them healthy as you will be providing a nutritious meal while getting in that much-needed family time. One of my favorite ways to keep my family healthy is to use canned tomatoes in my cooking. There are many rumors online that state that canned vegetables are not as healthy as fresh and are not a good option, but I am here to set the record straight! Not only are canned tomatoes delicious, but they are a sustainable option that is great to support heart health.

Stay well Tomato Lovers!
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