In September, the Weis Dietitians had the opportunity to spend a day learning about Furmano’s Tomatoes with a tour of a local farm and their processing plant. Furmano’s is a fourth generation, family-owned tomato grower and processor. All of their tomato products (beans and vegetables too!) are packed in Northumberland, Pennsylvania at the plant that grew from JW and Emma Furman’s farm.
We started the day by visiting one of Furmano’s local family tomato farms where we were treated to a beautiful field of red, ripe tomatoes as far as the eyes could see.
Eighty percent of Furmano’s tomatoes are grown in Pennsylvania, no more than an hour and a half away from the plant, with some farms being just 20 minutes away. The rest of their tomatoes are grown on farms in NJ, DE and MD that are within a four-hour truck drive from the plant. The close proximity of the farms to the plant allows the tomatoes to be canned within just hours of harvest for the freshest flavor in every can.
While on the farm, we learned about the farmer’s care of the fields, harvesting process, crop rotation strategy, ideal tomato-growing weather conditions, types of tomatoes grown by Furmano’s and more. We also got to experience firsthand what it’s like to ride on the Pik Rite harvester that picks and sorts the tomato plants, discarding stems, rocks and debris before the their arrival at the plant.
Following our adventure on the harvester, plus some fresh tomato sampling, we traveled back to the plant where the trailer of freshly-picked tomatoes from the field had just arrived! Upon arrival at the plant, the first stop for the tomatoes was a quality control check to ensure that their color, quality, weight and ripeness met specifications. From there, the tomatoes were unloaded from the trailers and passed through water channels to ensure they are free from damage and bruising. The tomatoes are then washed multiple times, peeled, crushed, diced, or left whole, flavored (when applicable) and canned — locking in vitamins, minerals and flavor. The entire canning process from start to finish takes just four minutes! This highly efficient harvesting and canning process is the reason that Furmano’s Tomatoes taste summer-ripe all year-round.
After our tour was complete, we were treated to a delicious and very creative lunch that was prepared by the Furmano’s chef, Paul Burkholder. We all agreed that the white bean ‘snickers’ dessert was mouthwatering! Who knew you could turn beans into dessert? We also shared some of our favorite ways to use Furmano’s Tomatoes, including their new Chili Style Diced Tomatoes with Ancho Chili and Cumin, Salsa Style Petite Diced Tomatoes with Spicy Green Chilies and Lime and Petite Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies. These new varieties and all of their tomatoes are the perfect recipe-ready solution to use in salsa, soups, stews, pasta, Tex-Mex rice or in any one of these Weis Dietitian-developed Healthy Bites recipes:
Seeing all of the moving parts in action really brought their tomato business to life and there was no denying the incredible passion that Furmano’s has for producing only the highest quality product in every single can.
To learn more about Furmano’s Tomatoes, visit their website at furmanos.com.
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