Tomatoes (Ep.4)


EPISODE (23:56)
Commercial tomato production in North America has strategically evolved to accommodate our appetite for fresh tomatoes 365 days a year. What are the impacts of these demands and how might we foster more personal relationships with this iconic food? Featuring Chef Mark Picone – Canadian Food and Wine Institute at Niagara College, Ann Powell – University of California, Davis, Bradley Gates – Wild Boar Farm, Jeff Dolan – DiMare Fresh, Linda Crago – Tree and Twig Heirloom Vegetables, Rod MacRae – York University, JoAnn Lowell, and others.


The Life of a California Field Tomato (4:48)
Tomatoes grown in North America come from one of three primary sectors (Greenhouse, Processing and Field). Deconstructing Dinner visits a field tomato supplier in California to learn about the life of a field tomato – from farm to plate.


The Life of a Processing Tomato (4:11)
Of all the tomatoes grown in North America, almost 90% of them are processing tomatoes – destined to become sauce, paste, ketchup, juice, soup and salsa. In the United States 96% of processing tomatoes are grown in California and Morning Star is one company which handles about 40% of the California crop. Deconstructing Dinner follows a processing tomato from field to plate.


Inside a Modern Greenhouse (4:52)
On the shelves of the supermarket, it’s becoming increasingly common to find produce grown inside greenhouses which utilize hydroponic technologies. This sector of the food system extends the harvest season and responds to the demands of eaters who wish to eat certain foods year-round. Deconstructing Dinner visits one of the largest of these facilities in North America.


The Problem With Redundant Trade (4:33)
Every day, food is transported across the country and across borders, criss-crossing the entire continent. But over time, this movement of food has evolved to a point where every day trucks with the very same food are passing each other going opposite directions. This, is called redundant trade and using greenhouse tomatoes as an example, Rod MacRae of York University in Toronto, describes this common occurrence.


In the Kitchen: Ketchup with Chef Mark Picone (3:44)
Ketchup is the quintessential condiment found in most home refrigerators and restaurants. Imagine the impact on the food system if we all made our own! Chef Mark Picone and students at Niagara College demonstrate just how easy it is to take advantage of the season’s bounty and prepare a full year’s supply of ketchup.


In the Kitchen: Roasted Tomato Soup with Chef Mark Picone (5:04)
Preparing homemade soup is an excellent way to enjoy a local harvest. Soups are also easily preserved through canning or freezing and Chef Mark Picone shares a household favorite.


In The Kitchen: Canning Tomatoes with Chef Mark Picone (3:25)
In an effort to eat seasonally and preserve the bounty and flavour of a local heirloom tomato harvest, Niagara College chef-instructor Mark Picone preserves tomatoes in their own juice for the coming year and teaches young chefs the art of canning.


Restaurant Profile: Niagara College and Benchmark Restaurant (4:42)
Chefs play an important role in helping shape food systems abroad. For many chefs, that role is established early on at one of the many culinary schools found across North America. The Canadian Food & Wine Institute at Niagara College is an example of one school where students are encouraged to question the origins of the ingredients they use.



  1. Slow Roasted Heirloom Tomato and Garlic Soup
  2. Heirloom Tomato Ketchup
  3. Heirloom Tomato Conserve
  4. Watermelon and Heirloom Tomato Salad