Chef Neil Fusco recently visited southern Italy, the home of the famous San Marzano tomato. He visited many of his cousins, aunts, and uncles who still live in the Campania region, working as farmers and living off the land. Many of those farms provide the tomatoes for our Cucina Antica cooking sauces. Many of the other hardworking farmers who provide tomatoes for our sauces have known Chef Neil since he was a little boy.
He was able to speak with many of the farmers and to join with them in their daily work. Though it’s hard work, with many hours spent in the hot sun, bending over the earth, all of the farmers expressed a love for what they do. They put their heart and soul into their farming, so that not one tomato is overlooked, and every jar of sauce maintains its premium quality.
Following are some images from Chef Neil’s trip. In the background of several of the images you can see Mount Vesuvius. It is the volcanic ash of the region that enables the San Marzano tomato to grow so well and to exhibit its extraordinary flavor. You can’t find tomatoes like these anywhere else in the world. The ancient Romans used to call the valley around Mount Vesuvius “Campania Felix,” which means “happy valley,” because of the abundance of crops it produced. You can see that happiness today not only in the abundance of crops but also in the farmers and their families.
All of these tomatoes are picked by hand by the farmers, so when you open any jar of Cucina Antica cooking sauce, you can be certain of where its ingredients came from, and of the love of those who planted, grew, harvested, and packaged them for your table.
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