UC Davis’ signature organic roasted tomato sauce — served to thousands in our dining halls — begins right here.
Roma tomatoes grow at the campus’s Russell Ranch Agricultural Facility, where they help researchers study farming in a Mediterranean climate.
When the tomatoes themselves say they’re ripe and ready, they are handpicked.
Over two weeks, 10,000 pounds arrive at the Culinary Support Center on campus for processing.
They help make up the 23 percent of food that Dining Services buys from local and sustainable growers and producers.
Chef Bob Walden gets a batch of tomatoes ready for a bubbly bath.
The tomatoes are clean now.
Next up … a giant oven at 450 degrees.
Racks of trays turn slowly for up to an hour.
Chef, right, and Arnulfo Herrera, a cook, show off the roasted goodness.
The tomatoes have burst open. They’ve released their natural juices and sugars.
After the tomatoes are pureed, Herrera helps package the liquid.
The kitchen mixes some 4,400 pounds of roasted tomatoes with basil, olive oil, garlic and red wine to make 700 gallons of sauce.
That sauce and 5,600 pounds of the puree — for later sauce making — are stored and frozen.
Over the year, students enjoy about 20 servings each in a variety of menu items.