UC Davis Today

  • Two hands holding two tomatoes

    UC Davis’ signature organic roasted tomato sauce — served to thousands in our dining halls — begins right here.

  • Aerial view of Russell Ranch fields

    Roma tomatoes grow at the campus’s Russell Ranch Agricultural Facility, where they help researchers study farming in a Mediterranean climate.

  • Three workers hand picking tomatoes

    When the tomatoes themselves say they’re ripe and ready, they are handpicked.

  • Bins of ripe, red tomatoes

    Over two weeks, 10,000 pounds arrive at the Culinary Support Center on campus for processing.

  • One hand reaches to offer a tomato to another hand

    They help make up the 23 percent of food that Dining Services buys from local and sustainable growers and producers.

  • A man in a chef's coat reaches to turn on a machine filled with tomatoes.

    Chef Bob Walden gets a batch of tomatoes ready for a bubbly bath.

  • A closeup of tomatoes floating in water

    The tomatoes are clean now.

  • A chef standing in front of large stainless steel ovens where tomatoes are roasting

    Next up … a giant oven at 450 degrees.

  • Closeup of stacked trays of roasted tomatoes in the oven.

    Racks of trays turn slowly for up to an hour.

  • A chef and male cook with a tray of roasted tomatoes

    Chef, right, and Arnulfo Herrera, a cook, show off the roasted goodness.

  • A closeup of the tray of roasted tomatoes

    The tomatoes have burst open. They’ve released their natural juices and sugars.

  • The cook and another worker filling plastic bags with tomato puree.

    After the tomatoes are pureed, Herrera helps package the liquid.

  • Pitchers of wine and olive oil with garlic and basil around them

    The kitchen mixes some 4,400 pounds of roasted tomatoes with basil, olive oil, garlic and red wine to make 700 gallons of sauce.

  • Worker handling food racks in a cold food bank.

    That sauce and 5,600 pounds of the puree — for later sauce making — are stored and frozen.

  • A big white bowl of pasta with tomato sauce

    Over the year, students enjoy about 20 servings each in a variety of menu items.

Pasta sauce for student meals

Trays of roma tomatoes in a cart in a kitchen

Evelyn Padilla/UC Davis
(43 sec)

Saucy and sustainable

By Julia Ann Easley

Our recipe’s quantities for turning our homegrown tomatoes into sauce might surprise you: 4,400 pounds of tomatoes, 343 pounds of garlic, 35 pounds of basil — and volumes of olive oil and red wine (those amounts are known only to the chef).

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