Pat and I just got back from one my favorite weekends ever. We attended the Eatwell Farm Tomato Sauce Canning Party. I had heard about the party from my friend Kia and I knew we had to attend. It’s really the perfect weekend for Pat and I – cooking, camping and seeing a different part of California!
For just $15, the party includes unlimited organic tomatoes for canning, camping, breakfast and chance to really appreciate where our food comes from. Eatwell Farm is located just west of Sacramento, in Dixon, California. It’s about 90 minutes from San Francisco.
The canning party exists to help use up the farm’s tomato surplus and to get Eatwell’s CSA community out to the farm to learn where their food comes from! It’s a fabulous weekend of new friends and learning. I had never canned tomatoes before, so I was thankful for the experience of some of the other attendees, some of who had been coming every year since the party started seven years ago!
We chose to make Nigel’s easy Naked Tomato Sauce recipe. Essentially you just grind up the whole tomato and simmer the pulp until it reduces by half. That’s it! To can, you sterilize the jars, rings and lids by boiling for 10 seconds, then add hot tomato sauce to hot jars with 1/4-1/2″ of headspace and flip them upside down. The jars seal as the sauce cools. Eatwell has a garbage disposal that has been converted into the coolest tomato grinding contraption ever. It basically demolishes everything – seeds, core, pulp so that you don’t have to do any chopping!
The Naked Tomato Sauce recipe only works with red tomatoes and you can’t add any extras like spices or garlic as these require and extra water-bathing step. The great thing about this recipe other than the ease, is that you can season it to go with anything you’re making.
We stayed hydrated throughout the day by drinking Lorriane’s amazing Softers natural soft drinks.
The night finished with s’mores and time relaxing watching the sunset. Definitely two happy but tired campers.
Nothing like sunrise peeking through the orchard and the crowing of roosters to wake you from slumber! Since I’m used to a 4am start to my mornings, it was glorious to sleep until 7!
The morning started with blue bottle coffee and fresh breakfast burritos made in the farmhouse using fresh eggs and tomatoes. They were beyond amazing!
Can you believe the outside of the farmhouse? It has a green (well, more brown right now because of the drought) roof that is sustainable and energy efficient.
We also took a farm tour led by Nigel. As much as I loved walking away with our jars of tomato sauce, I think this was my favorite part of the event. It was so great to listen to Nigel’s passion as he talked about how they are revolutionizing the way we eat.
Eatwell Farm can only be described as beyond organic. Instead of carting in organic compost and using “organic approved” pesticides, Nigel farms by rotating crops and poultry to enrich the soil and keep his plants healthy. He also doesn’t bring in any any outside chemicals or fertilizers. For example, when his chickens came down with a parasitic infection, he used good old fashioned steam cleaning and natural products like apple cider vinegar to cure them!
Here’s a list of all the equipment needed to can tomatoes. We’ll definitely be partying it up again next year and we plan to be much better prepared.
If you think this looks amazing and want to join in on the fun, you’re in luck! Tomato sauce canning parties happen every year and there’s another party this weekend at CSA member’s home in Oakland! You can get tickets and find more information here.
P.S. – If you’re in the San Francisco Bay area and interested in starting a CSA subscription, use the code ‘SWEET’ at checkout to get $17 off your first subscription!
Clockwise, from Top Left :: Stock Pot // Potholders // Canning Kit // Chef’s Knife // Apron // New Jar Lids // Camp Chef Explorer Stove // Mixing Bowl // Canning Jars // Ladle // Spoon // Cutting Boards //
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Nigel’s Naked Tomato Sauce
The easiest tomato sauce recipe ever. No chopping or water bath needed!
- Farm fresh organic red tomatoes in the amount of your choosing.
- Canning Equipment (See above)
- Grind your tomatoes into a puree using a modified garbage disposal (see above) or a high powered blender. No need to de-core or de-seed!
- Bring your tomato puree to a boil in a large stockpot and let simmer on medium-low heat for 2-3 hours, or until reduced by half. You can increase the quantity you make by making double the puree of what your pot holds and adding the extra pot to your simmer pot as the sauce reduces.
- Sterilize your lids, rings and jars by boiling in hot water for 10 seconds.
- Use a funnel to pour hot sauce into your hot jars leaving 1/4-1/2 inch headspace. Wipe any splatters from the jar rim. Seal tightly with lid and jar ring.
- Immediately flip your filled jars upside down. The heat will seal the jars without the need for a water bath. Note, this recipe only works if you don’t use anything but red tomatoes. Adding other ingredients will necessitate the use of a water bath for canning!
Thank you so much to everyone at Eatwell Farm for having Pat and I as guests to the party! And thanks to you for supporting the sponsors that help me to produce fresh and original content!