The Processed Food We’re Proud to Eat

1 comment | February 2, 2012 | By | Photographs by John Taggart

Real deal tomato juice: Pulpy and bright, one step above drinking straight puree, which we’ve been known to do as well.

It might not be the most bitter winter in recent memory, but in February fresh produce is still pretty scarce even when it’s 62. So in recent weeks we’ve been happily guzzling a slew of picked-in-summer-and-minimally-processed local produce products like this tomato juice from Migliorelli Farm. It’s so good we couldn’t even keep from drinking it long enough to take a photo; this is real deal tomato juice. Pulpy and bright, one step above drinking straight puree, which we’ve been known to do as well.

The Tivoli, N.Y. grower–find them at dozens of Greenmarkets citywide–also has tomato sauces (three for $15 last time we went by) and frozen vegetables like kale, corn, mustard greens and Brussels sprouts.

We’re even happier about scoring a taste of summer out of season because we know the backstory of the products: Our last issue included a piece on locavore entrepreneur Jim Hyland, who created a processing and co-packing plant for local farms after realizing his CSA grower had to compost a ton of his excellent kale when he couldn’t sell it all at harvest time. Why couldn’t that farmer freeze or can his crops, thought Hyland, just like he did? The answer was that there weren’t any processing plants geared to small farmers, so Hyland created Farm-to-Table co-packers in Kingston, N.Y., so that farmers could can or freeze or jar their crops when they couldn’t sell them all fresh. He’ll even buy the end result off of them, selling it wholesale or from Winter Sun Farms, the frozen (and jarred) veggie CSA he launched at the same time.

Now he helps farmers like Migliorelli and S&SO Produce sell their crops even when they are out of season. S&SO also stocks tomato sauce, which is plenty tasty, but we’re currently addicted to their dried shallot powder, which we’ve already added to homemade mac and cheese, deviled eggs and potato salad to excellent reviews. We are proud to say we haven’t tried drinking it straight–yet.


About Rachel Wharton

Rachel Wharton is a deputy editor of Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn magazines with a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, where she focused her research on sustainable agriculture and food culture (with a minor in tacos). She has 15 years of experience as a writer, starting her career with fisheries, water issues, coastal life (and fried oysters) in North Carolina, where she grew up. Before joining the Edibles, she spent four-and-half years working as a features food reporter at the New York Daily News. She also won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award for stories in Edible Brooklyn, while her profile of Russ & Daughters in this magazine will be included in the book 2010 Best Food Writing. P.S., she will eat street meat with abandon, no matter its sustainability.

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  • Erik

    The tomato juice is beyond great, it’s really good.  It is the right idea to pick fresh and then bottle. The difference is with the corporate growers, they add a whole bunch of additives that we can’t  even pronounce. With Migliorelli, it’s just the tomato juice and a little touch of salt. I live near the farm, and can vouch for their juice and produce as good.

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