Technology keeps tomatoes a top Valley crop


Tomatoes consistently rank as one of Fresno County’s top crops.

Growers credit much of that success to technology, as well as selective breeding of a thick hearty tomato perfect for ketchup and sauces.

Daniel Hartwig is resource manager at Woolf Farming in Huron. He says, “People love eating ketchup. You have a burger, you have a dog, you’re going to need a processing tomato to help enjoy that as much as possible.”

Hartwig says the tomatoes in about one of every seven bottles of Heinz is grown at Woolf Farming.

Growing tomatoes on this scale is a trifecta of technology: heavy equipment, buried irrigation and selective breeding of the tomatoes.

Hartwig says, “Processing tomatoes are bred also so that they’re tough and durable so that they can go through the harvester and also make it with 25 tons of their friends on their way to the processor.”

Hartwig says they average 60 tons per acre. That’s twenty percent higher than the state average. He credits irrigation.

Hartwig says, “Mechanical efficiency is what’s led California to be one of the leaders in the tomato industry.”

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