What’s black and white and red all over? What happens when a tomato truck hits a bump in the road

September 29, 2008 | By | Comments (1)

Couldn’t pass up the old newspaper joke, sorry. To cap off Tomato Week on our One-Block blog, I had to post these recent shots from just off I-80, near California’s Central Valley. Admittedly in part because I pestered my husband to take these photos, but mostly because I wanted to share what late-summer and early-fall tomato harvest looks like in northern and central California.


The state is number 1 in “processed” tomato production, meaning ripe ones that tumble off tomato trucks were most likely destined to be squashed for ketchup and sauce. A truck can carry 50,000 pounds of tomatoes, and while this one was empty and on its way back to Dixon’s Valley Farm Transport yard for a snooze, they’re frequently piled high with ruby jewels.


While I wouldn’t recommend stopping and scooping on a highway or off-ramp, I’ve often been tempted to pull off on a frontage road and bring home some freebies for canning of my own. Readers, any of you tried such frugal foraging?


With all these tomatoes taking flight, why not tarp the trucks? Visit the California Tomato Growers Association’s website for the answer and more tomato facts, including the Supreme Court decision that ruled a tomato is a vegetable (although it’s technically a fruit—dictionaries were called upon to testify!).


  1. Louise

    Oh sure, road kill tomatoes! Out here near Brentwood, we have both road kill tomatoes and road kill corn. There are even some basic social guidelines. Everyone just leaves the tomatoes alone and wouldn’t be seen picking up even the good ones. Now road kill corn is a different matter altogether. No one would blink an eye if they saw you gathering that from the side of the road.


    October 1, 2008 at 1:55 am

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