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Del Monte Harvest Tour + $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

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Del Monte Harvest Tour |

“Movin’ to the country…gonna eat a lot of peaches……”

Ok ok, I may not be moving to the country. But I definitely ate a lot of peaches on my recent trip to California to visit Del Monte.

Actually, we had the amazing opportunity to literally pick peaches fresh off the tree, and then follow them literally from farm to “table” all the way through the canning process and into some delicious dishes that I can’t wait to share with you. It was incredible. It was inspiring. It was fascinating. It was delicious. And of course, I would say the whole experience was downright “peachy”. ;)

So come follow along on this photo journal of my time experiencing a Del Monte peach and tomato harvest with some of my wonderful blogging friends. And then be sure to scroll to the very bottom, where you can enter for the chance to win an extra “sweet” giveaway.

Alright — off to California we go!

Del Monte Harvest |

First of all, allow me to introduce you to my sweet friends who I joined for the trip, and the wonderful food blogs they write:

If you haven’t visited their blogs before, you must. These women are such talented cooks and bloggers, and I quickly found out that they are also so much fun to travel with! We are all from totally different parts of the nation, but had such a great time exploring California together!

We each flew into San Francisco and spent the first day exploring the Bay area, and then hopped in some cars and road tripped it to Modesto for the final two days — home of Del Monte’s fruit cannery.

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

Now I have, of course, eaten Del Monte canned peaches (and that iconic fruit cocktail) since I was a kid. So I was excited to finally get the chance to visit the peach farms and meet the farmers and hear the story behind the company. But I have to admit that I was mostly curious to see what really happens in the process from farm to table (or “can”).

I feel like there has definitely been a growing trend away from canned produce over the last few decades — partly because using fresh produce is awesome when you can get it. But when it’s out of season, which is most of the year for me living in Kansas, or when you are looking for that convenient canned option, it seems like consumers like me still get a little wary about not knowing what really happens to the peaches or tomatoes in the canning process. So I showed up with a bunch of questions to ask, and ready to eat some peaches!!!

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

From the first moment we all walked into the door of the Del Monte cannery and smelled the sweet, intoxicating, peachy air, we all knew that it was going to be a delicious day. Everyone gave us such a warm welcome. And after a quick breakfast, we all donned our hairnets (“safety first” in a packaging facility!) and then headed for a tour of the canning facility.

We began outside, where Del Monte is constantly receiving trucks overflowing with fresh peaches since the farmers are in the middle of harvest. I have never seen so many peaches in my life! And oh my goodness, did they look and smell tasty.

(Millions of peaches…peaches for me…)

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

Then the fascinating part began — following the peaches step by step through the canning process.

I have to admit that I’m not much of a canner. I tried it once when I visited my friend Megan’s farmhouse and we spent the day making homemade Earl Grey Peach Jam. And while the results were delicious, I learned that the process is a lot of work!!!

I also remember being amazed at how the basics of canning have virtually remained the same since our great-great-great-great-grandmothers were canning jam centuries before. Interestingly, it turns out that the canning process is pretty much the same at Del Monte. Yes, they have worked to maximize the efficiency of their technology so that they can process huge batches of peaches as well as other fruits and veggies quickly to ensure a high quality product. But the overall essence of the process is still the same classics of canning!

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

We watched as the peaches were all very carefully inspected (and then inspected again, and again). Then a cool machine helped remove the fuzzy skins. Then the peaches were pitted, sliced, mixed with different kinds of syrups for the different varieties, canned, and packaged. And then those packages — which came in all sorts of shapes and sizes — were all distributed quickly to stores all around the world. It was amazing.

All of us couldn’t stop talking about how incredible it was that these machines were so efficiently able to perform the simple tasks that canners have done for centuries — especially things like removing the peach skins so perfectly and chopping the peaches into perfectly-sized bites. But while they also have fancy scanners that help with ensuring the color and quality of each peach, it was cool to see that there is still no substitute for a final inspection with human eyes. The hardworking crew at the cannery were inspiring to watch as they watched each peach come through the line to be sure that it would pass the quality standards.

We also heard again and again how careful Del Monte is with making sure that the peaches that come in from the farms are harvested and canned at the peak of ripeness to ensure the best end product in the cans. This helps to lock in quality and flavor — which, I’ve learned over the years, can sometimes be more nutritious than fruit that has been sitting on the shelf for days or weeks. And 98% of Del Monte’s canned fruits and veggies are preservative-free. Bonus.

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

While in the canning facility, we also had the chance to see some other local fruit being canned — especially pears, grapes and cherries that go into Del Monte’s classic fruit cocktail.

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

These used to be a staple in my school lunches back in the day! Although I want to point out that the heavy syrup option that I used to have is only one of the many options that Del Monte now offers for canned peaches. You can purchase many varieties of peaches with “lite” syrup, or even peaches with no sugar added at all. You can check out all of their different varieties of canned peaches here.

And 100% of those canned peaches (and Del Monte tomatoes!) are grown in the USA.

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

Afterwards, we stopped for a little break with a peach slushy snack that we learned was made by pureeing and freezing the canned peaches we had just watched pass through the canning facility. So yummy! I’m totally trying this at home for a quick and easy frozen treat.

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

Next, we all hopped in the car and drove outside of town to visit a local peach farm. And it was as charming and adorable as I had hoped!

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

When we arrived, we were introduced to 3rd-generation peach farmers, John and Cliff.

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

And their sweet dog, Cosmo, who kind of stole the spotlight (and all of our hearts). :)

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

They told us all about life on a peach farm. It may be beautiful and delicious, but as with all farming, it requires dedication and a lot of hard work. These farmers are constantly learning about and studying the new innovations in the industry to improve their farms. From advances in irrigation, to planting rotations, to building a great team of harvesters, there is so much to keep learning!

But the heart of their peach farm has remained tried and true throughout the generations. And we were all awed and inspired by the pride in these brothers’ eyes as they talked about their farm, and what it has meant to their family. Farmers are seriously the coolest!!!

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

We were all smiles after smelling that heavenly peach scent all morning.

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

And of course, we did what the food blogging paparazzi are known for — taking a zillion photos. ;)

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

But how could you not?! These peaches were b-e-a-utiful…Del Monte Harvest Tour | …and tasty! I picked and ate one fresh off the tree! Del Monte Harvest Tour |

Afterwards, we returned to Del Monte for a delicious lunch overflowing with fruits and veggies, many of them Del Monte. My kind of lunch. :)

Del Monte Harvest Tour | Even the centerpieces were overflowing with fruit! (Do you spy the peaches and oranges in there?) Del Monte Harvest Tour |

Did I mention how much I love these bloggers? :)

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

After lunch, we had the surprise of getting to visit another Del Monte farm. This time — tomatoes!!

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

Now, we definitely grow tomatoes in Kansas. But our neighborhood loft garden does not look like this!

There were literally acres upon acres of tomatoes as far as the eye could see. But the thing I immediately noticed was that their tomatoes are not staked up like mine have always been. Rather, they let them grow flat. And then an enormous harvester is able to come and miraculously pick them up instead of having to pick them one at a time by hand.

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

On the farm, we were introduced to another farming family — The Pereira’s.

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

They gave us a tour of their tomato farms, and proudly showed us some of their crop that was nearly ready for harvesting.

The main question we all had was how on earth the harvesters are able to plow through these fields without crushing all of the beautiful ripe tomatoes! It turns out, as they demonstrated above, that all you really need to do to remove tomatoes from the vine is hold up the plant and then give it a good shake. Once you do, the tomatoes instantly fall out and the plant can be mulched to help fertilize the ground for the next crop. Pretty cool!

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

We even got to see one of the tomato harvesters in action as it came through the fields.

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

Harvesters of all kinds absolutely fascinate me. Such a cool process to see the tomatoes picked, sorted, and then literally wind blown into a storage cart that drives alongside the harvester.

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

This tire was as tall as me, and filled with tomatoes. It gives entirely new imagery to “crushed tomatoes”, eh? :) Then all of those tomatoes are transferred immediately to Del Monte for canning at the peak of ripeness.

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

Of course, we had to snag just a few for sampling. And then the Pereira’s generously encouraged everyone to hand-pick a batch to take home. They were so kind!!

Del Monte Harvest Tour |

Our group had such a great time getting to talk with them and hear about their story farming, and working with Del Monte. Without any prompting, it was cool to hear them talk so positively about what it’s like to work with Del Monte. They spoke very highly of the company and the ways that it respects and values their farmers, and also how they offer some of the most fair wages in the business. It was affirming to hear, and yet again confirmed why Del Monte has been a leader in this industry for so many years.

Overall, it was an amazing trip. And it was certainly made all the more amazing with a great group of blogging friends, some great farmers, and all of the great folks from Del Monte. Many thanks to the Del Monte and BlogHer crew for inviting me along, and to all of you readers for following along on this adventure!

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ great roundup posts about the harvest tour here. And now to the extra “peachy” ending to this post…a $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway!

$100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

Giveaway Prize:

One winner will be shipped a $100 Visa Gift Card.

How To Enter:

Answer the question in the comment below — What are your favorite peach or tomato recipe?

No duplicate comments.
You may submit a total of two (2) entries using any of the following entry methods:
  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with who do not have Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You will have 72 hours to get back to me; otherwise, a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 9/9/13-10/9/13.

Be sure to visit the Del Monte Brand Page on where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and discover more chances to win!


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393 comments on “Del Monte Harvest Tour + $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway”

  1. I love using tomatoes to make homemade pasta sauce.

  2. Tweeted at

  3. My favorite would be homemade Peach Cobbler with vanilla ice cream on top.
    Even in the winter it can make it seem like summer.


  4. I love making a peach crumble–peaches with brown sugar, butter, oats, flour, cinnamon baked on top. Sadly, I did not end up getting many great peaches this summer. Soft or stony or not much taste. Bummer!!

  5. Oh and Del Monte tomatoes reminds me it’s nearly Chili season!

  6. My favorite tomato recipe is a fresh from the market ratatouille ! Nothing better and my little girls will actually eat it! I would love to share this trio with my mom…who passed down her love for fresh cooking to me from my grandmother.

  7. My mother in law gave me her old world recipe for gravy (spaghetti sauce) and is made with canned tomatoes, basil and a secret ingredient that I am not to share except with my daughter.

  8. I tweeted here:

  9. I love making Salsa with my harvest of Tomatoes. Also home made Tomato Soup…yum!

  10. I love to make Peach Ice Cream and Peach Heavenly Cake with beautiful ripe peaches!!

  11. It doesn’t get better than fresh peaches, lightly buttered after being halved, and then lightly grilled. Yum! I also love fresh tomatoes and basil.

  12. tweeted

  13. homemade pasta sauce

  14. My favorite peach recipe is my moms peach cobbler recipe. And my favorite tomato recipe is sun dried tomatos, pine nuts and pasta recipe. Now I’m hungry thanks for the great giveaway and God Bless.

  15. I use tomatos in numerous recipes but my favorite is my homemade salsa

  16. Although I love peaches and tomatoes just about every way I could imagine my favorite is peach cobbler.

  17. Tweet –

  18. My favorite tomato recipe is marinara sauce that I serve over stuffed Mozzerella meatballs.

  19. Peach cobbler!

  20. Peach cobbler – I can remember my dad making a peach cobbler when I was very young, and how it always stuck to the sides of the dish and was ooey, gooey good!

  21. Caprese Salad is my favorite tomato recipe.

  22. My favorite peach recipe is peach cobbler and my favorite tomato recipe is okra with tomatoes
    annabella @ centurytel dot net

  23. I love peach cobbler

  24. peach cobbler is my fav.

  25. I love peach cobbler :)

  26. I love my hamburger soup that uses tomatoes. I can’t wait for it to get cold so that I can make it. Thank you!

  27. I like salsa.

  28. Tomato bisque soup is my fave.

  29. My favorite peach recipe is my Dad’s peach cobbler. It’s quite simple but very delicious.

  30. Peach cobbler is my favorite peach recipe


  32. I love homemade peach pie

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  33. tweet

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  34. I love homemade salsa!!!

  35. Tweet!!

  36. I LOVE salsa!!! :)

    rachelmarietravis at gmail dot com

  37. I love peach cobbler with blueberries and peach mango salsa.

  38. I tweeted:

  39. Roasted Tomatoes with Mozzarella Cheese is my absolute favorite tomato recipe.

  40. I like making homemade spaghetti sauce

  41. Home made peach pie

  42. One of my best friends makes the most delicious gazpacho. So good in the summer! Will definitely be getting the recipe from her now that I have a blender.

  43. I love making homemade spaghetti sauce with canned tomatoes, a stick of butter, an onion, and spices. So simple, yet so flavorful.

  44. Here’s my tweet

  45. My favorite tomato recipe is homemade salsa

  46. I love to stew peaches like you would tomatoes but with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg and cloves and ginger. Cooking them down until they are super soft and in a spicy syrup, they make wonderful ice cream toppings, especially on vanilla or cinnamon ice cream!

  47. I tweeted here:

  48. I’ve been making a quick and easy peach dump cake. Love it!

  49. I love making peach shortcake!
    pokergrl8 at