Thank you Blogher and Del Monte for providing me with the opportunity to visit the Del Monte peach canning facility in Modesto, California and two of the neighboring farms that provide Del Monte with tomatoes and peaches for their products.

Starn Family Peach Orchard

It’s no secret how much I love the process of canning. While the art of home canning is tedious and creates for some seriously long days, I still make a list every summer of what I want to put up, crossing items off as I go. Dilly beans, pickled zucchini, various jams and preserves, boozy-vanilla bean peaches and my personal favorite, crushed tomatoes. I’m a glutton for a pantry full of Mother Nature’s bounty and I still say nothing beats a cupboard full of produce picked and put at up it’s peak. I guard my pantry like a hawk, monitoring what can be used and when as I treat it like precious cargo.

Strarn-Family-Peach-Orchard-Del Monte-Tour-2013

I know it might seem silly that I spend so much time putting up various produce only to use it sparingly but anyone who cans, knows what I’m talking about. Canning is one of those past times that’s high labor and low yield so I savor it as long as I can. (no pun intended.)

John-Cliff-Starn-Peach-Orchard-Del Monte-Tour-2013

When asked if I wanted to visit Modesto a few weeks ago to tour the Del Monte peach cannery and a few of the farms that supply Del Monte with their tomatoes and peaches, I jumped at the chance. I always love getting to know the farmers growing our food and I’d never seen a large cannery operation so was excited to see how it compared to my one woman operation. I think it’s safe to say that Del Monte’s got me beat in the efficiency department.

Starn-Family-Dog-Peach-Tour-Del Monte

We kicked the day off by visiting a peach orchard run by third generation farmers and brothers, John and Cliff Starn and their trusty, four legged sidekick, Cosmo. Once you get over the beauty and magnitude of the Starn Family Orchard, you can’t help but ponder the amount of work and attention to detail that goes into growing hundreds of acres of peach trees.

blogger group

John and Cliff Starn, funny each in their own right, play different roles at the farm, yet come together in their commitment to growing the best peaches they can. They took the time to introduce us to members of their team and there’s no doubt the commitment they have to the employees that help them year round as well as the many that come on just for harvest time.

del monte 2

The peaches are hand picked (and trust me, that’s a lot of peaches) and delivered to the Del Monte peach cannery just about 20 miles away where they’re inspected and go through the canning process almost immediately. While all of Del Monte’s canned peaches are grown in California, most of them are packed within of six hours of being picked. If you think about the amount of peaches being processed, it’s absolutely amazing how efficient their system is. As we walked around the inside of the cannery (sorry for the lack of photos but we weren’t allowed to take our cameras inside the cannery for safety reasons), I couldn’t help but notice the parallels between the small batch canning I do at home vs the process of canning the mass quantity that Del Monte does on a daily basis during peach season. Obviously it’s done on a much larger scale and the work is done by automated machines rather than hands but it’s basically the same steps I do at home. The fruit is picked at its peak and then packed quickly, preserving nutrients and maintaining the integrity of the produce.

Del Monte-Tomato-Tour-2013

After an amazing lunch featuring Del Monte’s canned peaches and tomatoes, we headed out for a little road trip to visit another family run operation only this time we were talking tomatoes. Lots and lots of Roma-style tomatoes. The Pereira siblings (two brothers and a sister) are fourth generation California farmers and grow mostly tomatoes though they dabble in a little wheat as well. Row upon row of tomatoes as far as the eye can see: that’s the only way I can describe how it feels to stand in the middle of 400+ acres of tomato plants.

Carerra-Family-Tomato-Farms-Del Monte-Tour-2013-mountain-mama-cooks

The Pereira’s grow many varieties of Roma-style tomatoes as their low water content makes them ideal for canning. (Even I knew that!) The Pereiras were gracious enough to send all of us home with a bag of tomatoes that I was more than happy to carry on two airplanes packed carefully away in my carry on tote.

Carerra-Family-Del Monte-Tour-2013

I was struck by the Pereira’s work ethic. It’s nose to the ground during growing season, working their tails off in hopes that the hard work will pay off with a successful crop. It seems they reward themselves with a hunting trip during the off season. And how could you blame them? Farming is no joke and these guys work hard. They exude pride and their hard work shows in their tomatoes. The proof is the pudding so to speak- the tomatoes I came home with made a delicious sauce to go over some steamed spaghetti squash. Perhaps the saying should be the proof is in the marinara.

Del Monte-Carerra-Family-Tomato-Farm-mountain-mama-cooks

I’ve said it a million times before but I’ll say it again. One of the best parts of blogging is meeting the faces and learning the stories behind a particular brand. I feel truly blessed that I get to (or at least try to) bring that story to life for you guys. Food is such an important part of my life and being able to learn more about the products that I use in my kitchen is something I don’t take for granted. I know it’s not realistic for me to can all of my own produce. In an ideal world, I could make it happen but I’m a busy, working mom and it’s just never going to happen. When my canned goods are long gone, I’m thrilled that I can go to the grocery store and when I grab a can of Del Monte tomatoes or a can of peaches in juice, I know I’m not getting any artificial flavors only garden quality fruit picked and packed at its prime.

Del Monte-Carerra-Farms-Tomato-Tour

Once again, thank you Del Monte and Blogher for sponsoring my trip to Modesto and letting me part of such an educational and delicious day. Be sure to visit Del Monte’s website if you have any questions or want more information on the products their products. I spent the day with some extremely talented ladies as well. Be sure to visit each of the blogger’s sites where you can read their recaps as well! As always, thank you for reading!

Jenny from Picky Palate
Robyn from Add A Pinch
Ali from Gimme Some Oven
Gina from Running to the Kitchen
Julie from Table for Two

And now for the giveaway details! For a chance to win a $100 VISA Gift Card you can answer the question, “What are your favorite peach or tomato recipe?” in the comment section below!

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!


This is a sponsored post as I was compensated for my time and all expenses were taken care of when I traveled to Modesto. Please know that all thoughts and opinions are strictly my own. Del Monte products are ones that I use in my house and feel good about feeding my kids. Just saying.


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184 Responses to Visiting Del Monte & Friends in Modesto, California + ($100 VISA Gift Card Giveaway)

  1. Michelle says:

    I love roasted baby tomatoes on a baguette with goat cheese and thyme sprinkled on top. An easy appetizer

  2. Loved meeting you and spending time with you in sunny Cali! xo

  3. Why just yesterday I spent four hours canning my own salsa from the tomatoes in my garden. So I would say my favorite tomato recipe is my own salsa! Great post, thank you!

  4. latonya ramsey says:

    My favorite tomato recipe is taco soup.

  5. It looks like you all had a great trip. I’d have to say peach crostada is my favorite peach recipe. Yum!

  6. Christina says:

    I love making (and eating) peach ice cream.

  7. D SCHMIDT says:

    My favorite peach recipe is peach cobbler scones, such a great breakfast treat. My favorite tomato recipe is Ham-and-Tomato Pie which is also rather scrumptious!

  8. Elena says:

    I like peach salsa

  9. Deece says:

    I love Del Monte peaches AND canned tomato products. I usually eat their peaches in a bowl with some cream or milk and I use their tomatoes for everything! I never had access to fresh peaches like I do now, so I don’t really know how to cook/bake them. I’ve only had them fresh or grilled. One recipe I like using stewed tomatoes is to cook them with onions and SPAM. Yes, SPAM.

  10. April Yedinak says:

    My fave tomato recipe is mac and cheese with tomatoes.

  11. Holly says:

    My favorite peach recipe is a peach/blueberry galette topped with vanilla ice cream.

  12. Holly H. says:

    My favorite tomato recipe is my fresh salsa and as for peaches… peach cobbler – nothing better!

  13. Sarah F says:

    I love grilled mozzarella, fresh spinach and tomato sandwiches! The tomato adds the right amount of tang.

  14. Lisa Weiss says:

    What beautiful photos! It was so fun meeting you and the rest of the bloggers! Thanks for a great Harvest day!

  15. Mami2jcn says:

    Peach pie with vanilla ice cream…yum!

  16. Mami2jcn says:


  17. Jennay says:

    My favorite peach recipe is Peach Crumb Bars and my favorite tomato recipes are homemade spaghetti sauce, marinara, and salsa!!

  18. Katy says:

    I love making Pioneer Woman’s salsa with really good tomatoes 🙂

  19. I really loved reading about your experience! I live in Monterey right now and I’m loving all the local produce available. I have never tried canning before, but plan to one of these days. It is good to know that Del Monte is a brand we can trust. I am looking forward to reading the other blogger’s experiences too.

    As for favorite recipes, I really love fresh tomatoes in a caprese salad. Probably the Italian genes in me. I also like making a simple, healthy dessert by halving peaches, baking them, and drizzling honey over them.

  20. Rebecca says:

    Love making fresh salsa with tomatoes, black beans, corn, lime juice and parsley…it’s addicting!

  21. Kelly D says:

    I like a Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad

  22. tess says:

    year round homemade tomato soup from scratch is my fave cooked tomato recipe but nothing beats fresh mozzerella and tomato salad with fresh basil in summer.

  23. Holly B says:

    We actually just got a big crate of peaches last week, and made some pretty amazing Peach Shortcake!

  24. Sarah says:

    Peach salsa with halibut! Yum!

  25. Lisa Brown says:

    For sure, peach cobbler.
    jslbrown_03 at yahoo dot com

  26. Lisa Brown says:

    for sure, peach cobbler
    jslbrown_03 at yahoo dot com

  27. Cynthia Conley says:

    I simply love peach cobbler.

  28. Leslie W says:

    My favorite peach recipe is cheesecake stuffed baked peaches, super easy & a great dessert to serve if you want something simple but people will think you spent a long time making them!

  29. Wanda McHenry says:

    I love making scalloped tomatoes!

  30. Whitney Lindeman says:

    I love a simple peach crisp with rolled oats!

  31. Stephanie Gossett says:

    I love to slice peaches over ice cream and top with brown and powdered sugar. I also love peach cobbler in the crockpot with peaches, sugar, and bisquick. Thank you for the chance!

  32. Sharon says:

    I really like the classic peach cobbler!

  33. kesha says:

    I love Peach Hand pies

  34. Sandy says:

    I like to make a big batch of tomato sauce and freeze it in smaller portions for quick dinners

  35. Rosie says:

    I love making a peach pie with the ripest peaches. I add a little almond flour with the flower, and tiny bit of almond essence to the peaches, along with some light brown sugar and small bits of butter. I make a yummy buttery lattice crust. The peach pie looks, smells and tastes heavenly!

  36. Susan Smith says:

    I love making spaghetti sauce with tomatoes for spaghetti and meatballs .

  37. Kristen says:

    Well, straight up tomatoes with some good olive oil, salt and pepper is where it’s at, but we also make a great tomato sauce with caramelized onions and garlic with a big spoonful of miso paste for extra umami punch.

  38. Jessie C. says:

    My favorite peach recipe is peach and brie quesadillas with honey dipping sauce
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

  39. Jessie C. says:


  40. Natalie J Vandenberghe says:

    My favorite peach recipe is for peach freezer jam. I also love fresh peach pie and peach ice cream.

  41. stephanie says:

    i love peach cobbler

  42. Kim Henrichs says:

    This summer it’s been my own marinara sauce with roma tomatoes. First year growing them and I’ve made about ten quarts already.

  43. LAMusing says:

    Love Greek Stew which is made with canned whole tomatoes!

  44. Norma says:

    Peach Cobbler with a pecan topping!

  45. Robin Wilson says:

    My favorite Peach recipe is my father’s Pageland Peach Cobbler made with fresh peaches from Pageland, SC his hometown. He makes it every summer to this day.

  46. Tina M says:

    Broiled Tomatoes with Feta Cheese

  47. rachel says:

    I love fresh peach pie.

  48. Kiara says:

    My favorite is peach pie.

  49. nickie says:

    fresh peach pie.

  50. Adrienne Gordon says:

    Love a caprese salad

  51. Margaret Smith says:

    Peach Cobbler is my favorite…warmed up with some vanilla ice cream and I’m in heaven!
    Thanks so much.

  52. Kimberly Ripley says:

    I love to make spaghetti sauce with tomatoes and also chili!

  53. Deirdre says:

    My mom’s peach pie is by far the best peach recipe I have tried. Her secret is to sprinkle brown sugar on top to get a crispy, caramelized texture.

  54. Mary Calabrese says:

    I love salsa made with peaches!

  55. jamie moss says:

    Peaches – Peach Cobbler absolutely.

    Tomatoes – A special spicy pizza sauce.

  56. Theresa Davies says:

    On ciabatta bread I spread olive paste and then add feta cheese, cuke slices, and tomato slices with onions. Sprinkle balsamic vinegar and delicious lunch

  57. Suzanne K says:

    Hard to pick just one favorite tomato recipe… I love fresh tomato salads, sliced grilled tomato with cheese on toast…

  58. Rebecca Graham says:

    I like to make peach cobbler.

  59. mickeyfan says:

    Peaches: Grilled with some cinnamon, brown sugar and a tiny bit of butter.
    Tomatoes: Panzanella salad. Or homemade salsa.

  60. Madeline says:

    I love to make (and eat) peach butter, so delicious!

  61. Anna Pry says:

    peach cobbler; basil tomato sandwiches

  62. janna johnson says:

    peach cobbler

  63. Andrea Watts says:

    I liked cooked peaches sprinkled with sugar

  64. Kerry says:

    My favorite is peach cobbler:)

  65. Kyl Neusch says:

    some fresh fresh salsa

  66. Christine says:

    peach ice cream

  67. Barbara M says:

    I love salsa – thank you!

  68. joni says:

    I love a peach dump cake with peach iced tea.

  69. Amy Tong says:

    Awesome post. I love all your pictures and thank you so much for sharing. My favorite tomato recipe is a creamy tomato soup, perfect with a grilled cheese sandwich. hm….so good.

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

  70. Melinda says:

    peach pound cake. It’s sooo good and everyone loves it.

  71. Sean says:

    peach milkshakes are tasty

    seanm1999 at hotmail dot com

  72. jen gersch says:

    i lvoe peach pie

  73. jen gersch says:

    i like peach pie

  74. Debbie B says:

    i love peach cobbler!

  75. Denise S says:

    I like my husband’s homemade pasta sauce recipe.

  76. Stephanie Larison says:

    I love the peach cobbler my grandma used to make!

  77. Great post! What a neat trip. One of my favorite ways to enjoy tomatoes is in this savory tomato pesto pie with an easy cheesy biscuit crust:

  78. Emily says:

    I make a yummy stew with diced tomatoes.

  79. Robin Wilson says:

    My favorite tomato recipe is salsa made with fresh ingredients that grow right here at home. Tomatoes, onions, cilantro, etc. My favorite way to eat it is with scrambled eggs!


  80. Diane baum says:

    I love homemade peach cobbler-with home grown peaches

  81. Nicole Larsen says:

    My favorite tomato recipe is my spaghetti and my favorite peach is my mother in law’s peach cobbler!!

  82. steph says:

    peach vanilla muffins!

  83. Rebecca Graham says:

    I like a tomato stuffed with chicken or tuna salad.

  84. maria cantu says:

    I like peach cobbler a la mode.

  85. Erica Best says:

    i love peach pie

  86. Robin says:

    My favorite tomato recipe is my homemade spaghetti sauce.

  87. Jill Myrick says:

    I love making homemade salsa from tomatoes that I grow during the summer.


  88. melissa Resnick says:

    i like tomato stuffed tuna salad

  89. carol says:

    I make an incredible fresh tomato sauce with fresh basil leaves, and minced garlic and olive oil. Simple, and wonderful. thanks for the chance to win!

  90. Daniel M says:

    chunky spaghetti sauce

  91. ky2here says:

    Mafia tomatoes are my favorite.

  92. ashley c. says:

    I love making tomato pie and peach cobbler

  93. Brittney House says:

    I love spicy salsa with peppers!

  94. kim h says:

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

  95. Deb C says:

    My favorite is Fried Green Tomatoes. I love them.

  96. Betty C says:

    I’m not sure I can pick a favorite. I love peach desserts from pie & cobbler to ice cream or just sliced with cream.

  97. Sonya says:

    I love roasted tomatoes with salt pepper and some olive oil!

  98. Terry Cross says:

    My favorite tomato recipe is vegetable soup

  99. Lisa Garner says:

    I love making my homemade chili recipe with tomatos.
    lisalmg25 at gmail dot com

  100. Tanya White says:

    I love a tuna fish stuffed tomato.

  101. tallcapp says:

    My favorite tomato recipe is Caprese Salad.

  102. I love fresh homemade peach pie.

  103. Mary Cloud says:

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

  104. Richard Hicks says:

    I love to make peach cobbler

    brich22 at earthlink dot net

  105. April G says:

    I love a yummy peach crisp!

  106. Mihaela Day says:

    My favorite peach recipe is peach cobbler 🙂

  107. Crystal F says:

    My favorite recipe that uses tomatoes is my hamburger soup. Yum. Thank you!

  108. Tomato bisque soup is my fave tomato recipe.

  109. Joy Q says:

    Peach cobbler with ice cream is my favorite

  110. susan smoaks says:

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

  111. Tabathia B says:

    I like adding lots of tomatoes to my vegetable lasagna

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  112. Mya Murphy says:

    I love homemade salsa!!!

  113. Rachel Travis says:

    I love salsa 🙂 peach salsa even!

    rachelmarietravis at gmail dot com

  114. Starr Greenwell says:

    My favorite peach recipe is “peach-Mango Salsa”. yum

  115. Rosey says:

    Peach Pie is my favorite recipe and I don’t want anything on it either (no ice cream, no whipped cream) I just want to enjoy the pie!

  116. Francine Anchondo says:

    I like making homemade spaghetti sauce

  117. Annette Prejean says:

    Homemade vegetable soup is my favorite thing to make with canned tomatoes.

  118. Joanna Allison says:

    Peach cobbler

  119. sheri blessing says:

    My favorite tomato recipe it homemade slasa

  120. angie lilly says:

    For peaches it would be peach crisp. I use the same recipe for apple crisp but sub the peaches. For tomatoes it would be my vegan, crockpot chilli! Just had a pot this past weekend!

  121. Jeanette H. says:

    My favorite tomato recipe is my stuffed pepper soup made with my home canned tomatoes(:

  122. Amanda Sakovitz says:

    I love making peach shortcake!
    pokergrl8 at

  123. Thomas Murphy says:

    I like to make tomato sauce.

  124. Sarah L says:

    I love a good peach cobbler.
    Thanks for the contest.

  125. Sheree says:

    My favorite peach recipe is Peach Cobbler

  126. Sand says:

    I love peach cobbler.

  127. Heather S says:

    I love peach cobbler

  128. Trisha McKee says:

    I could live on peach cobbler!

  129. Lisa A. says:

    My favorite recipe is my grandmother’s peach cobbler.

  130. Barbara Long says:

    My favorite tomato recipe is bruschetta.

  131. Whitney says:

    A good tomato soup is always good with a grilled cheese.

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