Friday, October 26, 2007

Spotlight: Manuel

Greetings fellow tomato lovers! My name is Manuel, V.P. of Operations at Santa Sweets. Before joining the Santa Sweets team, I grew tomatoes, lettuces and herbs in my native Puerto Rico, and melons, watermelons, peppers, and tomatoes in Israel’s Dead Sea Valley.
It was real desert farming!

I joined the company in 2000, and now it is my job to ensure that UGLYRIPE tomatoes make a safe and comfortable journey from my field to your plate. I also wrote the development plan that eventually led the USDA to approve UGLYRIPES for sale during the winter. So when you’re enjoying those tasty summer treats during the dead of winter, you know who to thank!

My typical day begins bright and early at 6:30 a.m. Most of my morning is spent preparing inventories, checking orders, and meeting with the production and sales employees. Then I spend some time working with the sales team finding new and exciting ways to get our products to new restaurants and grocers who want to taste the fruits of our labor, literally!

After putting in some time at the office, I visit the packing house and help my coworkers prepare to ship the UGLYRIPES to your local grocery store.

When someone asks about the best part of my job I tell them it is developing special projects and managing the creation of new accounts. I get to act as a consultant to the sales team and I really enjoy that.

Right now, there are a few special projects I am working on, but I have been sworn to secrecy. Keep checking back for new updates.

One secret I’d be happy to share with you however, is my UGLYRIPE Bruschetta recipe:


One French Baguette

4 large UGLYRIPEs cubed at ½ - ¾” chunks

3 oz green olives, chopped

3 oz black olives, chopped

½ tbsp, minced garlic

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, reserve 2 tbsp.

¼ bunch Cilantro, finely minced

¼ bunch green onion chopped

Salt & Pepper to taste

Crumbled Gorgonzola cheese


Combine all ingredients except bread and cheese into a bowl and allow it to marinate for about an hour. Cut French Baguette in ¾” rounds. Spread remaining olive oil over bread. Sprinkle Gorgonzola cheese over bread. Warm the bread in oven until brown and cheese begins to melt. Pull from oven and spoon some bruschetta over bread.

Enjoy warm!

Repeat until all the bruschetta is gone and go buy more UGLYRIPES to start the process all over again!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What's in a name?

Back: Tom, Paul, Amy
Front: Matt, Otto

Evidently, quite a bit for the Bloeser family of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who recently welcomed their third child into the family. Otto James Bloeser, was born on August 12, 2007 and named, in part, with a little help from Santa Sweets™ Grape Tomatoes.

As the story goes, Otto’s father, Paul, has always liked the name Otto. When Paul was born, his father wanted to name him Otto, but his mother didn’t care for the name and decided to name him Paul. Since learning of his name that never was, Paul has wished to name one of his own children Otto.

After getting married 12 years ago, Paul’s wife, Amy, already had a son named Thomas. When they got pregnant with a second child, Paul tried to get the name Otto in the mix, but was shot down. The baby boy was eventually named Matthew. They now had two boys, Thomas and Matthew.

After learning of the latest pregnancy, Paul and Amy began throwing around more names. “I tried to bet her that if it were a boy I got to name it, and if it were a girl she could, but she knew what I was up to,” Paul says.

Well, one day while grocery shopping, Paul purchased a package of Santa Sweets™ Grape Tomatoes. As Amy helped unload the groceries, she took one look at the package of our grape tomatoes and was floored at what she saw. There on the packaging was our Santa Sweets Trio, Tom, Matt and Otto (Thomas, Matthew and Otto). After some reassurance from Paul that this was not some trick and verifying it during her next visit to the store, Peanut (what they called him after the first sonogram), became Otto.

Born 13 weeks premature (2 lbs. 9 oz.), Otto was indeed more like a grape tomato, than one of our larger UGLYRIPES®. “He is doing great even though he is still in the intermediate NICU. We are hoping to get him home this weekend,” Paul recently told us.

All of us here at Santa Sweets wish Paul, Amy and Tom, Matt and Otto the best.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


True, this is an old story. But we just dug up the link to Laura Parker’s piece on the UGLYRIPE in USA TODAY a few years ago. Nice to see how far we’ve come!
USA Today: "It's a Fight in Florida, and it's Ugly"