Skip to main content
You are here

Saucy and Sustainable

One California, One UC Davis

Our recipe’s quantities for turning our homegrown tomatoes into sauce might surprise you: 4,400 pounds of tomatoes, 343 pounds of garlic, 35 pounds of basil — and volumes of olive oil and red wine (those amounts are known only to the chef).

At UC Davis, we handpick ripe roma tomatoes and harvest fragrant basil from our own fields to make the signature organic roasted tomato sauce served to thousands at our student dining halls.  

The tomatoes come from our 300-acre Russell Ranch Agricultural Facility, where researchers study farming in a Mediterranean climate. The basil grows on the Student Farm, where students learn about sustainable agriculture.  

The sauce exemplifies how UC Davis Dining Services is committed to sustainable practices. The tomatoes, basil and other ingredients help make up the 23 percent of the food that Dining Services buys from local and sustainable growers and producers.

“Using the Russell Ranch tomatoes and other produce from the Student Farm brings UC Davis students the freshest and most local organic produce while showcasing the sustainable agriculture research on campus,” says Chef Bob Walden who oversees the Culinary Support Center on campus.

Over two weeks in August, Dining Services processes about 10,000 pounds of tomatoes. This year, the kitchen made 700 gallons of roasted tomato sauce to serve in the fall and froze 5,600 pounds of roasted tomatoes to make more sauce in December.

The signature sauce, which supplies dining commons needs through June, is used in pasta, pizza and, as Chef says, “a little bit in everything.”


UC Davis is growing California

At UC Davis, we and our partners are nourishing our state with food, economic activity and better health, playing a key part in the state’s role as the top national agricultural producer for more than 50 years. UC Davis is participating in UC’s Global Food Initiative launched by UC President Janet Napolitano, harnessing the collective power of UC to help feed the world and steer it on the path to sustainability.

Article Tags