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First Field

Everyone remembers their first. Not everyone names a ketchup after it.

Theresa Viggiano rented a Griggstown, New Jersey farmhouse with three fields. Field #1 had a bonus crop of Jersey tomatoes. But she and her roommates could eat only so much panzanella.

So her then-boyfriend-now-husband, Patrick, an investment analyst, started playing around in the kitchen with his mother’s recipe for a chutney-ish ketchup she liked to serve with holiday meat pies when he was growing up in Canada. The pair started experimenting with different types of organic tomatoes, tweaking the amount of vinegar, sugar, onion, spices, salt and oil until arriving at the perfect sweet and tangy balance.

Now Patrick and Theresa (who’s getting her doctorate in medical sociology) have turned this into a pretty juicy side gig. Early mornings before work or school, you’ll find them out in the tomato fields and then back again at night, farming by the light of car headlights. They also teach canning classes and are committed to growing as many of their own ingredients as possible, bringing back the full four-season cycle of sustainable agriculture from ‘seed to spoon.’

A labor of love, first love.

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