The first inkling I had that people might be interested in using our vegetable powders came after my daughter, Molly, and my two grandsons, Ben and Sam, tried our Tomato Salt (which they call “red salt”). Two summers ago I had made a small batch of tomato salt from the mixture of heirloom tomatoes from the Napa garden and mixed the dried tomatoes with Celtic sea salt to prevent clumping. I sent Molly a jar to try out. A few weeks later she called and said that she and the boys were putting it on everything, and that as a result, they were happily eating foods that they had been previously hesitant to eat. Tomato Salt, in that moment, became the new “MSG,” an easy-to-use flavor enhancer, one that makes most any food taste better, but thankfully without the devastating health consequences of MSG. It became my quest at that point to find out the combination of tomatoes that produce the best flavor, texture and disease prevention.
Two years later, 100 percent of the tomatoes used in our Tomato Salt were grown in our Napa garden. Working mostly with seeds from Baker Creek and The Natural Gardening Catalogue, both of whom carry the seeds from master tomato breeder Brad Gates, I am getting the hang of the optimal mixture of tomato breeds. Some of the varieties in our Tomato Salt are heirlooms and others are hybrids. Some, like Indigo Apple, have the highest lycopene content of any known tomato variety. Lycopene is a nutrient that has been shown to improve prostate and eye health and is important in the prevention of prostate cancer and macular degeneration. Other varieties, like Early Girl and Big Beef, are included because of their high nutrient content and robust “tomatoey” flavor. The Thessaoniki variety is native to the Grecian islands and is included because of its unique, gentle flavor.
Tomatoes are rich, powerhouse foods loaded with disease-preventing nutrients. The list of diseases that the regular consumption of tomatoes, in any form, can help prevent include prostate cancer, macular degeneration, gall stones, UTIs, allergies, constipation and more. To top off this list, the regular consumption of tomatoes helps prevent the formation of wrinkles, especially wrinkles arising from chronic sun exposure.
Our Tomato Salt is an easy, convenient way to add the flavor and nutrition of tomatoes to your daily diet year round. Like Molly, I add Tomato Salt to just about everything I eat, but I especially love it on my morning eggs.
With gratitude for your interest in our powders,
Tom Cowan, M.D.
For many of us, our relationship to food is a never ending journey. Sometimes to move forward one finds themselves looking back. For bread and specifically the grains used to make it I find that the best results are indeed found in reflection. It is sometimes true that modern ingenuity has value for us, but that is usually only when paired with ancient wisdom. For grains, that wisdom is in the ancient varieties that have been grown for thousands of years.
During this time of relative uncertainty, we have decided to renew our commitment to gardening. Dr. Cowan’s Garden was originally a place, located in Napa Valley on a plot of land generously donated by a friend. It embodied our ideals and was a sanctuary for growth and learning.
The garden was our muse for new product offerings and for improving existing ones. The garden kept our ambitions grounded to certain fundamentals, as the practice of gardening can be challenging.