Pagysa contracts with tomato growers in the Aegean region to assure that
they plant the very best tomatoes for sun drying. The growers observe
strict guidelines in growing tomatoes for Pagysa to assure they are of
the finest quality and that they conform to Pagysa's requirements. Our
tomatoes are hand picked at the peak of their maturity. Only the ideal
tomatoes are picked off their vine during the first pass. Later the
farmers do a second pass, pick the rest of the tomatoes, and sell them
to pre-agreed tomato paste factories, this way we make sure that we use
the premium crop for our product. They are transported to the plant with
special care in order for the gentle transport of tomatoes. Each load is
inspected by our Quality Assurance Dept., and must pass, strict
guidelines set by our Company Policy to assure that the fresh tomatoes
that we use are of the highest quality. After passing inspection they go
directly to the plant for processing to avoid losing any of their flavor
The tomatoes are gently washed in water to remove the soil and dust off
the surface of the tomatoes, followed by a fresh water rinse. The
tomatoes then get sized inline. Sorters with keen eyes and fast hands
remove any tomatoes that are unacceptable off specially designed belts
that position the tomatoes. High speed blades, cut each tomato in half.
Then the tomato halves are cured with sulfur dioxide prior to drying.
This fixes the bright color of the tomato, inhibits microbiogical
growth, and contributes to the unique flavor of the product.
After curing, the tomatoes are moved to the drying yard and are laid
out, cut-side up, to allow full exposure to the sun. The sulfur dioxide
evaporates slowly from the tomatoes, and as it evaporates it creates a
natural barrier to rodents, birds and insects. Over a period of five to
six days the rays of the sun dry the tomatoes.
When the tomatoes have been sun dried to their optimum moisture, the
tomatoes are taken to the plant where the tomatoes are sorted again for
any undesirables. After the initial sorting the tomatoes are placed in
bins for storage. Until the sun dried tomatoes are processed and
packaged for shipment they are kept in cold storage to maintain their
color and flavor. Throughout the year, when orders are received, the
tomatoes are subjected to a final inspection by skilled sorters who have
been trained to remove unacceptable halves and foreign matter. The Sun
Dried Tomatoes may also be treated with salt rather than sulphur
dioxide, and also be sliced, diced or chopped before packaging.