Family behind the Red Gold tomato dynasty takes Fox59 on a tour

Elwood, Ind.

If you see a plump red tomato growing in a field, there is a pretty good chance that it is going to end up at Indiana’s largest tomato cannery: Red Gold.

Fox59’s Jennifer Ketchmark went behind the scenes to meet the family behind the tomato dynasty and what the Fourth of July meant to them.

Meet the Reichart’s: Brian, Selita, Colt and Beau.  They are all part of a homegrown operation in Elwood, Ind., and their specialty is the tomato.

“We’ve been in the tomato business since 1942,” said Brian Reichart. “My grandfather started the business in Orestes, Ind.”

Brian’s grandfather started Red Gold to provide food for our troops in World War II.  However, on the Fourth of July, their operations go well beyond that.

“The early days was just basically whole tomatoes, fancy whole tomatoes was how we got started and also puree,” said Brian. “And now we do just about every tomato product there is in a can, bottle or a bag.”

The current operation produces over 100 different types of tomato products that ship across the nation to end up on dinner tables.

And this adventure into multiple products meant that this Hoosier-grown company had to do some serious expanding.

“In the 70s, [there were] probably 10 full time employees, now we have 1300.”

Among those employees are two fourth generation names, sons Colt and Beau.  They took Fox59 into the factory to see how it all works.

The process begins here with the bottle at the very beginning of the assembly line.

Before you know it, that bottle is on a journey throughout the building to be sorted, filled, sealed and capped, labeled and thoroughly inspected before being boxed and shipped out.
It is a precise process and it is one they take pride in.

“It’s sort of a secret so I have to keep that under wraps,” said Beau Reichart. “It’s very fast, we have to meet the customer demand.”

Beau cannot even give away the number of bottles that process through this line in a day, but even down to the minute, you can see hundreds of bottles flying by.

These lines go into over drive to make sure that you have ketchup to put on your burger or hot dog this Fourth of July.

“It probably started a few months ago, in order to keep up with the demand we had to start running a long time ago, sometimes it means seven days a week.”

That demand is not just the Red Gold product.  This company is the place that many of your store brands also come to life.

“It’s summer it’s BBQ time, a lot of picnics out there lots of BBQ and we have to make sure we supply that demand.”

This demand also comes in different shapes and sizes, something these assembly lines can easily accommodate.

We even found these machines pushing out the smallest packs of ketchup, soon to be found at a restaurant near you.

For this operation it does not matter what the product is or what container it comes to your table in, what matters most is quality.

“Our mission statement for our company is to produce the worlds freshest and best tasting tomato product and that says it, if you open a bottle of Red Gold, you’ll know.”

This has even left them as eager to eat their product as we are.

Approximately 98 percent of Indiana tomatoes will end up a Red Gold, not to mention a sizeable amount from Ohio and Michigan as well.
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