Jimmy Tomato gets saucy
Two years ago, Jim Wersing began giving his friends sauce as a gift. When his friends were saying it was the best sauce they ever had and that he should sell it, his interest was piqued. Wersing had just retired from a 25-year career in education.
Wersing took classes at the Oregon State University's Department of Agriculture Food Innovation Center in Portland. Their goal is to assist food entrepreneurs to reach market status. From there, he dealt with the hurdles of becoming a food entrepreneur, a lengthy process."The sauce is from a recipe my Mother received from an Italian neighbor in 1954. I still have the hand written copy. The product is based on sourcing the finest ingredients possible and using 'old school' slow cooking to meld flavors. I have Italian sausage made specifically for me, 90% beef ground and use organic tomato products," Wersing explained. "The tomatoes were decided upon from samples from Italy and the U.S. and doing a blind-tasting evaluation amongst friends. The product I use goes from the fields to the can in eight hours."
Not knowing what to expect, Wersing began selling at the opening day of Beaverton Farmers Market in 2018. He sold out of his 38 containers within two hours and it dawned on him that he had a worthwhile product.
"The experience has been wonderful and life changing; the journey of gathering knowledge, creating and putting it into action is the best I ever enjoyed," Wersing said. "I used to be Jim Wernsing educator and now I am Jimmy Tomato, food entrepreneur, who would have thought."
Beaverton Farmers Market
Southwest Hall Boulevard, between Third and Fifth Streets, Beaverton