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Your brand of ketchup does make a difference. Photo © A.C. Photographer | Fotolia.




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STEPHANIE ZONIS is a contributing editor.



December 2012

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Condiments

First Field Ketchup

Ketchup Goes Gourmet


Check out all of the very special gourmet food gifts in this series.


When ketchup was first known as a condiment, it was made from mushrooms, fish or walnuts—no tomatoes included.

In fact, while food historian Andrew Smith notes that ketchups of several types were being imported into England before 1680, many in that era thought that tomatoes were poisonous. The first known recipe for tomato ketchup was not published until 1804. (Check out the history of ketchup.)

Sadly, over time, what was once a lively, tangy condiment had declined in both status and ingredient quality, gradually becoming the supermarket red stuff you probably grew up with and might still be consuming.

Try Some REAL Ketchup


Real ketchup isn’t like that! Real ketchup has personality.

  • It isn’t sickly-sweet, nor does it contain any kind of corn syrup.
  • Real ketchup adds a little sparkle to the foods with which it’s served; it doesn’t overwhelm them.

Luckily for all of us, a handful of producers across the U.S. have realized that and now make honest ketchup. First Field is one such company.

Made from tomatoes grown on New Jersey farms and ripened on the vine, this ketchup delivers a tangy, piquant taste. With the mouth-filling flavor of good tomatoes and a hint of spices, it’s like late summer in a bottle.

There’s no cloyingly sweet aftertaste, as you find in “supermarket” ketchup brands. And look at this paragraph from the company’s website:

Our ingredients are selected from varieties that are suited to local climate and earth-friendly farming practices. The varieties used in First Field products are selected first and foremost for their superior taste and quality, not for resistance to the stresses of shipment or extended shelf life.

That philosophy alone should tell you that this ketchup is worth a try.


A squiggle of superior ketchup. Photo courtesy SXC.

At present, First Field ketchup is sold online only in a gift-boxed three-pack. Seasonally, the company also makes a Jersey corn relish.


Catsup versus ketchup: the scoop.


Artisan Tomato Ketchup

  • Gift Box
    3 eight-ounce jars
    $29.00 (includes shipping
    within the continental U.S.)

Buy online at

Prices are verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional.

First Field Ketchup
A gift or stocking stuffer for the foodie, and a staple for home use. Photo courtesy First Field.