In December, Oxnard-based San Miguel Produce added a curly spinach variety to its Cut ‘n Clean cooking greens line.
Closer to the outbreak, Salinas-based River Ranch Fresh Foods LLC introduced a pair of baby spinach products under its Popeye Fresh label in March 2007.
Seed supply locked in
Church Bros.’ red spinach has been in development for about a year, grown initially at trials in the Salinas and Yuma, Ariz., areas.
The color is from the seed variety and differences in farming method, said Van Eeghen, who expects competition.
“There are a bunch of different varieties out there that we tested and really only one stood out that could be commercially grown,” he said. “We have the seed supply on that locked up through 2013.”
He declined to name the supplier. The Culinary Institute of America provided sensory analysis of the variety, plus menu and usage ideas.
The spinach is grown in limited quantities but volume will at least triple in the coming year, Van Eeghen said.