New products, high-tech packs from Rock Garden Herbs - The Packer

New products, high-tech packs from Rock Garden Herbs

10/23/2013 05:06:00 PM
Coral Beach

Thi Squire of Rock Garden HerbsCoral BeachThi Squire, grower, co-owner and product developer at Rock Garden Herbs, Miami, Fla., shows a head of organic sweet baby leaf butter lettuce. The new product is sold as a complete head. Squire said each head has about 300 leaves, all baby-sized.NEW ORLEANS — Rock Garden Herbs introduced several new products at the Coosemans Worldwide Inc. booth at Fresh Summit, including full-sized heads of organic sweet baby leaf butter lettuce. The reseable handle bag for the lettuce earned a nomination for a PMA Impact Award.

Chick Goodman, vice president of Diamond Direct Farms, markets the Rock Garden products for Miami-based husband and wife growers Bill and Thi Squire. Goodman is also vice president of sales and marketing for Coosemans San Francisco division.

Goodman said the lettuce introduced at the show has about 300 baby leaves per head. That means very little waste and very high consumer appeal, Goodman said.

The high-tech bags for the heads of baby lettuce leaves have handles for consumer convenience and easy restocking at retail. The bags have micro perforations that extend shelf life by 20%, Goodman said.

“They are reclosable and when the consumer closes them the micro perforations allow the atmosphere inside to re-equilibrate, extending shelf life in their fridge,” Goodman said.

Recently released in limited distribution, Rock Garden’s Go Micro! MicroGreens blends have regional flavor themes: TexMex and Asian.

Chick goodman, Bill Squire, Thi SquireCoral BeachDiamond Direct Farms vice president of sales and marketing Chick Goodman (left), said new clamshell medleys of organic Go Micro! MicroGreens from Rock Garden Herbs growers Bill (center) and Thi Squire have been introduced in about 1,000 stores in the past four months. Rock Garden also offers organic brussel kale, shown by Bill. “That’s one difference between traditional sprouts and micro greens,” Goodman said. “The micro greens have the full flavor of a full-grown plant but they are nutrient rich like sprouts.”

Another difference involves the food safety risks some retailers and consumers associate with traditional sprouts, Goodman said. He cited the number of retailers that have stopped carrying sprouts in the past two years as an example of the food safety concerns traditional sprouts face because of their drum growing process.

“The micro greens are grown in the field just like other crops,” Bill Squire said.

The packaging for the micro greens has suggestions for use based on flavor profiles. They are available in standup bags and new flexible clamshells. The flexible clamshells use 75% less plastic that traditional ones and were nominated for a PMA Impact Award.

Rock Garden also produces organic brussel kale, described by Goodman as a three-trend item: It's organic, it's kale and it's brussels sprouts.

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Fullei Fresh    
Miami, FL  |  December, 19, 2013 at 10:03 AM

The real issue with traditional sprouts is the facility in which they are produced. It is unfair to clump them all together and say it's the sprouts themselves. If the sprout growers take the proper precautions and maintain high food safety standards, then there isn't a problem. Sprouts are highly nutritious and unfortunately have been given a bad rap. They are misunderstood and not widely known, which we feel causes people to generalize and jump to conclusions. Just think of all the recalls surrounding lettuce, spinach, and cantaloupe. Consumers have gone back to buying them and there is not such a stigma attached. It's all about consumer awareness and education as well as the growers putting food safety at the top of their list of priorities.

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