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.
“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.