Coosemans offers microgreens from Northeast grower

07/23/2008 12:00:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier


An arrangement with Koppert Cress USA LLC allows Coosemans Worldwide Inc. to offer a line of microgreens.

(July 23, 9:42 a.m.) Coosemans Worldwide Inc. has launched a line of microgreens through a partnership with a New York greenhouse grower.

The microgreens — amaranth, arugula, Italian basil, opal basil, cilantro and rainbow mix — are grown by Koppert Cress USA LLC, Lake Success, N.Y., at its Cutchogue, N.Y., greenhouse operation.

Koppert Cress began shipping the microgreens in early July. They are packed exclusively for the specialty company under Coosemans’ Diam label in 4- and 8-ounce clamshells. Koppert Cress distributes the packs to Coosemans locations nationwide.

Lolo Mengel, co-owner and general manager of Coosemans D.C. Inc, Jessup, Md., said microgreens are increasing in demand.

“We are seeing fewer sprouts being used in restaurants lately,” she said. “A lot of chefs that are looking for other more cutting-edge garnishes are changing from sprouts that have been around for years to these more exotic-looking microgreens.”

The glass greenhouse operation, on the east end of Long Island, began growing microgreens during the spring.

No dirt, longer shelf life

Nicolas Mazard, manager for Koppert Cress, said the company’s microgreens operation differs from others in that Koppert Cress’ aren’t grown in soil. The company’s offerings are grown in a natural fiber that makes its microgreens less susceptible to bacteria, Mazard said.

He said Koppert Cress’ operations don’t have any dirt and are all constructed of concrete with stainless steel tables.

The process also allows for a longer shelf life. Koppert Cress’ microgreens can be refrigerated up to 10 days, compared with several days for other microgreens, Mazard said.

“With the problems of tomatoes and spinach, more people are looking for clean product now,” Mazard said. “I don’t know of any microgreens grown in the U.S. that are (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point)-certified because they’re grown in dirt. Many people are more and more asking for this kind of safety.”

Mazard said he expects the operation to become HACCP-certified by early August.

In the coming months, Mazard said he plans to increase volumes of the Coosemans microgreens and grow more micro-vegetables, which he sells to chefs in upscale restaurants.

The greenhouse operation, which began in 2002 in the Netherlands, launched its first U.S. franchise in New York in 2006.



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