Courtesy Church Bros.The Power Mix salad from Church Bros. has baby kale, chard, spinach and red lolla rosa lettuce. It ships three 1-pound bags to a carton.SALINAS, Calif. — Church Bros. LLC is introducing four leafy greens products for foodservice under its Tuscan and True Leaf Farms labels.
Packing of the blends and salads started at the company’s San Juan Bautista plant April 15. They’re aimed at capitalizing on trends, such as kale, and offering new flavor and color combinations.
Church Bros.’ Power Mix and Wild Rocket salad each ship three 1-pound bags per carton under the Tuscan label for specialty items. The Tuscan brand’s other offerings include red spinach.
Power Mix is a blend of baby kales, chards, spinach and red lolla rosa lettuce.
“It’s one of those high-nutrition items with a little color as well,” said Ernst Van Eeghen, director of marketing and product development.
“The different chards — yellow, red and especially the lolla rosa — give it color. The baby kale, chards and spinach are the three powerhouse ingredients nutritionally.”
“Kale has been an exploding category for us,” Van Eeghen said. “Sales have been steadily increasing by dramatic numbers. We’ve increased our kale plantings six or seven times over, compared to last year. There’s demand for a little bit of differentiation within the kale category, so that’s what we’re doing.”
The Wild Rocket salad blends arugula with lolla rosa. Rocket is another name for arugula.
“The peppery wild arugula is nicely balanced by the soft, mellow nuttiness of lolla rosa,” Van Eeghen said.
True Leaf additions
The other new products — Treviso Blend and Cascade Mix — carry the True Leaf Farms label and ship in four 2-pound bags per carton. Shelf life is 16 days.
“Treviso is a European specialty radicchio variety that has a much tenderer, softer bitter tone than radicchio,” Van Eeghen said. “The color is bright red. We packed chopped romaine with chopped treviso.”
Treviso Blend marks a somewhat different use for romaine, its other ingredient.
“It’s a new type of fresh-cut item in the fresh-cut category, not just chopped romaine but with chopped treviso in there too,” he said. “The smooth bitterness complements the sweetness of the chopped romaine. It’s an upscale fresh-cut romaine option with a nice Tuscan mouth feel.”
Treviso is longer than regular radicchio — oval, rather than round.
Cascade Mix blends green leaf and romaine heart leaves, with a small amount of radicchio to add color. “They’re small heart leaves, not chopped, with a little bit of arugula,” Van Eeghen said.