SALINAS, Calif. — The recent launch of its bagged, fresh-cut iceless broccoli rabe under the Andy Boy label exemplifies the increasing attention paid to foodservice by D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of California.
The 2-pound bag had a soft opening in restaurants and at retail around March 25, said Gabriela D’Arrigo, marketing coordinator and saleswoman.
A 12-ounce bag was due to start shipping April 29.
“We’re trying to get more involved in the foodservice realm,” D’Arrigo said.
“We’ve done a lot of wholesaler, retailer and broker business. Costco has it and retailers are picking it up, but we really want to arrive at the party in the foodservice world. This is one of the items that we would like to do it with.”
The latest product follows the 2012 rollout of an iceless broccoli rabe that also came pre-washed, but not cut.
“There’s no prep work involved,” D’Arrigo said.
“It’s ready to pull right out of the bag and put in your lunch bowl or saute pan, or go raw in your smoothie.”
“We’ve done a lot of business back East with it,” she said April 11. “We’re still doing some testing and getting a lot of feedback.”
Orders for both sizes — the 2-pound and the 12-ounce — have come from foodservice and retail alike.
D’Arrigo Bros. collaborated with Salinas-based Taylor Farms, which packages the new item. D’Arrigo Bros. worked on the bagged product for a number of years to perfect packaging, D’Arrigo said.
Properly refrigerated, the bagged broccoli rabe has a 16- to 18-day shelf life, she said.
The grower-shipper continues to offer iced broccoli rabe.
During the winter deal in Yuma, Ariz., broccoli rabe was among the commodities whose production was disrupted by alternating extremes of heat and cold.
“We had to harvest it fast, and then once the cold weather came it stayed for a long time,” D’Arrigo said.
“We pretty much just had to go based on averages and say, ‘We can pull this much product at a time, we need to make it last for the rest of the season.’ It was a big shortage this year.”
In Salinas, the situation was much calmer in April. Supplies of broccoli rabe, both iced and iceless, were plentiful.
The same was true of other specialty items grown by the company, such as fennel, nopales and nopalitos.
Nopales — a cactus product — harvest mid-April to the end of August in Gonzales, D’Arrigo said.