(March 31, 1:42 p.m) PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Tanimura & Antle Inc., Salinas, previewed its new Artisan Lettuce line for the foodservice industry at the Pebble Beach Food & Wine event, which attracted 53 chefs.

The March 27-30 inaugural event had an emphasis on wine, with 250 wineries represented, but it also gave several produce companies the opportunity to showcase items for the foodservice industry.

Lara Grossman, director of marketing and business development at Tanimura & Antle, said the Artisan Lettuce mixes are so new the company has yet to determine what markets they would approach. She said the company planned to send samples to foodservice operators starting the first week of April.

The line features three mixes of red and green leaf varietals: Baby Oak Blend, Sweet Gem and Tuscan Tango Twosome. Each pair, packed in a “proprietary shrink wrap,” can be prepared by chefs with several cuts and a rinsing, Grossman said.

“They’re varietals that are more popular in Europe, and we’ve taken the idea and brought it over here,” Grossman said.

The foodservice carton has 16 lettuces — four each of the red Sweet Gems, green Sweet Gems, red Baby Oaks and green Baby Oaks — for $11, and the 12-count retail carton has four each of the Sweet Gem, Baby Oak Blend and Tuscan Tango Twosome blends for $15.

Grossman said the Baby Oak Blend has been sold by Trader Joe’s under a private label since August.

“It has been doing very well there,” Grossman said. “They’re soon starting up with their version of the Tuscan Tango under a different name.”

BROCCOLINI BIRTHDAY

Executive chef Craig von Foerster from Sierra Mar Restaurant, Big Sur, helped Mann Packing Co. Inc., Salinas, celebrate the 10th anniversary of its broccoli-kale hybrid, Broccolini. Von Foerster also prepared dishes using products from Tanimura & Antle and Driscoll Strawberry Associates Inc., Watsonville.

Michael Hollister, vice president of sales and marketing for Driscoll’s, said the company intends to be a part of the event in the future.

“This venue offers us a unique opportunity to introduce our berries to the white tablecloth restaurants, executive chefs and consumers,” he said.

Grossman said the event garnered the company exposure to many important chefs.

“We have a lot of interest now,” she said. “The chefs wanted to know where they could pull the product from. So now we’re trying to match up those requests with various distributors around the country.”

The event attracted more than 3,000 wine and food lovers to sample hundreds of wines and foods prepared by chefs from upscale restaurants from across the U.S.

Chefs included Ted Allen, the food specialist from Bravo TV network’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” “Top Chef” Tom Colicchio, “Iron Chef” star Mauharu Morimoto and cookbook authors Gary Danko and Jaques Pepin.

Tanimura & Antle introduces chefs to lettuce line
At the Pebble Beach Food & Wine event, Tanimura & Antle Inc. gave foodservice industry a preview of its new Artisan Lettuce line. The line features three mixes of red and green leaf varietals: Baby Oak Blend, Sweet Gem and Tuscan Tango Twosome.