Blanching and Freezing
A state-of-the-art IQF freezer is now located at the facility along with a blanching/freezing process, which helps explore new ways and benefits for freezing produce. This allows for testing of the process variations associated with different crops. The information is then provided to growers to assist with crop selection, as well as potential buyers searching for locally-produced product in the off season.
The cryogenic freezer uses liquid nitrogen as a medium to "flash freeze" product. A temperature as low as 50 below zero is achieved in a very short time which enables product nutrients (and other desired characteristics) to be captured immediately. This service is especially helpful for growers 1) with excess product at the end of the season 2) wishing to grow more product for new clients 3) interested in expanding current crop selection.
The freezer has opened up new market opportunities for growers and additional business models will be explored. Critical elements such as storage and transportation are unique compared to traditional channels for product and needs to be evaluated by each grower. To date, crops such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, green beans, brussel sprouts, and others have been incorporated into the process.