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Good Shepherd Food Bank launches new business freezing produce

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The broccoli is grown, processed and distributed in Maine to Hannaford supermarkets and food service company Sodexo.

Maine, USA — Maine-grown and processed broccoli florets will soon be on sale in the frozen aisle at a Hannaford supermarket in the northeast. The Good Shepherd Food Bank, Maine’s largest hunger relief organization, is launching a new for-profit initiative called “Harvesting Good.”

“It’s grown in Maine, processed in Maine, packaged in Maine, and distributed in Maine,” said Simeon Allen, WR Allen’s general manager.

Kristen Miale, president of The Good Shepherd Food Bank, has found ways to allow local farmers to sustain production for more than one season while giving consumers year-round access to high-quality produce. I said I would like to This new attempt starts with broccoli.

“It’s the most popular frozen vegetable that consumers buy, and it grows very well in Maine,” says Miale.

Plus, broccoli harvest season comes right after blueberry season, so Good Shepherd is finally able to partner with many wild blueberry farmers across the state to bring more products to store shelves. But even though the same land was being used for new crops, there were still old problems.

“Without processing capacity anywhere in the Northeast, Maine farmers are limited to selling their products only to the wet market,” says Miale.

Now WR Allen, a wild blueberry processing plant, is working to acquire the right equipment to make it possible. The difference between processing fruits and vegetables, in this case blueberries and broccoli, is that the vegetables must first be heated before they can be frozen.

“We are all aware of how dependent we are on a potentially collapsing global food system, so having local sources of things that are core to our health, like vegetables. is another important factor in this.

Step 1 of this process begins with caribou at Circle B Farm. Broccoli seeds were planted there in his June. Once the broccoli is harvested, it is transported to WR Allen in Orlando where it is washed, cut, blanched and frozen. It is then sent to Wymans in Cherryfield where it is packed and distributed.

“This is a first for all of us here in Orlando,” Allen said.

Allen said he is excited to expand the blueberry processing plant to other produce.

“This should open a window to keep processing facilities running, not just to process wild blueberries for three to five weeks a year, but to process 10 to 12 weeks a year,” Allen said. Told.

In addition to Hannaford’s supermarkets, Good Shepherd also partners with Sodexo. Sodexo is a food service company that supplies food to schools, universities, hospitals and more.

“We can create more quality jobs, support local farms, and ensure healthy food is more accessible to all consumers,” said Miale.

Miale said the goal is for Harvesting Good to be profitable within three years. She said some of the money will be used to support Feeding America food banks throughout the Northeast.