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Oregon Cherry Growers’ New Pouches Spotlight Maraschinos

Grower-owned cooperative Oregon Cherry Growers, known for perfecting the original maraschino cherry and debuting the first line of maraschinos made with non-GMO certified Fairtrade® cane sugar, is unveiling its latest innovation – this time in packaging. The cooperative’s popular Royal Harvest™ Bordeaux-Style Maraschinos and The Royal Cherry® Maraschinos, featuring hand-picked cherries grown in the Northwest, are now available in stand-up pouches at select retailers across the country, liquor stores in Oregon and on

The no-mess, convenient and re-sealable stand-up pouches are the first to market in the maraschino category, and feature transparent packaging for product visibility. As with all Oregon Cherry Growers products, the cherries are of the highest quality and freshness standards.

“We take great pride in delivering the products our customers are looking for, and we know convenient packaging is an increasingly important factor,” said Tim Ramsey, Oregon Cherry Growers President and CEO. “We have had great response to the new pouches so far and expect them to be popular with people looking to enhance their cocktail experience or liven up their desserts.”

The pouches are available in three varieties:

· Royal Harvest Bordeaux-Style Maraschino Cherries, which are rich and dark in color, free of preservatives, made with natural ingredients and sweetened with Non-GMO certified Fairtrade® cane sugar. Available in 8- and 4-ounce sizes.

· Royal Harvest Nature’s Maraschino Cherries, which are ruby red cherries, free of preservatives, made with all natural ingredients and sweetened with Non-GMO certified Fairtrade cane sugar to retain that “just picked” cherry taste. Available in the 4-ounce pouch.

· The Royal Cherry Maraschinos are Oregon Cherry Growers’ traditional maraschino cherries with stems. Available in 8- and 4-ounce sizes.

Suggested retail prices are $3.69 for a 4-ounce pouch and $4.69 for the 8-ounce, available immediately in eight pack cases.

Carla’s Pasta Launches in Big Y Markets

Carla’s Pasta’s new line of frozen, ready-to-eat pastas and pestos will be launched at all 64 Big Y locations starting this month. Big Y® is a family owned and family oriented retail food company headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts.

“We could not be happier or more proud to launch our best in class pasta products with the best in class grocery chain like Big Y,” said Sandro Squatrito, Vice President of Business Development for Carla’s Pasta. “To this day, we make everything the way that Mom always did, just a bit more of it.” Carla’s Pasta is made at a state of the art production facility in South Windsor, Connecticut. The company has about 165 employees.

The Carla’s Pasta product line at Big Y includes Cheese Ravioli, Cheese Tortellini, Gluten Free Penne and Six Cheese Sacchettini, which come in a revolutionary microwave bag that has been over a decade in development. The line also includes microwavable steam bag meals, which include Mac & Cheese, Six Cheese Ravioli with Marinara, Tortellini Alfredo and Buttered Noodles. In addition to the microwavable line, which is ready in minutes, they have a line of frozen specialty raviolis in clam shell packaging which include Spinach & Egg Striped Cheese Ravioli, Tomato & Egg Striped Ravioli, Tuscan Style Vegetable Ravioli, Sage & Egg Striped Butternut Squash Ravioli, Spicy Italian Sausage Ravioli, Shrimp Scampi Ravioli, Vegan Ravioli and Gorgonzola Pacchetti. In addition to the eight year round flavors, Carla’s Pasta has a seasonal rotation program of four specialty ravioli flavors; fall’s flavor is Pumpkin Ravioli. The product line also includes four varieties of pestos: Basil PestoBasil Pesto with Pine Nuts, Sundried Tomato Pesto and Wild Mushroom Pesto. In addition to the four current pesto offerings, Carla’s Pasta is working on introducing Kale Pesto, which will be coming soon.

American Born Moonshine Celebrates Second Anniversary

American Born Moonshine celebrated its two-year anniversary with a nod to the past and a push to the future. Founded in 2013 by Patrick Dillingham and Sean Koffel as the lead product of Windy Hill Spirits, American Born Moonshine has expanded its reach to 24 states, while also staking its claim as the fastest growing moonshine brand in the United States, doubling its sales volume over the past year.

“2015 has been an incredible growth year for American Born Moonshine,” says Co-founder Sean Koffel. “We are now available in 25 states across the nation and we have expanded our reach with national marketing campaigns in music and racing as well as local bartender campaigns to help give people the best moonshine experience. We are looking forward to a great rest of the year with more growth on the way for 2016.”

In the past year, Windy Hill Spirits’ first brand has achieved overwhelming success. American Born Moonshine is identified by many as the most authentic and best tasting in the category and is poised to be the category leader. Earlier this year, Windy Hill Spirits kicked off a number of partnerships with large national retail and grocery chains including Kroger’s, Walmart, Safeway, and Albertson’s and expects this to be a significant area of future growth for the brand. In addition, American Born Moonshine has grown geographically and organically over the past 12 months, doubling sales volume and depletions in the same time frame.

“We have seen tremendous positive feedback on American Born Moonshine since we rolled this out in Florida earlier this year,” said Eric G. Pfeil, Vice President of Sales, Premier Beverage Company. “The volume has surpassed our initial expectations and projections. Additionally, the folks from ABM have been very responsive with the market needs, and have provided excellent resources. We are looking forward to continued success with the brand and with Windy Hill Spirits as a whole.”

To celebrate its incredible growth over the past two years, American Born Moonshine will be unveiling a new program called #sharetheshine, which will honor the bartenders, retailers and bootleggers who serve the company’s moonshine this fall and winter. American Born Moonshine will be utilizing the hashtag #sharetheshine to track pictures of bartenders serving these participants and will select the most creative image as a winner every two weeks. The winner will be contacted and will receive an American Born Moonshine crate filled with the best “ABM Moonshine Bootlegger gear.” To participate, people just need to like or follow @AmericanBornMoonshine on Instagram and post their most creative image embodying #sharetheshine. Participants can tag a friend or two they’d like to share the shine with and then hashtag #sharetheshine. Winners will be chosen randomly.

There are three different types of American Born Moonshine – Original, Apple Pie and Dixie:

  • American Born Moonshine Original “White Lighting” is a 103-proof, unaged corn whiskey made from a blend of corn, sugar and water. The recipe is high in corn content yet still embraces the sugar to allow for a smooth finish and remarkable mixability.
  • American Born Moonshine Apple Pie is 83 proof made from a 100 percent corn base with natural apple and cinnamon flavors.
  • American Born Moonshine Dixie is an 83-proof sweet tea-flavored moonshine. Dixie is made from a corn base combined with natural tea flavors.

Patent-Pending Packaging Protects Coffee Flavor


For the first time in the history of coffee, there’s a packaging that will preserve the cold-brewed beverage without refrigeration. Coffee concentrate packaged in a bag-on-valve system is shelf-stable for three years or more and comes out of the can with the same taste and aroma it had when it was freshly brewed, according to BOV Solutions Founder and CEO Paul Hertensen.

“The packaging is specifically designed for today’s cold coffee drinks,” he said. “It looks like an aerosol can, but it’s not aerosol. This is a pure, natural coffee product with nothing added. There are no preservatives. No refrigeration is required.”

BOV Solutions has partnered with the world’s largest coffee-brewing company, which is making the coffee concentrates that are packaged inside the BOV Solutions’ bag-on-valve cans. The coffee concentrate itself is enclosed inside a bag so that it’s in an oxygen-free environment and is never touched by propellants. Then the can is pressurized outside the bag, and that pressure provides the force that propels the coffee concentrate out of the can when the valve is opened. The can is made from 100 percent fully recyclable aluminum, so there’s no landfill impact, and shelf-stability tests have shown no change in the coffee after three years without refrigeration. “The flavor is still there; the aromas, still there. It’s exactly the way it was when it was put into the can,” Hertensen said.

Flavor stays the same because the sealed bag protects the coffee from the oxidation that changes the flavor of coffee as it sits in an open container. “Our coffee tastes the same from the first cup to the last cup with no changes whatsoever,” Hertensen said.

All the consumer has to do to prepare the beverage is to dispense a quarter of an ounce of the coffee concentrate into hot or cold water. “You absolutely need no equipment whatsoever. All you need is hot water or cold water or milk, whatever you use to make your coffee drink,” Hertensen said. The coffee concentrate can also be used as a flavoring ingredient for foods like ice creams or baked goods. “It has no bitterness,” Hertensen added. “All the bitterness has been removed.”

The same technology can also be used to package tea concentrates. At-home preparation for those also requires just the dispensing of a quarter of an ounce of the concentrate into a glass of ice water or a cup of hot water. “Tea is also a cold-brewed process,” Hertensen said. “We get the pure flavor of the tea.”

The technology has patents pending around the world, Hertensen says. “What we actually patented was the ability to put a coffee or tea concentrate into a bag on valve. We also patented putting the bag-on-valve into a dispensing system.”

“This is the most exciting product I’ve ever had my fingers on by far,” he added. “People are dying for us to get it onto the market.”

BOV Solutions’ profits from sales of the coffee and tea packaging will be donated to a new veteran’s organization that’s providing an outdoor recreational retreat area for disabled veterans and first responders. “It’s a good cause. There are organizations helping these veterans get mobile, but there’s no place they can go to enjoy outdoor sports that has equipment modified for them,” Hertensen said. “It’ll be totally free of charge to the veterans. This is drastically needed for those who serve and protect us and have been disabled doing so. It’s a marvelous thing because it will help them feel whole again.”

The recreational facility will also be available to firefighters, police officers and other first responders who have become disabled through the performance of their duty as public servants, Hertensen said. “It’s a great organization.”


To Meat or Not to Meat

White-tablecloth chefs are beginning to pass the word that they’re interested in moving meat off the center of the plate, and they say that that’s in response to request from their customers who are interested in eating less meat but have no intention whatever of cutting back on flavor. Specialty food producers are hearing those whispers as well, and they’re also responding.

Sweet Earth Natural Foods is producing a line of handheld sandwich options that include no meat but will appeal to consumers who want options for multiple day parts. Think about McDonald’s decision to offer breakfast all day long and the early success of that strategy and about growing acceptance of the burrito as a breakfast option, and you’ll see why this is an idea with legs.

Quorn is a market leader in meat alternatives because it tastes great and even mimics the texture of poultry. Made from mycoprotein, which is derived from a fungus, the taste and mouth feel of the company’s chik’n and turk’y products are winning fans.

While the meat alternatives are offering great options for people who want to cut back on the amount of meat they’re consuming, other consumers are bound to decide that the way they prefer to go is to find meat choices that will give them more satisfaction. For some of those folks, Lone Mountain Wagyu, which won awards in this year’s sofi Awards competition, will be an option to consider. Vermont Smoke & Cure offers another line of meat snacks with great taste that will hit some of the same marks.


McCrea’s Candies Named a 2016 Good Food Awards Finalist

McCrea’s Candies has been selected as a Good Food Awards Finalist. The Boston-based maker of small-batch handcrafted caramel secured its spot in the awards’ Confections Category.

Each year, the Good Food Awards celebrate tasty, real food that is responsibly made, and grants awards to outstanding American food producers and the farmers who provide their ingredients.

In further news, USA Today has recognized McCrea’s in its 10 Best “Best Gift for Foodies” competition. The contest features twenty exceptional products curated by a panel of food and travel experts. Readers of the national newspaper vote for their favorites. McCrea’s currently ranks fourth in the competition.

“We are thrilled that both The Good Food Awards and USA Today have recognized McCrea’s Candies as a company that not only produces exceptional caramel but one that strives to do good at the same time,” said Kate McCrea, the company’s co-founder. “It is important to us that we give back to our communities, pay a fair price for ingredients, and are environmentally responsible. All of which helps us on our mission to make world’s best caramel.”

The recognition from The Good Food Awards and USA Today comes hot on the heels of the company’s placement as a finalist in the Martha Stewart Living American Made Awards. In addition, McCrea’s Candies caramels were awarded the Yankee Magazine Editor’s Choice Food Award in 2014 and named Best New Autumn Product at the 2013 New England Made Specialty Food Show. McCrea’s Candies also received Best Candy honors at the 2012 New England Dessert Showcase.

McCrea’s Candies was founded by husband-wife team Jason and Kate McCrea. Building upon backgrounds in biology and chemistry, the McCrea’s transitioned into the sweet science of candy making after double layoffs. Started in a home kitchen, McCrea’s Candies now offers a full line of mouthwatering caramels to retail outlets throughout North America.

The hallmark of the McCrea’s Candies line is its use of striking seasonings to produce provocatively-flavored caramel candies. McCrea’s flagship product features Hawaiian black lava sea salt swirled into caramel to provide a salty-sweet mouthful. Basil and cayenne are combined for a heat and sweet treat. Additional flavor combinations include ginger fusion, curried butternut, and rosemary truffle sea salt. McCrea’s also offers such classic flavors as vanilla, scotch, chocolate, maple, mocha, and coffee.



Three New Flavors of Meat Sticks from Vermont Smoke & Cure


By Lorrie Baumann

Vermont Smoke Cure imageVermont Smoke & Cure launched a bold new brand design and three new flavors of its Meat Sticks during this year’s Natural Products Expo East. Like the other half-dozen flavors of the better-for-you meat snacks in the line, the Spicy Italian Pork, Rosemary Thyme Chicken and Teriyaki Chicken Sticks are gluten free and contain considerably less fat and salt than competing meat sticks.

We are working to make the whole meat business better – with new products made from vegetarian-fed meats that are raised with no antibiotics or added hormones,” says Chris Bailey, Vermont Smoke & Cure’s CEO. “Our new packaging look better conveys our clean ingredients and the positive impact we work to bring about in our community and landscape.”

Vermont Smoke & Cure Meat Sticks start with quality meat. Beef in the sticks comes from lead supplier Pineland Farms Natural Meats in Maine or other similar suppliers. Pork comes from DuBreton in Quebec or from Coleman Natural Foods, which works with family farmers throughout the country to produce meat raised entirely without antibiotics.

Our Sticks don’t have overwhelming flavors – you get nice spice and you can still taste the meat,” Bailey says. “It’s all ingredients you’d find in your kitchen, just meat and spices with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.”

The Sticks have been the fastest-growing part of our business,” he added. “The bacon has been growing quite well also, but the Sticks have been outpacing it.”

To fulfill the demand for its products, the company just installed the equipment for quadrupling its processing capacity. Its Meat Sticks, which retail for $1.69 to $1.99, are currently distributed nationally in Whole Foods and through major natural foods distributors to hundreds of co-ops and natural and conventional grocers around the country.

For more information, visit


Gourmet Sausage from the Heart of Montana


By Lorrie Baumann

Uncle Bill’s Sausages started with a breakfast burrito. Today, Uncle Bill’s Sausages makes 50 varieties of sausage that are sold in supermarkets across Montana.

That breakfast burrito came into the story when Bill Stoianoff went to San Francisco to attend the Winter Fancy Food Show. He was staying with a friend, and he thought he’d make her a nice breakfast burrito one morning to help show his gratitude for the lodging. To make his burrito, he says, you boil a potato the night before, and then in the morning, you cube it up, dice an onion and fry it, and you scramble an egg with some sausage in it. He’d bought some chorizo to put into it, but when he opened the package and looked at it, it scared him so badly that he just tossed it into the garbage. “It was one of those aha moments where you think, ‘I could do this better,’ and that’s what I do,” he says. “I said, ‘You know, I could make this from pork shoulder, and it would be better.’”

That started something. In 1987, he went to New Orleans to take lessons in andouille. “I had a letter of introduction, and in the South, a proper introduction is everything,” he says. “I couldn’t get the good stuff, so I learned to make it.”

Uncle Bill Making Sausage at K C Foods 003He came back to Montana from New Orleans, met up with a friend who was opening a Cajun restaurant and made up a batch of the andouille he’d just learned to make. “We were in business after that,” he says. “I used to make it in a teeny kitchen in the back of a bar that was about three phone booths big.” Then after a few years, a butcher who was supplying him with his meat offered him the use of his kitchen, and Stoianoff made his sausage there for the next 15 years. “It’s just kind of the Montana way of things,” he says. “You just say, ‘This seems like a good idea,’ and run with it.”

For the past nine years, he’s been making his sausage in a commercial processing kitchen called the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center in Ronan, Montana. It’s a hundred-mile drive from Stoianoff’s home in Missoula, but it’s worth the drive because it’s also a US Department of Agriculture-inspected facility, which allows for commercial production. “Before that, I could only sell in the farmers market,” Stoianoff says. “Now I can sell to grocery stores.”

It’s just wonderful. I went to Bozeman to get more USDA training,” he says. “To do USDA, you have to be perfect. But once you’re certified, people will buy it because they know it comes from a completely clean situation.”

Stoianoff insists on using only high-quality ingredients. “No preservatives, no additives, no fillers, low fat, low salt, and I grind all my spices from whole just before I use them,” he says. “It’s made with pork shoulder. No noses, hoses or roses. They call that offal for a reason.”


Gift Ideas from Tortuga Rum Cake Company

Tortuga Rum Cakes editTortuga Rum Cake Company is known world-wide for authentic and original Tortuga Caribbean Rum Cakes. Baked in the Caribbean from a generations old island family recipe, the cakes are made with the finest ingredients and special oak-barrel-aged Tortuga gold rum. Each cake is hand glazed and vacuum sealed, locking in the delicious freshness and giving the cakes a shelf life of 12 months.

The company also offers Chocolate Rum Turtles with Sea Salt, Caribbean sauces, flavored gourmet coffees including single-serve coffee, rum balls and rum fudge. Tortuga is also now offering homemade Salt Water Taffy with Rum. It is made from a special recipe and with the finest ingredients.

Sweet Salt Water Taffy will bring back memories from your travels to sea side destinations including the Caribbean. Each package includes eight unique flavors that are individually wrapped: TORTUGA Rum and Cola, TORTUGA Rum, TORTUGA Coconut Rum, TORTUGA Banana Rum, TORTUGA Mango Rum, TORTUGA Pineapple Rum, TORTUGA Orange Liqueur and TORTUGA Rum Punch.

The taffy boasts a shelf life of 12 months and has received rave reviews on the delicious tropical, rummy flavors. This new treat is a perfect addition to the delicious gourmet products you offer year-round.

Wixon Welcomes Greg Gonzales, Packaging Operations Manager

Wixon, a manufacturer of seasonings, flavors and technologies for the food and beverage industry, has named Greg Gonzales as Packaging Operations Manager.

In his new role, Gonzales is responsible for oversight of the packaging department, including scheduling and management of facility staff, directing lean manufacturing practices, and coordinating and ensuring compliance with established standards for production and quality.

Gonzales has more than 20 years of food industry experience from a variety of production management assignments, with companies including Kangaroo Brands/ConAgra Foods, Unilever, and Ventura Foods. He has previously implemented TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) lean manufacturing programs and lead teams to achieve Level 3 in the SQF (Safe Quality Foods) Certification.

Gonzales and his wife reside in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, and have four boys. In his spare time, he enjoys coaching soccer and baseball within the community.

For more than 100 years, Wixon has been a trusted provider of flavors, seasonings, and technologies for food and beverage manufacturers. With its scientific and culinary capabilities combined with a passion for service, Wixon drives innovation and solutions for its customers. Wixon focuses on its core areas of expertise: Industrial Ingredients, including Foodservice; Consumer Products; and Protein. Customers are encouraged to tap into a portfolio of services, including R&D, custom formulation development, turnkey solutions, and menu ideation. Wixon ingredients are globally-sourced and go beyond FDA standards to ensure quality and cleanliness. The company also offers spice grinding, blending, and a complete line of package engineering options. Located in St. Francis, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee, Wixon is GFSI Certified to FSSC 22000, ISO9001 Certified, and QAI Organic Certified. More information on Wixon or any of its products may be obtained at or by calling 414.769.3000.


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