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Indoor Aquaponics Farm Opens for Business in Minnesota

Urban Organics, a large-scale indoor aquaponics farm located in the historic Hamm’s Brewery building in East St. Paul, Minn. is now open for business. Urban Organics will offer immediate access to fresh, delicious and healthy foods for the Twin Cities community. Its first crops — hyperlocal, organic fresh greens — are on shelves at select Lunds and Byerly’s stores.

Aquaponics is the combined culture of fish and hydroponic vegetable crops in a closed-loop, recirculating aquaculture system (RAS). In aquaponics, fish provide the nutrients that plants need to grow, and the plants act as a filter to improve the water quality for the fish. Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems, Inc. and its team of experts including engineers, horticulturists and biologists worked with Urban Organics to design, install and engineer the world-class system—one of the largest and most advanced aquaponics facilities in the nation.

“Our mission is to inspire a food system for the people, by the people,” says Fred Haberman, co-founder and CEO of Haberman and co-founder and partner in Urban Organics. “We are starting with a community-rooted, self-sustaining aquaponics facility in an area in need of economic revival — East St. Paul.  But this is a test for a movement that can be scaled nationally and internationally. This level of aquaponics could change the world of farming as we know it.”

At Urban Organics, kale, Swiss chard, Italian parsley and cilantro are the first crops, and tilapia will follow in mid-summer.  These fresh, organic local greens don’t depend on the weather or growing seasons and will be available year-round. The produce will be in stores within a day of when it is harvested — the freshest, most local produce available at grocery stores.

“The world’s population — and more specifically the middle class population — is growing, and with it, the demand for fish protein is quickly surpassing sustainable natural fish production. Aquaponics has the potential to help meet the demand, while reducing pressure on fish populations in the wild,” says Randall J. Hogan, Chairman and CEO of Pentair. “Our expertise in water systems and solutions allows us to re-imagine fish farming in a sustainable way that provides a real commercial option to help solve this growing food dilemma, and potentially support urban growth and renewal.”

“This remarkable transformation from stockhouse to aquaponics farm is a true testament to how these old brewery buildings can be revitalized,” says Chris Coleman, Mayor of St. Paul, Minn. “The innovation and passion of the Urban Organics team is inspiring, and I’m proud to welcome them to Saint Paul.”

Urban Organics is an indoor aquaponics facility providing hyperlocal, sustainable, year-round fish and greens to the Twin Cities. To learn more, visit urbanorganics.com and facebook/uo.saintpaul.

Sunshine Burger Receives Cleanest Packaged Food Award from Prevention Magazine

Sunshine Burger, the #1 selling brand of certified organic veggie burgers in America, has been honored with recognition in Prevention Magazine’s2014 Cleanest Packaged Food Awards for its Black Bean South West Burger.

The Black Bean South West Burger, which is made with sunflower kernels, brown rice, jalapeño, carrots, cilantro and black beans, is a good source of plant-based fiber and protein, as well as vitamin A, vitamin E, magnesium, iron and omega-3 essential fatty acids. Like all of the company’s products, the burgers are baked and made with verified non-GMO whole food ingredients – free of wheat, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, corn, dairy, eggs or any added oils.

“We are honored to receive this recognition,” said Cole Jones, General Manager of Sunshine Burger & Specialty Food Company. “Sunshine Burger is dedicated to providing food that is healthful and wholesome and that starts with using real, certified organic, non-GMO ingredients in all of our burgers.”

Sunshine Burgers are available in seven unique flavors – Garden Herb, Loco Chipotle, Barbeque, Falafel, Shiitake Mushroom and Hemp & Sage Breakfast. Last month, the Garden Herb burger was ranked the best-selling meat alternative item in the natural channel by SPINs, a market research company.

For more information about Sunshine Burger and its complete line of products, visit www.SunshineBurger.com or follow the company on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Bobo’s Oat Bars Launches Bobo’s Bites

 For lovers of Bobo’s Oat Bars who want a smaller snack but can’t seem to eat only half of a full bar, the company has just launched Bobo’s Bites. This innovative add-on is about half the size of the original Bobo’s Oat Bars with all the same nutrition and flavor as the full size bars.

Bobo’s Bites features three flavors – Original, PB&J and Apple Pie – in a box of five Bites. As with the regular line of 14 Bobo’s Oat Bars, Bobo’s Bites are made with organic, non-GMO certified ingredients, and are all gluten-free.

This new line extension responds to a growing consumer demand for smaller sized snack foods. According to The Hartman Group’s “Modern Eating: Cultural Roots, Daily Behaviors,” consumers want: interesting, less processed foods, in smaller-sized packages, that can be eaten on the go. In addition, the report states that snacks represent half of eating occasions, almost belying the word “snack,” with food eaten alone and within an hour of purchase representing a large segment.

“We heard our loyal consumers and responded – they asked for Bobo’s Oat Bars but in a smaller size with fewer calories, “ says Bobo’s Founder Beryl Stafford.  “With portion control and snack foods sales soaring, the timing was ideal for us to introduce the Bobo’s Bites.”

Bobo’s Bites are available in select grocery and natural foods stores, retailing for $5.69 per box.

 

Crofter’s Organic Celebrates 25 Years as a Leader in the Organic Fruit Spread Industry

In 1989, Gerhard Latka and his wife Gabriele co-founded Crofter’s Organic in Parry Sound, Ontario, with the dream of creating organic fruit spreads that were nutritious and affordable – an ambitious goal since the organic food industry had not yet gained popularity in North America. Perseverance and belief in the value of Crofter’s low-sugar, organic fruit spreads sustained Crofter’s through the early years. Over the past 25 years, Crofter’s Organic has  blended, jarred and sold antioxidant-rich fruit spreads to jam lovers across North America, fulfilling the original mission to bring the highest quality organic products, “from source to spread,” to consumers. Today, Crofter’s Organic remains family owned and is the largest organic jam manufacturer in North America and the leading brand in the natural channel in the United States.

“From the beginning, we were dedicated to making the best tasting, nutritious, organic fruit spreads, focusing on robust, fresh fruit flavor and an elegantly spreadable consistency but with less sugar than traditional preserves,” said Gerhard Latka, Co-Founder and President of Crofter’s Organic. “We wanted to create products that brought consumers what we like to call ‘accessible organic’; high-quality, low-sugar, non-GMO spreads at an affordable price.”

The demand for lower sugar, more nutrient-dense foods that still taste great is a pervading theme in food formulation these days, as consumers, healthcare providers and nutritionists have become increasingly aware of the negative impact of high-sugar, and nutritionally void foods made with artificial ingredients. As a result, Crofter’s minimally processed, low-sugar products provide shoppers a high-quality organic alternative to traditional jams and preserves, at only 30 calories a serving.

Crofter’s  offers shoppers more than 20 certified organic, Non-GMO Project verified spreads, including the fair trade cane sugar sweetened Premium Spreads, the high antioxidant Superfruit TM spreads and the no added cane sugar Just FruitTM  Spreads. Over the past 25 years, the company has established long-term relationships with suppliers and growers around the world, which means that Crofter’s Organic high-quality ingredients come from the best sources on earth.

Through continued commitment to innovation, Crofter’s aims to remain the benchmark for quality standards, resources, process and products in the fruit spread industry with the goal of making a positive impact on the health and well-being of generations to come.

“We want to be the best low calorie fruit spread,” adds Latka. “The best ingredients, crafted with the utmost attention to quality in our own manufacturing facility, results in a delicious fruit spread that is also healthy – not loaded with sugar or any unnecessary ingredients.”

British Sugar Brand Debuts in U.S.

Tate & Lyle Fair Trade-certified Organic Pure Cane Sugar, Organic Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar and Natural Pure Cane Sugar are being introduced to U.S. consumers by Domino Foods. Tate & Lyle Sugars has grown to become one of Britain’s leading cane sugar brands and will be available to Americans nationwide.

“Domino Foods is proud to leverage an esteemed global asset from the U.K. and bring excitement to the U.S. sweetener category,” said Brian O’Malley, President and CEO of Domino Foods, Inc. “Tate & Lyle Sugars, an established leader in fair trade and a source of high-quality sweetening since 1878, has an iconic brand heritage that we are confident will also delight U.S. consumers.”

All three varieties of the Tate & Lyle sugars are Fair Trade-certified and verified non-GMO. Tate & Lyle Sugars is one of the largest single payers of Fair Trade premium to Fair Trade-certified farmers in the world. Tate & Lyle Organic Pure Cane Sugar and Organic Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar are also certified organic by the international organic certification services of Quality Assurance International.

Mr. Cheese O’s Snacks Set to Roll Out this Summer

Orange tongues and fingers, grease stains, high fructose corn syrup, saturated fat, high calorie counts are the telltale signs of cheese-flavored chips, crisps and crackers.
Until now. Mr. Cheese O’s an all-natural, crunchy, delicious, and fun O-shaped cheese snack has announced its launch at Natural Foods Expo West. Mr. Cheese O’s comes from Sonoma Creamery, an artisan cheese company based in California’s wine country, that makes hormone free, 100-percent natural, gluten-free cheeses. The new healthier, wheat-free, corn-free snack comes in four indulgent varieties, — Original, Cheddar, Tuscan Herb and Sweet Chili — with 10-grams of protein per 1-ounce bag, using organic quinoa and other ancient grains.
Mr. Cheese O’s is a snack every kid will crave and every parent will feel good about serving – not to mention adults craving it themselves! Mr. Cheese O’s will be available in the deli section of national grocery and convenience store chains starting this June.
Mr. CheeseOsSONY DSCMr. Cheese O’s handcrafted all-natural cheese and O-shaped bites that contain no artificial ingredients or artificial hormones. They’re gluten-free, preservative-free, corn-free and wheat-free. Made from organic quinoa and other ancient grains, they contain just 75 calories per serving and 150 calories for the 1-ounce pack. There are 10 grams of protein and 25 percent of the daily value of calcium in each pack, with no trans fat, 0 grams of sugar and 6 grams of carbohydrates. The list of ingredients is short, clear and pronounceable.
“As parents, how can we trust snack products that use ingredients with names we can’t even pronounce?” said Sonoma Creamery’s CEO, John Crean. “In a space that’s dominated by not-so-good-for-you products, and being a dad myself, I’m proud that our new Mr. Cheese O’s product is an extra tasty, crunchy real cheese snack with a clean label and all natural ingredients that parents can feel good about giving their kids – and maybe saving a few for themselves, as well.”
Mr. Cheese O’s is set to roll out nationwide in all four varieties early this summer. One-ounce packs of Mr. Cheese O’s will retail for $2.99. Learn more at http://mrcheeseos.com and like Mr. Cheese O’s on Facebook at http://facebook.com/mrcheesesos.

Brussel Bytes and Snip Chips from Wonderfully Raw

Wonderfully Raw’s latest product introductions are a line of great-tasting good-for-you snack chips called Brussel Bytes and Snip Chips. These are super healthy snacks that are certified organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, Paleo, and vegan.

Brussel Bytes (MSRP $5.99), made from organic Brussels sprouts and pumpkin seeds, are just as nutritious as they are delicious! These tasty green machines are available in two fabulous flavors: Chili Pumpkin Seed Crunch and Tamarind Apple Crunch. These are a great alternative to kale chips

The second new offering, Snip Chips (MSRP $5.99), is a guiltless non-GMO way to indulge in potato chip cravings in tasty varieties like Cheesy Herb Truffle, Chipotle Lime Cilantro, and Dill Pickle. Snip Chip’s powerful combination of organic parsnips and coconut oil make them an excellent source of vitamins C, E, and K, fiber, Omega-3, and potassium.

Wonderfully Raw products are available at select Whole Foods Markets, Sprouts Farmers Markets and grocery and health foods stores throughout the country and can also be purchased online at www.mycocoroons.com.

Greenview Kitchen Organic Sauces Receive Non-GMO Project Verification

Greenview Kitchen, a brand of organic sauces manufactured by Giovanni Food Co. Inc., has received the Non-GMO Project
Verification seal for its organic pizza sauce and organic bruschetta. The verification was awarded by the Non-GMO Project. Greenview Kitchen is one of the first brands of organic pizza sauce and organic bruschetta topping to receive this verification. “We plan to continue the verification process for all future organic products under the Greenview Kitchen brand,” said Louis DeMent, CEO of Giovanni Food Co. Inc.

In addition to receiving the verification seal for these two products, Greenview Kitchen has three organic pasta sauces that are currently in the Non-GMO Project verification process. It is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to being a leader in the organic sauce category. “We are confident that this verification will help to get our brand into more health-food store chains that are committed to non-GMO products,” De Ment said.

The Greenview Kitchen organic products are all kosher, gluten-free and all natural, and will soon have the Non-GMO Project Verified seal on the product labels. In addition, the products are enrolled in the Quality Assurance Institute’s Gluten-Free certification program to further verify the integrity of the products and give consumers the verification they need as many consumers are faced with dietary restrictions that prohibit gluten.

In addition to seeking certification for its own products, Giovanni Food Co. Inc. is helping some of its current and prospective co-packing and private-label customers take the next step in becoming Non-GMO Project verified. For more information about Giovanni Food Co.’s private-label or contract manufacturing services, visit www.giovannifoods.com.

Bobo’s Oat Bars Adds to Gluten-Free Line

With the ever-growing demand from consumers for delicious, gluten-free, snack and convenience foods, retailers are continually looking for new options. Bobo’s Oat Bars has become a favorite go-to because of its great taste, variety, portability and “home-made” quality. The company is expanding its line of gluten-free bars to include Peanut Butter and Jelly and Apple Pie, bringing the number of gluten-free flavors to six, and total number of flavors to 16.

“Moms and kids are a big target market for us, so adding PB&J was a natural line extension to meet that growing demand,” says Beryl Stafford, Founder and President of Boulder, Colorado-based Bobo’s Oat Bars. “The Apple Pie also seemed like a good addition, since it’s one of the most popular flavor profiles for baked goods in the U.S.   Bobo’s are perfect because they taste like the ‘real thing’ but are less sweet, plus high fiber and nutrient dense.”

Bobo’s features a line of snack bars in 14 delicious flavors, including six gluten-free with the two new additions, all made with organic and natural Non-GMO ingredients. The bars are ideal for a light breakfast, ie “a bowl of oatmeal to go,” a pre-workout snack, in a lunch box or yoga bag, or a mid afternoon treat. Bobo’s has enjoyed an impressive annual growth rate of over 50 percent over the past three years, evolving from a home-based operation to national natural foods and specialty store distribution in ten years. Its sights are set on making a big push in 2014 to expand distribution to mainstream grocery stores, outdoor retailer, and more specialty and coffee shops, as well as foodservice outlets. Bobo’s moves to a new 12,000 square foot facility in 2014, more than tripling the existing space. With the new manufacturing space, the company can enhance automation, production capabilities, and add new staff, further increasing potential for growth.

Bobo’s Oat Bars are available at select natural foods and specialty stores nationwide. The company just became Non-GMO Certified as well as Kosher Certified. Bars retail for approximately $2.69 per 3-ounce package.

 

Suja Juice Co. Tops Forbes List Of America’s Most Promising Companies

 Suja Juice Co. was named third among Forbes Magazine’s 2014 list of America’s Top 100 Most Promising Companies.  Suja was also the only consumer packaged goods company within the top 25. The privately held and less than two-year-old certified organic and non-GMO verified cold-pressured juice brand was recognized by Forbes for its substantial growth and success. Forbes announced the top 25 ranked America’s Most Promising Companies list, which includes high-growth, privately held companies with under $250 million in annual revenue. The complete list of 100 companies will be released in the February 10, 2014 issue of the magazine.

Leading the announcement of the Top 25 ranked America’s Most Promising Companies of 2014 on Forbes.com, reporter J.J. Colao explains the reasoning for Suja Juice Co.’s high ranking, “Today Suja, No. 3 on our Most Promising list, is one of the fastest growing consumer product companies in the country, poised to do $50 million in sales in just its second full year of business.”

The secret to Suja’s skyrocketing success in such a short time can be accredited to a diverse team of co-founders who each brought something special to the business when they created the company in May 2012, in addition to the exceptional quality of the juices and smoothies that deliver conscious nutrition and amazing flavor in each sip. What started as a small home-delivery juice service based out of co-founder Eric Ethan and Annie Lawless’s home kitchens, has now grown into a multimillion-dollar national company with the help of co-founders Jeff Church and James Brennan.

Suja Juice Co. now offers three unique lines, including Suja Classic, which is sold at Whole Foods Markets and select natural food stores nationwide, Suja Elements, a smoothie-based line exclusive to Whole Foods Market, and Suja Essentials, which will soon be available in larger grocery store chains such as Safeway and Kroger.

“It is a great honor to be included on the Forbes list of America’s Most Promising Companies of 2014, let alone among the top three companies in the nation,” says Suja co-founder and CEO Jeff Church. “I speak for all of the founders when I say we are humbled by this recognition, and it motivates us to continue our commitment to changing the way America juices.”