Columbia Fresh Blog

Produce · Packing · Transportation



  • Everything you need to know about the benefits of CORN

    Corn is widely loved for its tender, sweet flavour. It reminds us of our childhood and corn roasts and huge family gatherings. Corn is also an ingredient in Shepard's Pie, one of the most comforting meals there is. These comfort foods may also make us feel good by stimulating the release of serotonin, the happiness hormone.

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    Why eat corn?  Corn is a source of largely insoluble dietary fibre derived from cellulose, a compound that forms the lining that is sometimes difficult to digest in these grains. The presence of insoluble fibre notably contributes to an increase in stool volume while helping regulate bowel function. As insoluble fibres slow digestion they also produce a feeling of satiety, helping with appetite control and weight management.

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    Corn also contains a good deal of vitamins and minerals. It is a good source of folates, which aid in the process of new cell generation in the body. A folate is also a vitamin essential to foetal development in pregnant women. Corn also contains phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, potassium and vitamin C, as well as vitamins B1, B3 and B5.

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    So what’s keeping you from enjoying the exceptional nutritional benefits of corn?

    For more information on Sunbites corn on the cob, please join our social media sites or visit www.columbiafresh.com/sunbites



  • Sunbites®: Corn and its antioxidant properties

    From the get-go, we associate the antioxidant power of a food with its colour. The more colour, the better its antioxidant potential. Therefore, we wouldn’t be likely to assume that corn is a food known for its antioxidant properties, but it does in fact contain a measure of antioxidants comparable to orange juice with an ORAC1 score of 728.

    In this regard, sweet corn even surpasses certain fruits like papaya, watermelon and pineapple. Who’d have thought? However, this antioxidant power is still relatively low in comparison to that of certain spices, dark chocolate, wild berries and red wine.

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    Antioxidant properties, free radicals… what do these terms mean?

    The antioxidant properties of a food come from, among other things, its vitamin content. These molecules protect the body against damage caused by free radicals, which can lead to several chronic illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.

    Sweet corn is a source of vitamin C, known for its antioxidant function. Corn on the cob also contains other components such as lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that can be linked to the prevention of certain cancers and to improved eye health.

    The bioavailability of these two elements tends to increase in cooking, that is to say that they become easier to absorb by the body. Another important and naturally occurring substance in sweet corn is beta-cryptoxanthin. A carotenoid and precursor to vitamin A, it is also responsible for the yellow pigmentation of sweet corn.

    In all, corn is a quality choice for its nutritional values and its numerous health benefits.

    1. ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) values indicate the antioxidant power of a food source.

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    We thank nutritionist Hubert Cormier for his invaluable contribution to the Sunbites Corn on the Cob’s blog.



  • Retail Sunbites® now available in U.S.

    We are very excited to be able to offer retail packages of our Sunbites® Corn on the Cob.  The handy two-pack is available for immediate shipment to wholesalers, retail store groups, connivence stores, or any other outlets that serve retail customers that might enjoy a vacuum packed ready to eat (RTE) fresh tasting product with NO GMO, NO preservatives and NO additives!  The wrapping machine here is packaging our first load of retail packed corn.

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    We can now offer BOTH a retail package AND foodservice 48 count box all individually wrapped for easy use.  The packaging was designed for U.S. distribution with UPC and nutritional facts, cooking directions, and our website so consumers can learn more about this great product.

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    Shown here, twin packs of sweet corn enter the packaging machine.  Sweet corn is packed 12-2 count packages per case.

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    The finished package, ready for retail distribution.  Contact us through our website: http://columbiafresh.com or email rick@columbiafresh.com for more information.



  • Sunbites® Sweet Corn in practical use...

    It was the 15th annual Dine with the Chefs Gala, a Meals on Wheels fundraiser where area chefs provide food and services for a multi-course meal for up to 400 guests each year!  The event is the charities largest fundraiser!  Chef Ruben Calvo, from Ruben's Mexican Grill located in Dyer, IN was a featured chef preparing an appetizer for the dinner.

    Sunbites_002Chef Ruben was featured in a recent video using Sunbites® to make a traditional Mexican dish called "Elote" where he showed how to prepare the ear of corn using mayo, grated cheese, a combination of spices, and lime juice.

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    On Sunday, he needed sweet corn for his appetizer and decided to use the Sunbites® sweet corn in his dish.  And why not, it is fully cooked, vacuum sealed, refrigerated, and ready to use.  His appetizer was a Smoked Brisket Tostada with Tomato Cream & Mexican Coleslaw!  Pictured here, the dish was light, fresh, and refreshing helping the diners in Northwest Indiana think about Spring, which will soon be arriving there.

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    The corn relish recipe was: 1-cup of sweet corn on the cob (cut kernels off the cob), 1 oz. of fresh Mexican epazote herb, 1 red pepper (roasted, peeled & chopped), and salt to taste.  Watching the chefs work together to assist Chef Ruben with his dish was amazing.

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    Watch Chef Ruben's video here: https//vimeo.com/157167151

    Soon, Chef Ruben will be featuring Sunbites® in his restaurant offering the Elote dish as a side dish and appetizer.  Watch his video to learn more.  Much thanks to Chef Ruben for his innovative ways to use the sweet and crunchy taste of Sunbites® sweet corn in his recipes!



  • Sunbites® Sweet Corn - Fully Cooked Vacuum Packed

    We are excited to be the U.S. importer and distributor of this amazing new product. This corn offers a consistent taste, size, and availability for both food service and retail applications. The process from field to vacuum pack maintains the sweet corn's fresh taste and sweetness as well as that great crunch when biting into it. The product received rave reviews from chefs and food service providers at the Atlanta, GA Foodservice Expo held last October. We are currently presenting this product to food service providers as well as potential U.S. retailers. Watch for more news as we bring this product to market! Enjoy this video...



  • Fresh tasting sweet corn available year-round!

    We are excited to be representing a new sweet corn with a great, fresh taste for the food service industry.  The sweet corn, available in 6-inch or 3-inch long cobs, is pre-cooked and vacuumed packed, offering an amazing long shelf life when kept refrigerated.

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    The sweet corn variety is bi-colored (yellow and white kernels mixed) offering great visual appeal versus a typical all yellow variety cob.  "You will not believe the taste of this corn as compared to frozen products offered today," comments Dewight Hall, owner of Columbia Fresh Produce.

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    The corn will be displayed and sampled at the upcoming Atlanta Food Service Expo on October 19 and 20, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA.  "We cannot wait to introduce this great new product to the food service buyers at the show," offered Rick Bella, Director of Business Development at Columbia Fresh.  "The taste of this sweet corn and the crispness of the kernel is no comparison to what the industry is using today.  I know buyers will be very interested in this great-tasting and easy-to-use product," he added.

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    The corn is grown in some of the richest vegetable growing regions of North America.  The corn offers not only a consistent size, it also has simple and fast warming preparation times, allowing users to prepare what is needed quickly.  Warming can be done via microwave, steam tables, boiling, or grilling.  Since the product is pre-cooked, it only needs to be brought to serving temperature.

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    The variety of uses this corn offers extends beyond a side dish or entree complement to include appetizers and small plate menus.  Columbia Fresh is looking forward to presenting this great product as an alternative in the fresh food category.

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    For additional information, contact Rick Bella at Columbia Fresh via email: rick@columbiafresh.com or by phone: (509) 593-5100.



  • Packing fresh oranges & apples in 5-pound bags

    This week we received orders for bagged fruit for two food banks. One load of apples packed in 5# bags and placed in 120 count bins. The other order was for apples and oranges both packed in 5# bags and placed inside tri-wall cardboard bins. The orders are packed fresh to order so we can deliver the best possible quality for hunger relief.Oranges1

    Fresh California oranges are washed for use at the packing shed bagging them into 5# bags for hunger relief. These oranges will be delivered to the Food Bank of Alaska in Anchorage! Their order will consist of 30 bins (120 bags in each bin) of oranges and 30 bins of 5# bagged Washington State apples giving the food bank a nice variety for the hunger relief agencies that they serve.

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    Below are the actual Red Delicious apples used to prepare their order.  The bags are packed by hand and placed inside (3-ply) cardboard bins for easy handling and storage at the food bank.

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    Below is the finished product for the Food Bank of Alaska! The 5# bags resemble what you might typically find inside a grocery store that allows the food bank agencies to offer fresh produce that is easy to recognize by agency recipients.  An important issue when serving our nation's hungry.

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  • Columbia Fresh Packing received USDA certifications

    Kennewick, WA – Columbia Fresh Packing, a fresh produce packer located in Kennewick, Washington announced today that it has passed an audit and received USDA certification for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP). The packing shed passed rigid requirements and inspection to receive the certification.

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    “We are excited to obtain the USDA certification,” said Brad Gentry, COO of Columbia Fresh. “It is great to be recognized for the good sanitary and packing practices that our shed provides,” he added. “We look forward to continued audits to keep us consistent in our handling practices,” added Dewight Hall, owner of Columbia Fresh.

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    Columbia Fresh Packing packs fresh market apples and sweet cherries. The packing shed is located at Cherry Ridge Farms in Kennewick. Cherry Ridge grows 100 acres of fresh sweet cherries as well as 10 acres of apples.   The farm is also known for its annual Mother’s Day Flowering Basket sale held the first weekend of May each year. Almost 3,000 decorative baskets decorate many cities in the area.

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    The USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service, Fruit and Vegetable Program, Specialty Crops Inspection (SCI) Division Audit Programs offers voluntary independent audits of produce suppliers throughout the production and supply chain. SCI Division Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) audits focus on best agricultural practices to verify that fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled, and stored in the safest manner possible to minimize risks of microbial food safety hazards. SCI Division GAP and GHP audits verify adherence to the recommendations made in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables and industry recognized food safety practices.

    In 2014, the USDA Audit Program performed over 3,800 Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) audits in 46 states and Canada, covering over 90 commodities.



  • Our crazy weather affects more than just how we feel...

    Cooler weather in Florida...

    A slow start to new-crop Florida production and continued weather-related problems in Mexico put a dent in tomato volumes and size at the beginning of spring.

    In the second half of March, Homestead, Fla.-based The DiMare Co. was beginning to see the effects of a February cold snap on its Immokalee, Fla., tomato crop, said Tony DiMare, vice president.

    “Yields are starting to fall, size was down last week, and it’s down again this week,” DiMare said March 24, adding that warm March weather also was having effects.

    “We’re basically having March weather in April.”

    Rain and hail in Mexico and light production during the Florida transition led to a demand exceeding supplies in the second half of March, said Chuck Weisinger, president and chief executive officer of Fort Myers, Fla.-based Weis-Buy Farms Inc.

    Find out more using the link below to the article found in The Packer

    http://www.thepacker.com/news/weather-limits-tomato-volumes-size-profile



  • Excited to share new website today to you all!

    Today, we emailed an announcement to our customers and friends about our new website. Not only are we providing various information about Columbia Fresh Produce, but we are sharing information about our other sister companies who enhance our fresh produce business. Columbia Fresh Packing now allows us to pack bulk fruits and vegetables into a variety of sizes to fill customer orders. It also allows us to sort produce so we can offer various sizes of fruit. Columbia Fresh Transportation Services allows us to service our customers from field to warehouse keeping a close eye on the entire supply chain to assist us in making sure we have good delivery of your products.

    Welcome to our new site... take a look around and let us know how we can improve it to meet your needs.  -Columbia Fresh



  • Columbia Fresh Packing

    Whether you are a grower, looking for a smaller, more personal experience, a seller looking for a repacking facility, or a packing shed looking for assistance in pre-sizing your fruit, you’ve come to the right place!

    Who We Are
    At Columbia Fresh Produce we have spent a number of years working with packing facilities throughout the United States and Canada, to bring you, our customer, the best quality product. These relationships are now stronger than ever, and we continue to pride ourselves in the quality that we can represent through these various partnerships.

    As we continued to grow, we felt it a critical next step to invest capital, gained knowledge, and a whole lot of elbow grease into our own packing facility. This opportunity would not only allow us to pack our own orchard grown fruit, but work with growers around Eastern Washington, packing their fruit with the same service and support we’ve built our reputation on.

    In January of 2014, we officially opened Columbia Fresh Packing, Inc.

    What We Can Do

    And while we are well versed in packing apples and pears, we are able to pack a variety of other items, including potatoes and onions. Our system is designed to float fruit down a flume, or dry dump non-floating and packaged product right onto the sorting line.

    We pack Into
    3 LB, 5 LB & 10 LB Bags
    Volume Filled Boxes
    Tray Packed Boxes
    Plastic, Wood, and Cardboard Bins
    And more...
    We look forward to servicing you in any way we can!



  • New mobile-friendly website set to launch soon!

    We are very excited to share the news of our new website. The website will feature a shopping cart highlighting current real-time fresh produce offers. Customers are pre-approved for entry into the cart for detailed produce load information. Any visitor to the site can visit the shopping area to review what is available and from what area of the country.

    Visit the site here: Columbia Fresh Produce

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  • Our thoughts are focused on the east coast today!

    We would like to wish everyone well on the eastern seaboard who were in the path of the winter storm. We have many wonderful and hard working food bank customers in that region. We hope that you all are doing well, keeping warm, and are well fed. Let us know how we can assist you. Be safe.

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/27/us/weather-storm/index.html

     

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