2/12/14 — Farm to Freezer Launch at Oleson’s Food Store
Farm to Freezer is a social enterprise of Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan, wherein local produce is purchased, processed, and flash frozen by individuals experiencing barriers to employment. Trainees gain valuable and relevant experience in a commercial kitchen setting with the goal of eventually gaining employment in Traverse City’s growing food economy. That’s not all, this program has positive gains for the local food system too. Season extension has long been a discussion point among area growers. By purchasing food at its peak of freshness, and storing it for later consumption, Farm to Freezer is creating new markets for area growers, and increasing product availability for consumers seeking to spend their dollars locally.
Who are those consumers? Many of these products have been sold locally to institutional food systems and local restaurants. The romanesco is a unique local product that is making a splash, especially at TCAPS schools. When it was put on the menu across the district, students had the opportunity to taste test. Of the 101 students that tasted and voted at the Suttons Bay School, 76 “loved it” 14 “liked it” and 11 “tried it” – when was the last time your kids scored a vegetable so highly on your dinner table? “As in the case of local romanesco, our program works to turn food into valuable learning experiences,” explains Tom Freitas, Director of Food and Nutritional Services at TCAPS. “Because local fresh produce choices are limited out of growing season, Farm to Freezer provides a great opportunity for our students to explore local foods and flavors in low production months.”
Farm to Freezer is also proud to offer their products for sale to the community at Oleson’s Food Stores.