Freshway Foods Introduces New Baby Kale Blend

Freshway Foods Introduces New Baby Kale Blend

Freshway Foods announced today that the company will introduce its new baby kale blend at the upcoming PMA Foodservice Expo. The new blend is a combination of baby green, scarlet and black kale .Baby_Kale

“Our new baby kale blend is mild in flavor, and more tender than traditional kale,” says Chef Douglas Bond, New Product Development Manager for Freshway Foods. “This blend offers the health benefits of kale to consumers who may be intimidated by the texture of traditional chopped kale,” he adds.

Freshway’s baby kale blend is washed, ready to serve, and packed in one-pound bags, which are the perfect size for salad bars. “Consumers expect more upscale ingredients on salad bars,” says Bond. “This new blend has great color and texture, and will be the star of any salad bar program,” he adds.

Freshway plans to display the new baby kale blend at the upcoming PMA Foodservice Expo. “We invite everyone to stop by booth 115 to learn more about this new baby kale blend,” says Bond.

The new baby kale blend is now available through your local Freshway Foods representative.

 

Freshway Foods Introduces New Fresh-Cut Potatoes

Freshway Foods announced today that the company will introduce new fresh-cut potatoes at the upcoming United Fresh food show. The new fresh-cut potatoes save time and money for foodservice operators.

Freshway’s fresh-cut potatoes are available in several varieties, including whole peeled, sliced, diced, quartered and wedged russet potatoes, diced and quartered red potatoes, peeled and quartered gold potatoes, and whole peeled, diced and wedged sweet potatoes.

The fresh-cut potatoes are treated to prevent browning, and do not require storage in water. “These potatoes are a definite improvement for any foodservice operator who is currently storing potatoes in buckets of water,” says Chef Douglas Bond, New Product Development Manager for Freshway Foods. “We have eliminated the messiness and reduced the amount of space needed to serve fresh potatoes,” he adds.

Freshway’s fresh-cut potatoes also offer advantages over bulk whole potatoes. “Many foodservice operators use bulk potatoes in bags, which are dirty and must be washed before peeling or cutting,” says Bond. “Our new fresh-cut potatoes are washed and ready to use, with no waste and no additional labor required,” he adds.

Freshway plans to display the new fresh-cut potatoes at the upcoming United Fresh food show. “We invite everyone to stop by booth 1909 to learn more about how foodservice operators can save time and money with our new fresh-cut potatoes,” says Bond.

The new fresh-cut potatoes are now available through your local Freshway Foods representative. For more information about Freshway Foods, visit http://www.freshwayfoods.com.

US FOODS AGREES TO ACQUIRE FRESHWAY FOODS

ROSEMONT, Ill. – May 19, 2016 – US Foods today announced it has agreed to acquire Freshway Foods, a fresh fruit and vegetable processor, repacker and distributor serving customers throughout the eastern half of the United States

Established in 1988, Freshway Foods is owned by brothers Phil and Frank Gilardi and is based in Sidney, Ohio. The company has built a strong reputation for providing value-added fresh cut produce that includes the cutting, cleaning, chopping and packaging of raw produce resulting in a product that can be customized to meet any customer’s preferences and delivered ready for immediate use. In addition, Freshway Foods has established a robust farm-to-fork food safety approach that ensures food safety compliance from the grower through consumption.

US Foods will be keeping the Freshway Foods building open and is pleased to welcome its employees to US Foods.

“We are very excited about this new partnership with US Foods,” said Phil Gilardi and Frank Gilardi, the two owners of Freshway Foods. “Since we started this business, our success has been built upon our commitment to our associates and our customers and we are looking forward to the next chapter for Freshway Foods as part of a well established and reputable company like US Foods.”

The transaction is expected to close on June 10, 2016.  Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

About US Foods

US Foods, Inc. is a large foodservice distributor serving chefs and foodservice operators across the country. Its customers include independent and multi-unit restaurants, healthcare and hospitality entities, government and educational institutions. The company employs approximately 25,000 people in 61 locations nationwide. US Foods is headquartered in Rosemont, Ill.

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Freshway Foods Introduces New Grab N Go Salads

Freshway Foods announced today that the company will introduce new Grab N Go salad kits at the upcoming IDDBA Dairy Deli Bake food show. The new Grab N Go salads feature ancient grains, colorful fruits and vegetables and premium ingredients.

Spinach_Mediterranean_Salad

Spinach Mediterranean

“We approached development of these salads by first talking to our customers about what their consumers were asking for in a Grab N Go salad,” says Chef Douglas Bond, New Product Development Manager for Freshway Foods. “We also conducted market research into ingredient and flavor trends,” he adds. “What we found over and over is that consumers are tired of the same old salads. They want variety and they want nutrient dense options.”

With premium ingredients, like tart blueberries, tender couscous, sweet rainbow carrots, and nutty quinoa, the new salads offer a more upscale experience for consumers. “Our new Grab N Go salad kits go beyond what has been traditionally available to consumers, and offer flavors and ingredients that are attractive to Millennials in search of adventure, as well as Baby Boomers looking for healthy convenience,” says Bond. “These salads will make your consumers the envy of the office break room!”

The new salads include:

  • Spinach Mediterranean – Tender baby spinach with crunchy walnuts and traditional Mediterranean flavors of tomato, cucumber, black olives, and feta cheese.
  • Famous Chopped Salad – Crisp romaine base with sweet tomatoes, savory red cabbage, green onions, blue cheese and bacon, and tender couscous.
  • Fruity Grain & Garden Salad – Crisp romaine base with quinoa, crisp celery, cucumber and red onions, sweet grapes, tart blueberries, and rich Parmesan cheese.
  • Colorful Grain & Garden – Tender baby spinach with quinoa, sweet apples, rainbow carrots, crisp celery, and crunchy walnuts.

Freshway’s Grab N Go salad kits are designed to save foodservice and retail operators time and money, without sacrificing freshness, taste and quality. “Our Grab N Go salad kits contain all ingredients to make eight complete convenience salads, with no additional cutting or cleaning required,” Bond says. “Simply assemble the components for fresh-made salads your customers will love.”

Freshway plans to display the new salads at the upcoming Dairy Deli Bake food show, sponsored by IDDBA. “We invite everyone to stop by booth 3255 to learn more about how you can refresh your service case with premium salads that consumers prefer,” says Bond.

The new Grab N Go salads are now available through your local Freshway Foods representative.

 

Freshway Foods Introduces New Fall/Winter Deli Salads

Sweet_&_Crunchy_Couscous

Freshway Foods announced today that the company will introduce its new Fall/Winter line of fresh deli salads at the upcoming IDDBA Dairy Deli Bake food show. The new salads feature ancient grains, including farro and quinoa, as well as heirloom vegetables, such as golden beets and rainbow carrots.

Development of the new Fall/Winter deli salads was driven by market research, as well as customer feedback. “We are listening to the marketplace and we are listening to our customers,” says Chef Douglas Bond, New Product Development Manager for Freshway Foods. “We continually study what is going on in the marketplace, with an eye on trending ingredients and flavors, and we add that knowledge to feedback from our customers on what their consumers want, in order to build a better salad,” he adds.

The new line of Fall/Winter salads emphasizes the vibrance of fresh produce. “These new deli salads bring bold, vivid colors to your deli case,” says Chef Bond. “We’ve added color in unexpected ways,” he adds. “For example, golden beets are an heirloom variety that add sweetness and crunch to a salad, in addition to the bright golden color.”

The new salads include:

Nutty_Balsamic_Kale

Nutty Balsamic Kale Salad

  • Sweet and Crunchy Couscous – Sweet, crunchy apples and celery, mildly tart craisins and earthy walnuts, accented by a mildly spicy, Asian-inspired orange vinaigrette.
  • Nutty Balsamic Kale Salad – A hearty and healthy combination of kale, nutty farro and quinoa, sweet and mildly tart craisins, and mellow peas brought together with a classic balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Buffalo Cauliflower Salad – Crunchy cauliflower, celery and carrot in creamy Buffalo-style dressing with a kick, accented by green onions and mellow chickpeas.
  • Ancient Grain and Garden Salad – Sweet and crunchy heirloom golden beets and rainbow carrots with nutty farro, savory green onion and sweet, juicy pears, accented by a pleasantly smoky sweet onion vinaigrette.
  • Pear and Broccoli Salad – Sweet pears, hearty broccoli, red onions and red cabbage with nutty Parmesan cheese and walnuts, brought together in a mildly tangy and creamy cole slaw dressing.

The new Fall/Winter salads focus on using trendy flavors and ingredients in new ways. “Our Buffalo Cauliflower Salad is a hit with consumers who love the taste of hot wings, but want a healthier option,” says Bond. “We have also reinvented the couscous salad, by giving it an Asian-inspired, fruity flavor profile,” he adds.

Freshway plans to sample the new salads at the upcoming Dairy Deli Bake food show, sponsored by IDDBA. “We invite everyone to stop by booth 3255 to try these vibrant, delicious salads, which will bring color and variety to your Fall /Winter deli case,” says Bond.

The new salads are now available through your local Freshway Foods representative.

 

 

Patsy Naseman to Retire

Freshway’s first associate has served the company for over 28 years

Freshway Foods announced today that Patsy Naseman, 28-year veteran of the company, is retiring. Patsy was the first associate hired when Freshway Foods was founded in 1988, and she will retire in May 2016.

Patsy_Naseman

Patsy Naseman

Patsy is originally from Kettlersville, a village in Shelby County, Ohio. The oldest of eleven chidren, she graduated from Anna High School. Patsy worked for several years in the hospitality industry before joining Freshway Foods.

“My first job was waitressing at Hornes Restaurant in Sidney, Ohio,” Patsy says. “I also had jobs tending bar and housekeeping, but with the economy and raising two kids, I knew that wasn’t getting it,” she adds, “so I went back to school.”

Patsy graduated from Edison State Community College in Piqua, Ohio, with an Associates degree in Accouting. She also completed a program in office machinery at the local vocational school. After graduation, she worked at the A.M. Gilardi & Sons company in Accounts Receivable for about a year.

“I kept in touch with Frank and Phil after leaving A.M. Gilardi & Sons, and they contacted me when they founded Freshway,” Patsy remembers. “I was the first person hired at Freshway, and at the time, I shared a small office with Frank Gilardi,” she adds. “Phil had an office around the corner, near the production area, and we were the only people in the office. Our production area was one big room where lettuce was produced, and off to the side was a small specialty room for broccoli, caulilower, and other items.”

Patsy_Naseman

Patsy Naseman (center) receives a 10-year service award from Phil Gilardi (left) and Frank Gilardi (right) in 1998

Everyone pitched in and did what was needed in the early days of the company. Patsy handled payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and she remembers one time she helped pick tip burn out of lettuce. “That was a new and interesting adventure,” Patys says. “I’m on top of this ladder above where the lettuce is coming down, and after awhile it felt like I was moving and the lettuce was standing still,” she adds. “I only did that a couple of times, and I told Frank I didn’t want to do that anymore.”

As the company grew, Patsy moved into the customer service role she holds today. “I didn’t want to work in customer service at first; I was more comfortable doing the books,” she says. “Frank convinced me to try it,” she adds, “and I guess those years I spent working with the public helped. In fact, my whole career has been working with people.”

“Patsy has taken orders from every customer that we have ever had, and to this day there are customers who only want to give their daily orders to Patsy,” says Phil Gilardi, Owner of Freshway Foods. “For over 28 years now, Freshway Foods has built a reputation in the marketplace as a customer-friendly, customer-first company that is easy to do business with and a pleasure to work with on a daily basis,” Gilardi adds. “Patsy had a lot to do with this. Since the very first day Patsy has been on the phone with our customers, taking their orders, responding to special requests, all through her positive, beautiful personality. To this very day that culture is alive and well at Freshway Foods.”

Patsy_Naseman

Patsy Naseman (center) receives a 25-year service award from Frank Gilardi (left) and Phil Gilardi (right) in 2013

Patsy will be missed by many at Freshway. “Patsy has been a fixture at Freshway in the time I have been here,” says Devon Beer, President of Freshway Foods. “She is the only thing about Freshway Foods that hasn’t changed. You could count on her being here every day and you could count on her to be a total professional when it came to servicing our customers,” Beer adds. “No one knew their business better than Patsy. She is loved by her co-workers and customers, and will be sorely missed.”

Although much has changed in the 28+ years Patsy has been a member of the Freshway team, some things have stayed the same. “The basics haven’t changed,” says Patsy, “We are still customer service driven, and we do whatever it takes to serve our customers.”

“Frank and I have learned a lot from Patsy, and Freshway is a better company because of people like Patsy,” says Phil Gilardi. “I hope that Patsy will stop by from time to time to see the team and perhaps…pick up the phone and take a customer’s order.”

After her retirement, Patsy plans to read  and visit with family. She plans to stay in the area and will stop by Freshway from time to time to say hello. “I will miss the people the most – they are like family,” she says. “Everyone here is friendly and willing to work with you if you have questions,” she adds.

With over 28 years of service at Freshway Foods, Patsy Naseman has seen it all. “It’s fast-paced, it’s fresh and it changes fast,” she says. “One day you’re fine, and the next day nobody has lettuce.”

 

Freshway Foods Pledges $100,000 Donation to The Center for Produce Safety

Freshway Foods announced today the company has pledged $100,000 over five years to The Center for Produce Safety (CPS). The pledge is part of the center’s Campaign for Produce Safety, which has a goal of $20 million to fund produce safety research.

“Our commitment to food safety is at the core of everything we do; it is the guiding principle by which we operate our business, and we are constantly asking ourselves what we can do better,” says Devon Beer, President and COO of Freshway Foods. “We recognize that there is a trust that our customers place in us, that we will provide the safest food possible, and we will never violate that trust,” Beer adds. “We have found that the Center for Produce Safety shares our commitment to developing world class food safety systems.”

In addition to food safety research, CPS offers high-quality educational programs led by food safety experts. “Over the past five years, Freshway Foods has participated in training and seminars offered by CPS,” says Beer. “These educational opportunities have become an integral part of our food safety training and education program.”

The projects undertaken by CPS benefit all companies in the fresh produce industry. The Center is able to research food safety concerns and develop best practices across a broad range of commodities, and impact food safety in a greater way than any one produce company could on their own.

“Our pledge to CPS is an investment in the future of our industry, as the Center works to review and fund projects that address gaps in food safety knowledge with science-based research,” Beer says. “The value that we receive from CPS far exceeds the investment,” he adds.  “We encourage other processors to join us in supporting the Center for Produce Safety, as the work of this organization will play a key role in building consumer trust in our industry.”

The Center for Produce Safety is a collaborative partnership that leverages the combined expertise of industry, government and the scientific and academic communities to focus on providing research needed to continually enhance food safety. This level of collaboration allows CPS to fill the knowledge gaps on produce food safety.

Larry Schultz to Retire

Freshway Foods announced today that Larry Schultz, 45-year veteran of the fresh produce industry, is retiring. Larry started his career with the Crosset Company in June, 1970, two days after his high school graduation, and will wrap up his career with Freshway Foods in early 2016

Larry grew up in Melbourne, Kentucky on a large farm. He credits his father for teaching him the fundamentals of business at a young age. “We learned about managing a P&L at 5 or 6 years of age,” Larry says. “My father was the first CEO I worked for. He would harvest green beans in the Fall, and if the beans didn’t sell at market twice, he would disc under the crop and plant something else,” he explains. “He felt that planting another crop would bring more money, while everyone else was trying to sell beans for lower and lower prices.”

Larry learned responsibility at a young age. By age 7 he was milking three head of cows by hand every day. He had a regular route selling eggs, and in the Fall, he and his siblings picked berries, which they sold at local markets before heading off to school each morning.  At the age of 16, Larry moved to a larger farm to work for his older brother, and was responsible for over 100 head of cattle. “We learned to understand responsibility and accountability,” Larry says. “If you didn’t feed the chickens, you knew there was going to be a problem. If you didn’t feed them right, then you knew they weren’t going to lay eggs,” he explains. “That’s where the money came from.”

Larry was 16 years old the first time he ever went to the grocery store. His father would buy a 50 pound bag of flour and a 50 pound bag of sugar every week. The family raised everything else they needed on the family farm. “Each night we churned butter, and each child took a turn,” Larry says. “My mother made 6 to 8 loaves of bread from scratch every day, in addition to working in the vegetable garden with the younger children,” he adds.

Larry was interested in growing vegetables from a young age. He always had a garden, and in 1979, at age 26, Larry started a farmers’ market in Northern Kentucky called Tailgate Markets. Up to 56 local farms brought in produce five nights a week to different locations in the community. “We met at churches and in shopping centers,” Larry says. “I was raising 20 acres of vegetables with my brother at the time, and after I got off work I would head to the market to sell our produce,” he adds. The Tailgate Markets were a success and are still in operation today.

On June 1, 1970, Larry started work at the Crosset Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. He worked full-time in the company’s repack department and drove a milk truck for his father during his free time.  After spending time in the repack department, he was moved to the warehouse.

In 1976, Larry had the opportunity to drive a delivery truck for Crosset. He delivered fresh produce to T-way and Supervalue stores in West Virginia and Virginia. “Drivers were expected to be salesmen; if there was extra product on the truck, it was my responsibility to sell it,” Larry explains. “That experience got me interested in sales and working with customers, which is something I still enjoy today,” he adds.

In 1980, the Crosset Company wa purchased by Castellini Company, and Larry moved to second shift as a production foreman. In 1988, he was transferred to Club Chef, where he held increasing levels of responsibility until leaving to join Freshway Foods in 2003.

Larry joined Freshway Foods in 2003 as Director of Operations. “What I liked when I came to Freshway was that it was a young company that was wanting to grow.” Larry says. “Both owners of the company were young and had aggressive goals for the company’s growth. I knew it was a great opportunity,” he adds.

Larry took the opportunity in 2006 to move to Sanford, Florida to set up a pilot processing facility. “This was a learning experience for me, as I dealt with customers every day,” Larry says.

In 2008, Larry returned to Sidney, Ohio. “2008 was a difficult year in our industry due to the economy, but we are a nimble company and we were able to adjust and regrow our business,” Larry says.

During his tenure at Freshway, Larry has supervised hundreds of people, and he has trained people who have gone on to become supervisors, general managers and vice presidents. “You have to drill down to every associate, that in their heart they need to be sure they did the best job they could do,” Larry says. “You have to know in your heart that you have done the right thing,” he adds. “In our industry, you want to make the safest product possible, and remember that there are families and children who eat our products.”

“Larry has left a permanent positive mark on all of us here at Freshway,” says Phil Gilardi, Owner of Freshway Foods. “His drive to teach others and help them realize their full potential not only in the world of produce, but more importantly, in the game of life, is an example for all of us to follow,” he adds.

Larry is proud of his accomplishments at Freshway Foods, but one project holds a special place in his heart. “When I joined Freshway, the company didn’t have a recycling program,” he explains. “Over the past 13 years, I have helped to build a robust recycling program that delivers profit to Freshway,” he adds.

Larry’s strong work ethic has played a significant role in his success at Freshway. “The work ethic instilled in Larry at an early age paid him dividends his entire life. You can teach someone how to evaluate the quality of produce, interpret yield and labor statistics, and  organize people,  but to lead the way with a can-do, ‘whatever it takes to make the customer happy’ mentality, is something that must come from within,” says Devon Beer, President of Freshway Foods. “Larry has done an outstanding job of instilling that attitude in our managers and workforce.”

In addition to his work at Freshway, Larry has made a significant contribution to the Sidney/Shelby County Community. “We are very proud of the impact that Larry has made in the local community as well,” says Devon Beer. “As demanding as his job was, he seemed to always find time to give back in a meaningful way to those who needed a helping hand,” he adds. “The best example of this is his work with Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Larry was not only a ‘Big’ himself, but served on the board of directors and worked hard to make it a stronger organization capable of helping more people.”

Larry shared some of the significant changes the fresh produce industry has gone through since 1970. “When fresh-cut processing started, it was because you had too much of a commodity. Whole produce was harvested from a field first, then processors would come in and clean up the field,” Larry says. “Today, processors don’t allow any other company into the field,” he adds, “This enables us to better control food safety.”

Product packaging has changed in the past 45 years as well. “We had never heard of oxygen rate transmission and we used the same film for everything. We packed everything in a 5 or 10 pound bag, which we closed with a metal clamp,” Larry says. “Average shelf life was 5-7 days, which would never be accepted today,” he adds.

Larry points out that transportation has also changed dramatically in the past 45 years. “When I started working in 1970, raw produce came in on railroad cars – there were very few semi trucks,” he explains. “Product sat directly on the floor of the railroad cars,” he adds. “I remember the first time I ever saw product on pallets. It was 1974 and the Sam Tanksley trucking company brought a load of produce on pallets from the west coast,” he remembers. “It was such a big deal that everyone wanted to look at the product and see how it rode on the trip.”

Larry believes the future is bright for the fresh produce industry. “The good news is that our focus on healthy eating is growing,” Larry says. “Produce is not only the best thing to eat for your health, it also has great flavor,” he adds. “I am especially excited to see traditional commodities like turnips and beets becoming popular again. They were popular when I started in this industry, and now they have come back and everyone is eating them.”

Larry encourages young people to consider careers in the fresh produce industry. “If you are willing to learn and dedicate yourself to your job, there are unlimited career opportunities for you in fresh produce,” Larry says. “I have worked my way up from the repack department to Vice President of Operations during my career,” he adds, “It didn’t come free; there were a lot of nights where I wanted to go home but I stayed until the work was done because it was my responsibility.”

Larry is married with three children, two step-children and twelve grandchildren. Although he is retiring this year, he plans to keep contributing to the fresh produce industry. “I plan to travel up and down I-75 from Michigan to Florida and work with farmers to help them develop and grow their business,” Larry says.

“It is great to know that Larry is only a phone call away and will stay close to his family here at Freshway,” says Phil Gilardi.

Larry also plans to spend more time with his grandchildren, and he will join the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization in Florida. He also plans to join his wife, Julie, in volunteering at Hospice.

Freshway Foods Receives Cornerstone Partner Award

Cornerstone_Award

Freshway Foods announced today the company has been award the Cornerstone Partner Award by Gordon Food Service. The award, which is the highest that Gordon Food Service bestows, was announced at the 2015 North American Vendor Involvement Process (VIP) Award Dinner. The Cornerstone Award recognizes suppliers who excelled in service metrics and exemplified strategic distinction through extraordinary efforts.

“We are honored to receive this award, which recognizes the hard work and dedication of our 400+ associates,” says Devon Beer, President and COO of Freshway Foods. “It is a pleasure to continue to partner with Gordon Food Service to drive business growth and deliver the highest quality products and services,” he adds.

 

 

 

 

Steve Collins Named VP of Operations for Freshway Foods

Freshway Foods announced today that Steve Collins has been named Vice President of Operations for Freshway Foods. In his new role, Collins will lead daily operations at the company’s production and distribution facility in Sidney, Ohio. Collins replaces Larry Schultz, who will be retiring in early 2016.

Collins joined Freshway Foods in 2014 as Project Manager. In that role, he championed strategic projects, including implementation of the Red Zone Continuous Improvement Progam. “Steve is a very strategic- and process-oriented leader and a great developer of people” says company president Devon Beer.

Collins has worked hand-in-hand with Schultz over the past year to prepare for this transition. “We have been executing this leadership conversion for a year now to ensure a seamless transition for our customers,” says Devon Beer. “Steve is committed to our values, mission and vision and is well-prepared for this new role,” Beer adds. “Our customers can expect the same level of commitment to deliver great products and services.”

Larry Schultz led the company’s operations for over a decade. “Under Larry’s leadership, our operations team has successfully integrated hundreds of additional SKU offerings and incorporated the latest technology to improve food safety and operational efficiency,” says Devon Beer. “This has allowed us to be very nimble in meeting the changing needs of our customers,” he adds. Schultz will continue to work on strategic projects for the company until he retires in early 2016.