Archive for August, 2012
There’s much discussion about sustainable farming, but what happens to sustainability once the produce leaves the farm? For national fresh foods producer Ready Pac Foods, Inc. the buck doesn’t stop on the farm.
There’s much discussion about sustainable farming, but what happens to sustainability once the produce leaves the farm? For national fresh foods producer Ready Pac Foods, Inc. the buck doesn’t stop on the farm. The company has systematically reviewed and upgraded its products and business processes integrating delicious taste, convenience and sustainability criteria into all of its product lines.
“For decades, Ready Pac has participated in environmentally friendly business practices such as sending our byproducts for use as animal feed,” said Tristan Simpson, director of marketing at Ready Pac. “Our sustainability efforts now include a broad array of socially and environmentally responsible practices that ultimately also help us keep our convenient, fresh foods affordable.”
Ready Pac keeps food waste out of landfills through a variety of programs. In a home kitchen, consumers peel produce, cut out cores and trim away parts like outer leaves. Ready Pac does the same thing for its fresh-cut produce, yielding byproducts that could be costly to haul to landfills, not to mention take up precious space. Instead Ready Pac sells the fruit and vegetable byproducts to local dairy farmers. These byproducts help the farmers keep the cost of cattle feed down, which in turn help consumers and the local economy. Last year Ready Pac sold more than 110 million pounds of fruit and vegetable byproducts to local farmers.
Ready Pac’s recycling program converts costly trash hauling into an income stream that helps the company maintain competitive pricing. Ready Pac started by focusing on the reduction of trash being sent to landfills, setting up color-coded material collecting stations throughout all of their plants. Now the company collects and recycles more than 17 million pounds of cardboard and plastics annually, saving money and fuel by not hauling the trash and recouping some material costs in the recycling sales.
One of Ready Pac’s most impactful sustainability programs is a centralized production scheduling system. The company developed software that takes into account all logistic lead times by customer and distribution center. As a result, Ready Pac is able to consolidate production runs, reduce days of operation where needed and greatly reduce utility consumption. Decreases in water usage have been particularly significant.
Through this detailed planning, Ready Pac sells most of the products it makes to its retail and foodservice customers. With a careful eye to social responsibility, especially in the local communities where its plants are located, Ready Pac donates useable product that it cannot sell to local food banks and community charities. More than a half million bags and trays of produce were donated last year.
To further reduce the amount of waste it sent to landfills, and the fuel required to haul it there, Ready Pac installed trash compactors in all of its facilities. This resulted in a 50 to 75 percent reduction in waste loads.
Other Ready Pac sustainability programs include using natural gas co-generators to produce electricity, reduced energy usage through energy-efficient lighting, a transportation fleet equipped with the best particulate matter filters to reduce air pollution, and teleconferencing to reduce company travel. Ready Pac associates also contribute to the effort, participating in incentive programs to use public transportation, ride share, bicycle or walk to work.
The Ready Pac Bistro® Bowl Salads line is one of the company’s stars, both in terms of popularity and its environmentally responsible design and production. All of Ready Pac’s products use recycled materials in their cardboard boxes, and the salad bowls use 70 percent post-consumer PET. Ready Pac Bistro® Bowl Salad inserts use recycled 500ML drink bottles and the bowls also are made in a plant that operates using 50 percent solar energy.
“Ready Pac Bistro® Bowl Salads not only are delicious on-the-go meals with less than 300 calories, they also reclaim millions of drink bottles each year,” said Simpson.
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Chicken and Vegetables
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 small green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium red onion, cut into wedges
2 dozen cherry tomatoes
- In shallow glass or plastic bowl, or re-sealable food-storage plastic bag, mix all marinade ingredients.
- Add chicken, stirring to coat with marinade.
- Cover dish or seal bag; refrigerate, stirring occasionally, at least 30 minutes but no longer than 6 hours.
- 2 Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat.
- Remove chicken from marinade; reserve marinade.
- Thread chicken, bell pepper, zucchini and onion alternately on each of four 15-inch metal skewers, leaving about 1/4-inch space between each piece.
- Brush vegetables with marinade.
- 3 Cover and grill kabobs over medium heat 10 to 15 minutes, turning and brushing frequently with marinade, until chicken is no longer pink in center.
- Add asparagus to grill for last 5 minutes of grilling, turning occasionally, until crisp-tender.
- You can discard any remaining marinade.
For more kabob ideas, click here.
Beyond brown bags…
Back to school means back to the routine of making lunches to go. But there’s nothing ho-hum about the latest in groovy, eco-chic gear to carry PB & Js and leftover pasta to school. With these all-in-one kits and handy accessories, you may never need plastic wrap, waxed baggies, tinfoil, or paper bags again — let alone hazardous plastic or obnoxious product-placement lunch boxes.
There’s something here for every family’s budget. Complete lunch-storage systems may cost more than old-school lunch boxes, but remember: These kits are made to last — and designed with the earth and your kid’s health and safety in mind. So feel better about stemming the tide of trash from lunch box to landfill while providing better options for your child with these green and good-looking picks…more
On Monday, August 20, 2012, the Maestro Cares Foundation, in partnership with Blackberry, Goya, and the Dominican Republic Department of Tourism, hosted 200 guests for the organization’s first ever Chicago fundraiser. Held at the Sofitel Water Tower, in the heart of the city’s Gold Coast, the red-carpet event raised over $100,000 for the development of a new residence hall for orphaned children in the Dominican Republic. The evening included special appearances by global pop icon and Maestro Cares co-founder Marc Anthony, entrepreneur and co-founder Henry Cardenas, Formula One driver Esteban Gutierrez, and actor Luis Guzman.
Live music was provided by a jazz quartet followed by a DJ. Gourmet hors d’oeuvres and catering were sponsored by the Sofitel Water Tower.
Guests and supporters of the event bid on a number of unique auction items and experiences including a signed soccer jersey by Lionel Messi and the Argentinean National Team, a necklace by world renowned designer Oscar de la Renta, a helmet signed by Formula One driver Esteban Gutierrez, a signed guitar by rock band Mana and front-row tickets to Anthony’s current international tour, GIGANT3S, with a Meet-and-Greet opportunity following the show, among other items.
All proceeds from the event will benefit the completion of a new residence hall and learning facility for over 200 children living at Orfanato Niños de Cristo, an orphanage in La Romana, Dominican Republic. The Dominican orphanage will be the first territory to directly benefit from the Maestro Cares Foundation, a non-profit organization established to benefit charitable organizations in developing Latin American countries. Maestro Cares seeks to offer assistance to orphaned and disadvantaged children while supporting social services and other development programs.
“The creation of Maestro Cares is a testimony to the wonderful spirit of Mr. Anthony and Mr. Cardenas,” said Sonia Hane, Founder of the Orfanato Niños de Cristo. “The commitment of these gentlemen is an inspiration to us, and I am confident that the impact of Maestro Cares will be felt by the children in this country for many years to come.”
For more information, visit www.maestrocares.org.
The Haiti Food & Spirits Festival is a yearly event to Promote & Celebrate Haitian Gastronomy, to put forward Restaurateurs and Chefs, local producers and to show the world that Haiti is a Culinary Destination. Chef Stephan Berrouet will give us a behind the scenes peek at we have to look forward to at the 2012 Gout et Saveurs Lakay – Haiti Food & Spirits Festival September 28th-October 7th.
Mercy Chefs is a non-profit, faith based, charitable organization committed to serving high quality professionally prepared meals in disasters and national emergencies, recruiting and training volunteers and providing food service support to the activities of other faith based organizations. Chef Gary LeBlanc will inform us how Mercy Chefs is getting ready for their busy time of the year- hurricane season and their newest Dallas expansion.
Joe’s Pizza, the popular New York style pizzeria, along with its partners at Muse Lifestyle Group, is proud to announce plans to expand into three new locations in Los Angeles by the end of the year. With this expansion comes a brand new logo, and the introduction of the company’s first mobile food truck.
Joe’s Pizza currently has one restaurant in West Hollywood and another on Hollywood Boulevard that shares its doors with Muse’s flagship venue, Playhouse Nightclub. Red brick exterior, white Carrera marble countertops and a skyline image of New York City bring a piece of the Big Apple into the City of Angels. The Hollywood restaurant remains open until 4 am to feed late night club goers during Playhouse’s signature after hours.
“There’s no doubt that Joe’s Pizza has become the ultimate go-to spot for New York pies in LA. Our secret? It’s all about having the perfect ratio between three basic ingredients: dough, marinara sauce, and cheese,” says owner Giuseppe (Joe) Vitale. “We are beyond thrilled to expand the brand into new locations and share our traditional pies with even more customers in Southern California,” says Joey Vitale Jr., who will be operating the Joe’s Pizza Truck.
Joe Vitale believes in food that is simple and original. The menu features a variety of specialty pizza pies, pies by the slice, heroes, pastas, salads, garlic knots and fresh cannoli. Each pie is made under the watchful eye of Joe himself and follows his original family recipes, passed down by his Sicilian grandmother. Menu highlights include the Meatball Hero, the famous Grandma Pie and Joe’s personal favorite: The White Pie.
For more information on Joe’s Pizza, please visit www.joespizza.it
Wine Guardian has announced the launch of a new ducted split wine cellar cooling system that features superior air distribution, temperature and humidity control to protect valuable wine collections.
“The new ducted split system expands our product portfolio into a complete line of wine cellar cooling equipment,” said Wine Guardian Division Manager Mike Militi. “It is available in many capacities and styles to accommodate any size or style wine cellar for homes, restaurants, commercial storage facilities and other applications.”
The split system is designed to maintain ideal cellar conditions for long-term storage, which typically range from 55° F to 57° F (13° C to 14° C), and from 50 to 70 percent humidity. It is available in four models—1/4-ton, ½-ton, 1-ton and 2-ton capacities—for 60 hertz operation.
The standard two-piece system includes a fan coil unit to cool the wine cellar air, and a condensing unit to remove heat from the refrigeration process. On ¼-ton, ½-ton and 1-ton systems, the fan coil can be ducted from up to 25 feet (7.62 meters) away from the cellar, and a 2-ton system can be ducted from up to 50 feet (15.24 meters). Also, the condensing unit comes with its own housing, which makes it suitable for outdoor use. The combination of these features makes Wine Guardian’s new split system extremely quiet and virtually vibration-free, giving users maximum flexibility when designing their cellars and locating the cooling system.
For more information on Wine Guardian products or to locate a distributor, visit www.WineGuardian.com.
Compliments of Mikhail Jordan, Mikhail’s Plate
Basil MAGAZINE Youth Writer
Yields 6 – 8 servings
2 cup white sugar
8 cups cold water
- Juice the lemons to make approximately 2 cups of juice.
- Tip: Firmly roll the lemons between your hands and cutting board prior to cutting them in half and juicing. This will make them softer and easier to extract the juice.
- In a pitcher combine lemon juice, sugar and cold water; stir ingredients together.
- Chill and serve over ice.
- Garnish with lemon slices and mint sprigs.
- To make your lemonade more festive, you can add slices of limes and or oranges for color.
- To add more flair, you can also add festive ice cubes by freezing mint leaves with berries.
- To make lemon-limeade, you can use one part lime juice and one part lemon juice.
- To make orange-lemonade, you can use one part orange juice and one part lemon juice. Use ½ cup less sugar.
Did you know that today is National Lemonade Day? Well let’s celebrate with a lemonade cocktail! Below is a quick and easy recipe perfect for the adult version of this occasion to share and enjoy with friends.
2 parts Tequila Avión® Silver
4 parts Fresh Lemon Juice
½ part Agave Nectar
1 Lemon Wheel for Garnish
Add 2 parts Avión Silver, 4 parts Fresh Lemon Juice and ½ part Agave Nectar into a shaker with ice. Strain the cocktail over a tall glass of ice. Garnish with a lemon wheel and enjoy!