Ernst van Eeghen Discusses Church Brothers Farms' Tuscan Salads, Burger & Sandwich Leaf, and Little Gems


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Mon. March 11th, 2024 - by Jordan Okumura-Wright

SALINAS, CA - With the start of spring nearly upon us, the next few months will be marked by a change in culinary fare, an increase in produce consumption (at least in my kitchen), and the season’s holidays and festivities. Church Brothers Farms is jumping at these opportunities and showcasing a wide array of items for buy-side operators.

Ernst Van Eeghen, Vice President of Foodservice Business Development, Church Brothers Farms

“On the foodservice side, Church Brothers will have its sights set on promoting three things in the coming months: Tuscan Salads, Burger & Sandwich Leaf, and Little Gems,” Ernst van Eeghen, Vice President of Foodservice Business Development, tells me. “We are seeing success with these items because they allow foodservice operators to take their offerings up a notch in terms of differentiation, quality, versatility, and flavor.”

Church Brothers Farms introduced its Tuscan Salads line of salad blends last summer. The program has been picked up by nationwide concepts looking for menu differentiation. On the horizon? Church Brothers Farms is looking at adding additional blends later this year.

Throughout the spring, Church Brothers Farms will have its sights set on promoting three things: Tuscan Salads, Burger & Sandwich Leaf, and Little Gems for foodservice

“We also recently introduced Burger & Sandwich Leaf, a value-added whole leaf that is essentially green leaf with iceberg properties. It has a great crunch, holds up well to hot proteins, and has an almost perfectly round frilly edge for color and texture,” Ernst continues, beginning to round out the trio of premium Church Brothers Farms’ items.

Last but not least, the outfit’s Little Gems remains a hit across its customer base, gaining popularity with both foodservice and retail customers.

“They’re versatile. One head is perfect for an individual entrée or shared salad and has a sweet flavor and velvety bite. They’re kind of perfect,” Ernst says, and I can perceive the industry veteran’s well-known grin that tells me the product has an upward trajectory to be coveted.

Church Brothers Farms' Little Gem Lettuce has become a hit with both retail and foodservice customers

Ernst begins to tie together all the program's high points with this statement: Know your food, know your farmer. Church Brothers Farms' message to its restaurant operator customers resonates deeply in our industry. As consumers seek to know more about the origins and roots of the food they eat, the message will become a movement.

“Our vertical integration gives us complete control and total transparency into the products we grow,” Ernst concludes.

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