Mann Packing's Loree Dowse Discusses CAULILINI® Baby Cauliflower
- by Robert Schaulis
SALINAS, CA - If you spend an inordinate amount of time seeking out new fresh food flavor trends (I mean, you are reading AndNowUKnow), you’ve undoubtedly encountered Mann Packing’s latest Brassica innovation—
I spoke with Mann Packing’s Director of Creative Marketing Loree Dowse to learn more about an item that is set to take menus by storm this season.
“CAULILINI baby cauliflower is an Asian-style cauliflower variety. Unlike conventional cauliflower, which has a dense head and grows low to the ground, it has elongated green stems that get brighter when cooked and creamy florets. We expose CAULILINI baby cauliflower to more sunlight than conventional cauliflower, and as a result it is extremely sweet with none of the ‘funkiness’ that you can sometimes taste in a standard floret,” Loree told me. “Aruba Vegetable Seed Company approached us several years ago with several interesting cauliflower varieties. Our Director of Growing Operations, Rick Harris, spent the next two years trialing 12 different seeds before landing on what we have today, which is a product that can be grown year-round here in the Salinas Valley.”
Mann Packing is able to grow CAULILINI baby cauliflower year-round in Salinas, California, and the produce provider is also looking into growing in the Yuma, Arizona, region should demand necessitate expanded production. The brand introduced 3x2 pound packs of CAULILINI baby cauliflower to its foodservice partners last year, and Loree told me response has been impressive.
“We decided to introduce CAULILINI baby cauliflower to our foodservice customers first, which is how we brought BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli to the market 20 years ago. Chefs are always looking for new and exciting items to highlights on their menus, and once a consumer gets exposed to it in a restaurant, they’re much more likely to seek it out at a later time,” said Loree. “Mann Packing is known for its product innovation. That being said, you can never be 100 percent sure of how a new product is going to be received by the market. I think I speak for all of us here in saying that we have been pretty blown away by how chefs and consumers alike have reacted to this.”
Retail offerings are already in the works, and if chefs’ reception is any indication, Mann Packing may have a truly category-expanding addition to this already popular cruciferous category.
“It’s been pretty exciting, and we’re looking forward to the ride,” added Loree.
For more fresh produce news, keep reading AndNowUKnow.