HMC Farms' Jakob Smith Discusses New Sliced Grape Offering
KINGSBURG, CA - Fresh produce categories provide ample opportunity for innovation. HMC Farms® recognized this in the table grape category, conducting intensive research and development to bring convenience and uniqueness to the market. Most recently, the supplier made its new sliced grape format available to the foodservice industry, and I had the chance to chat with Jakob Smith, Director of Value-Added Sales.
“HMC Farms has a long-standing reputation as a pioneer in the value-added grape category,” Jakob began. “We recently introduced another innovation to allow our customers to easily incorporate grapes into more menus: sliced grapes. These washed and ready-to-eat sliced grape ‘wafers’ are available in 1 lb and 4 lb trays, perfect for use in any setting from restaurants to school nutrition programs.”
The addition of fresh, sliced grapes can offer an excitingly novel, yet familiar twist to virtually any recipe. These ready-to-serve sliced grape berries provide a safer and more convenient alternative to cutting grapes in-house, minimizing both labor costs and food handling.
“Grapes are sometimes overlooked as an ingredient due to the extensive prep labor required to wash, dry, and cut them, which is unfortunate because grapes have the amazing ability to add a burst of flavor to virtually any dish. Our sliced grapes have an 18-day shelf-life from the date of pack. They include no additives or preservatives, and are available year-round,” said Jakob. “Since the introduction of sliced grapes, we have found ourselves incorporating grapes into many different recipes and dishes. From fresh grapes on pizza to salads and sandwiches, fresh grape salsa, to dessert toppings, the options are endless.”
Since the original Lunch Bunch® portioned grapes were introduced in 1979, HMC has spent more than forty years pioneering value-added grape solutions that make it possible for grapes to be served in new applications. Whether on the stem, off the stem, individually wrapped, or in bulk; the supplier offers its grapes 52 weeks a year.
“When it comes to fresh fruit ingredients, there are very few ready-to-serve options, and grapes have long been ignored as candidates for fresh-cut programs until now,” Jakob told me. “Our sliced grapes present a new opportunity to include fruit in a wide range of items, without added labor or preservatives.”
This sliced format is currently available with red seedless grapes; varieties will vary depending on the growing region and time of year. While the product is currently targeted toward foodservice customers, the company has seen a push for sliced grapes in snacking, and HMC is now exploring ways to offer them to consumers at retail outlets as well.
HMC Farms is a vertically integrated grower, packer, and shipper of tree fruit and table grapes in California's San Joaquin Valley. The company’s Instagram and Facebook pages outline its history, farming techniques, recipes, as well as new Farm Friday videos every week.
Looking to differentiate your own produce lineup? HMC Farms may very well be the answer.