Product review: zipfruit


Once You open the stylish packaging of “zipfruit” you get a snack size serving of tasty crispy freeze dried goodness.

by Oregon Freeze Dry, the world’s largest custom freeze dryer, ZipKitchen is providing a fresh take on the snack world. Thanks to their experience and technology, this new line of freeze-dried ZipFruit preserves the natural essence of the original fruit, ensuring the taste and quality remains intact.

I liked them, but hope for more exotic flavors in the future like raspberries, peaches, nectarines etc. I got a free sample so I do not know how much they cost, it is a smallish amount. Just right for a quick snack or to feed a child. They were easy to open.

I heard they are available at 7-Eleven’s nationwide so should be easy for y’all to try them for yourselves.

“Due to the freeze-dried technology that Oregon Freeze Dry bestows, and the fact that all of their products are sourced, freeze-dried, packaged, and shipped from one location, helps to guarantee that the nutrition and quality of their products remain at its peak. In fact, unlike traditional dried-fruit which concentrates all of the sugars of the fruit, and is often infused with preservatives, freeze-dried products are almost nutritionally identical to the original, minus the extra water weight.
With only 35-45 calories per serving, no additives, colors, or flavorings, and a 15-month shelf-life to boot, this is definitely a snack that I would feel good about eating myself, as well as for feeding the little ones in my life.”  from their site. The photo links to their site for more info.



Strawberry Heaven


As you can imagine the sample berries at the United Fresh 2012 convention were exquisite. While speaking with the Well-Pict people learned so much about their farms and the proprietary breeding programs that lead to these glossy, red all the way through, beauties.

Their berries are available year round and  are grown bi-coastal in the US. They work hard to provide a superior product that is available in most area supermarkets. I am sure you are already familiar with them.

They also have organic strawberries in limited markets.

Well-Pict has maintained a strong Florida presence to ensure consistently reliable supply of quality winter berries. They were sampling and I had to back away from the big bowls towing over with huge dark red berries! I buy these berries year round for my personal and business use. Great product, I endorse wholeheartedly. They have raspberries too.

United Fresh 2012 musings…


Well, the three of us learned several encouraging things at this convention.

  • There are some wonderful companies out there working hard to ensure the safety of our fresh vegetable supply, since that is so much of what we eat around here, that makes us happy.
  • The safety includes growing, testing, washing, cleaning, packing and processing and more.
  • More and better vegetables are being developed and grown locally as well as commercially all over the world.
  • Policies that encourage families and community to eat more vegetables are on the rise.
  • more people we met are vegetarian than ever before…


New Photography Coming


Super duper news!  I had a nice offer from my next door neighbor Melinda, a fine arts photographer whose amazing work can be seen here-
















She loves vegetables and is a food photographer; helping me make these blog photos more professional, especially the recipe, food education ones. It will be easy peasy to see which work is hers and which is till mine!

United Fresh workshops 2


Ceiling Security cameras — who knew the mining of data that groceries stores can get from their ceiling cameras? I know now–

Data+metrics= insight

  • Store Traffic
  • Shopping time from store entry to exit
  • Store “hot” zones Like end caps and aisle “blockers”
  • navigation time
  • Time spent in each store zone i.e dairy, floral, bakery etc
  • traffic flow direction
  • security
  • employee theft
  • shopper leakage ( those who come in to buy but leave without buying anything)
  • timeliness of fresh produce to the shelf for customer purchase
  • How often freezer doors are opened or do they just look though glass
  • customers using tastings, store flyers, coupons, fancier kiddie carts, etc.
  • and more….


United Fresh 2012 workshops


Some other food retailing events happened concurrently with United Fresh–FMI2012 where I had an opportunity to attend this enlightening  workshop –

Know Your Customer

The Business Side of Social Media
Dallas Ballroom, Omni Hotel
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

The world of Facebook and Twitter goes far beyond simple messages between friends. Increasingly it is becoming a fantastic communication and relationship-building tool for both customers and associates. Learn how businesses like yours can create strategies to build stronger bonds and selling opportunities with shoppers through a new in-depth study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council. This session will outline steps a company of any size must consider to build a robust and useful social media strategy that can lead to sales, customer loyalty and even improved associate communication.

Moderator: Michael Sansolo, President, Sansolo Solutions, and Research Director, Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America
Panelists: Jerry Golub, President and CEO, Price Chopper Supermarkets
J.K. Symancyk, Chief Operating Officer, Meijer, Inc.
Jesse Spencer, Social Media Manager, The Integer Group
Catherine Green Burns, President, Food Lion, Harveys and Reid’s

Some of the interesting points and comments I heard from panelists at this event:

  • You can’t control what customers say on Twitter, It’s like a window or a megaphone right in the soul of your brand
  • You can end up competing with your own .com
  •  Those who manage you social media, need to be the best “truest” version of your brand, who is that spokesperson and what are the implications for your content?
  • Decide how you will interact with real time incidents and and feedback, positive e and negative
  • Amazing how powerful it is when your customers want to build your brands
  • The challenge is keeping up with the ever evolving expanding platforms
  • Understanding the persona of the social media communicator/facilitator

Lots of great free marketing trend/networking advice  from CocaCola researchers… on their graphic–

Pico Tomato Salsa Delight!


When the tomatoes are perfection and the local Texas sweet onions crispy and delicious, they only need a dab of spice and salt to be a flavor that can be so addictive that you just keep coming back to the bowl for more. Look how intensely red this is!

I like to hand chop this. I know, it takes more time but this is so simple, and I want the tomato and onion and jalapeno pieces to all be perfect tiny squares.

The proportions are to your taste but I like this–

  • 5 large dead ripe tomatoes,
  • 1 jumbo sweet onion ,
  • 2 green jalapeños.
  • 1 large bunch of fresh cilantro and the
  • juice of 3-4 limes.
  • add garlic salt and other spices to taste (or one VeggyMart Salsa/Pico Seasoning packet)

Hand chop the onions, tomatoes and jalapeño ( make the pepper tinier and remove the stem and seeds). Chop the cilantro and juice the limes. Start with three limes and  the fourth if it need more tartness.Throw it all in a bowl. sprinkle liberally with garlic salt.

This is only as good as the summer tomatoes and onions. This is still an ok recipe in the fall, but not as addictive as this week. Try to get the farmers at the farmers market to let you taste the tomatoes and get whichever tastes sweetest.



United Fresh Produce 2012 Convention


I had a wonderful opportunity yesterday and today to to attend the United Fresh Produce  trade show/ convention to learn about the innovations in produce processing , storage, food safety,etc. I also got a chance to sample beautiful produce from distributors and smaller growers. Waiting for the show to open I saw retailers, large grocery store chains, school administration, nursing home and hospital care execs. In fact, hundreds of people who are concerned for the produce industry. There will be several articles upcoming this week on the workshops I attended and the producers and growers I met.

Croissant Breakfast Casserole


So decadent, not even healthy but Richard took pictures of this so here you go. Ta dahh! Croissant Breakfast casserole.

My friend had a few bags of leftover mini croissants from her daughter’s wedding reception. Getting a tad stale, already sliced. I dipped each one on both sides in a mixture of:

Almond milk, beaten egg, cinnamon, 2 T. sugar, a splash of vanilla extract.

Layered in a rimmed cookie sheet sprayed with pam and baked for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. It was really tasty and decadent!