A partnership forged two years ago between Northern Ohio Bon Appetit Management Co. chefs and the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) in Toledo has yielded ripe summer produce in the middle of winter at Bon Appetit managed accounts in the area. The process, called microprocessing, cryogenically flash-freezes fresh produce just after harvest in batches so they can be thawed as needed. The process allows the products to retain their freshness and flavor, according to CIFT.
Bon Appetit chefs from Oberlin College and Case Western Reserve University initiated the pilot program with CIFT two years ago. This past year, CIFT processed more than 25,000 pounds of produce, including berries, sweet corn, shelled peas, Brussels sprouts, apples and green beans, which were used in the two schools' dining operations.
This year, other Bon Appetit managed locations at Otterbein University, the Cleveland Botanical Garden, the Market Café in downtown Cleveland, Abercrombie & Fitch, Parker and State Auto will also take part in the program, part of the company's Farm to Fork goal to purchase at least a fifth of their food from small local producers.