I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Southern Specialties headquarters in Florida and got a first-hand look at what it is like to bring their sugar snap peas and asparagus to market!
SO many times we are walking the aisles of the grocery stores and think, "Where did this beautiful looking produce come from?" On the other hand, some of us might be so busy just getting in and out that we don’t even think twice about it.
The new reports, however, show that ‘food transparency’ is really a very important issue to most of us. Especially, the good ole millennials. In fact, according to one survey, 84% of millennials wish that companies would be more transparent about where they source their food, or how it is grown. Unfortunately, people have become more wary about larger food brands. Today’s shoppers aren’t so quick to purchase without at least a bit of thought about where that food just came from – and how.
That’s why I am so excited to go and visit some of these produce companies and actually see first-hand how they bring their food to market, and then I will share that experience with you. I want to know how their food was grown, processed and then delivered to you, or should I say, to us.
That’s what I just did at Southern Specialties outside of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. And, wow! It was eye-opening!
This is a family-owned business that grows so many types of vegetables, either in Florida or in Guatemala, which offers the perfect environment for growing so many vegetables that require a delicate eco-system. Once grown, they are all delivered to their processing plant, which is a hustling and bustling plant with a flow of crops constantly coming in and being prepped for the retail sales. Then, later appearing at a grocery store near us!
Watching the snap peas and asparagus go through the whole process was pretty incredible, and the operation was so efficient and organized. It started with the asparagus going through its designated conveyor belt, with a team making sure that they were sorted beautifully and then pushed through to the washing process. Then, they were dried, cut with the stalks removed, checked again for any issues, and then sent along the belt to the bagging process. Sealed and delivered, where the bags would then be placed in a box for delivery to the trucks.
The bagging process was pretty amazing! Some of the bags they use were state-of-the-art – allowing the asparagus to stand up beautifully. Did I mention they have all colors of asparagus? White, purple and green. So beautiful. The whole time conscientious and caring people were at every station, supervising, sorting, examining, and carefully watching the process to make sure all steps were thorough.
The same thing went for the snap peas, which were shuffled down the conveyor belt, being sorted, washed, dried, and checked at every step along the way. Then, bagged and prepped for delivery! I had to poke some fun at the process and did my best I Love Lucy impersonation and had some fun with it. Check out the video!
The whole process made me excited about seeing Southern Specialties’ brand Southern Selects, and it made me want to buy them whenever I can. After seeing the care, the quality control, the supervision every bag receives, it truly was inspiring. I appreciate my food so much more after having had this experience, and I hope you’ll get a good understanding of it as well by watching this video!