“Different markets have different demands during the holidays,” said Bill Litvin, vice president of sales and national account manager for Giorgio Fresh, headquartered in Temple, PA, a leading producer, packer, shipper and marketer of fresh mushrooms and mushroom products. “We find that the metro New York market focuses on stuffer-size mushrooms.”
Alternatively, Litvin noted that other markets look for sliced product to assist in holiday cooking.
“White and brown mushrooms are always in high demand for the holidays, with brown mushrooms capturing an increasing share,” he added.
He pointed out that the Thanksgiving rush on mushrooms begins the weekend prior to the holiday and continues through the Thanksgiving weekend.
“Christmas is more spaced out with many holiday entertainment events throughout December into January,” he said. “In addition to our holiday crunch, we continue to see the mushroom category growing [year-round] as consumers become more aware of the very positive nutritional profile of mushrooms.”
Giorgio’s new line of stuffed Portabella mushrooms is a perfect fit for holiday meals. The line includes Portabella mushrooms stuffed with cheese and imitation bacon bits; Portabella mushrooms stuffed with imitation flavored crab; and Portabella mushrooms stuffed with Parmesan cheese, artichokes and spinach.
He said that now more than ever consumers are looking for healthy ways to eat during the hectic, event-filled holiday season.
The blendability of mushrooms makes everything from appetizers to meals healthier and more economical.
“At giorgiofresh.com, consumers can find a wide variety of recipes that meet all their holiday needs,” said Litvin. “Giorgio’s recipe selection includes creamy sausage-stuffed mushrooms that party guests will love, and grilled Portabella quesadillas that make fast and delicious family meals.”
Food safety and traceability are very high on Giorgio’s list of important details, and it has its initiatives and certifications in place perfectly.
“The Safe Quality Food Institute certified Giorgio for Safe Quality Food Level 3, the highest level attainable,” said Litvin. “SQFI is the leader in providing the world’s most widely trusted food safety and quality certification program. It is part of the Food Marketing Institute, an association that conducts programs in food safety, research, education and industry relations on behalf of its 1,500 member companies around the world. Our farms are all MGAP certified. In fact, we grow 99 percent of all the fresh mushrooms that we sell.”
He added that when it comes to food safety, Giorgio does a good job of educating its customers about its state-of-the-art facilities and procedures. It also encourages its customers to visit its facilities to see how the company operates.
Giorgio’s tradition of excellence has continued every decade since its founding in the 1920s. Today as it continues to grow it is investing considerable time and energy into the innovative management philosophy called Kaizen. This program stresses the value of seeking “continuous improvement” in everything the company undertakes, from growing and processing to service and delivery.
The company claims that it is its obsession with detail and perfection that has led it to set the industry standard for quality and reliability.
In addition to its internal growth, Giorgio has made acquisitions, including Franklin Farms, Creekside Mushrooms, Gaspari Farms Inc. and Modern Mushroom Co.