Del Monte Foods workshop at Flour + Water
It was a very surprising 4 hour day. I was teaching the marketing team of Del Monte Foods how to make pickles and sauerkraut. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I am a little embarrassed of my initial pre-judgements I had of the team. I thought "this is a HUGE national corporation. This is Del Monte Foods and they aren't going to have a clue about my vision of the food system. I thought they would be ignorant of seasonality and the importance of freshness. I made a lot of assumptions, after all I had invited "the enemy" into my lair. OK, enemy is a strong word especially since I do not have a desire to go big or national, but I did not expect them to have a good understanding of local food systems. I was wrong.
About 20 young and hip professionals came to the test kitchen of flour + water in the mission bursting with enthusiasm and joy. They had interest and questions before I even began. They also had a lot to inform me of about their company like a good marketing team! There are a lot of facts that I could not believe and did not yet check, but one thing is they knew their stuff and were sincerely interested. Everyone was very bright and knew where the peaches grew and knew that green beans were preserved within 6 hours of harvesting. They knew more about our local seasonal availability than a lot of my "foodie" friends. They are trying to save the can rather than convert to plastic like the rest of the industry. They spoke of sustainability and solar powered plants with zero waste and water re-use. I felt I entered another planet.
They seemed to forgive me for my ignorance of their product after I explained I grocery shopped only about once every 6 weeks and only in a small local grocery store that does not carry Del Monte products. I had no idea their product was based in California and cared about freshness. They tried an organic line, but their consumers did not buy it. It was a wonderful afternoon of making pickles and sauerkraut together and sharing ideas and food. I look forward to a plant visit soon. I was grateful to be so pleasantly surprised.