Students from the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America toured Well-Pict's facilities and fields Friday, July 19, as part of the institute's Farm-to-Table program, which includes three weeks of farm tours of food producers across Northern and Central California.
The tour was a rare experience on several levels.The group of 34 students are the first class of students from CIA's Hyde Park, NY, campus to spend a semester in California at the institute's St. Helena campus in the Napa Valley. Also, the tour was a first for Well-Pict.
Dan Crowley, Well-Pict sales manager, led the students through storage and shipping facilities to view packaging and discuss domestic vs. export preferences. Following that, Chris Hogan conducted a tour of the raspberry hydroponic growing system that he is testing with Well-Pict.
"So far, the raspberries are performing comparably to conventionally grown berries," said Hogan. "We are learning as we go. Another grower is testing strawberries on a similar hydroponic system."
"This is going to be the future," Crowley told students.
Finally, students listened to Steve Ackerman of Plant Sciences discuss Well-Pict's proprietary varietal development and were treated to tastings of several potential new varieties from the test farm.
"Strawberries are one of the top 10 favorite fruits in the U.S.," said Julie Lucido, chief executive officer of Marketing Plus. "For food preparation, strawberries can be used to add sweet or savory flavors."