From field to fork
Our three frozen vegetable processing units provide a lot of families with farm-fresh traditional and Mediterranean vegetables. But what happens between the moment they are sown and the moment they decorate your customers’ plates with their delicious and wholesome freshness? Discover the whole Crop’s story, from field to fork.
During sowing season, both we and nearby partnering farming cooperatives rely on the expertise of our agronomists to help us apply precision agriculture techniques to achieve the best crop yields as sustainably as possible. Through GPS-steered seeding our seedsmen plant precisely the right amount of seed at precisely the right depth in precisely the right patterns.
Cleaning and blanching our vegetables requires a significant amount of water, which is purified and then reused to irrigate the crop fields surrounding our production facilities. And because water is such a precious resource, we only irrigate our fields using a tensiometer and at nighttime to keep it from evaporating. Our Hesbaye Frost site in Belgium even lets it leftover purified water flow back to a local nature reserve, making it into a beauty spot for the region and a cherished home for hundreds of bird species.
When our vegetables are at their peak ripeness, we harvest them with the greatest of care, within the quickest time possible. And that’s no exaggeration. Our factories don’t close during harvest season, and when the weather is right, our farmers work around the clock, 7 days a week. GPS-steered harvesting even enables them to work during low visibility field conditions such as rain, dust, fog or even darkness. A necessary feat to capture the ultimate freshness of the fields.
Immediate transport to the plant
In order to freeze our vegetables at their freshest, and capture all their taste and vitamins, we transport them from the field to the plant in as little time as possible. In fact, 85% of our fields are located within 40 km from our production facilities to achieve this.
From the moment they arrive in our production plants, we unload our vegetables, wash them thoroughly and peel them (if necessary). This removes all dirt or any other possible impurities from between our precious greens.
Thorough quality check
From the field to the plate, our vegetables are handled by men and women whose sole objective is to treat you and your customers to premium quality veggies. With a keen eye, they closely monitor the manufacturing process and ensure that the physical standards – like nutritional content, shape and dry matter – for our vegetables are met entirely.
After their quality has been checked and confirmed, we blanch our vegetables to destroy the enzymes that break down their nutrients. This preserves their freshness and fixes their nutritional value before freezing.
Individual Quick Freezing
Individual Quick Freezing or IQF at -35°C to -40°C locks our vegetables in their farm-fresh, visually impeccable and nutrient-rich state; and enables to store them in that outstanding condition for more than a year. This method preserves no less than 92% of the vegetables’ vitamins. It also allows us to freeze each individual piece ultra-rapidly and keeps the vegetables separate in their packaging. Your customers therefore don’t have to thaw or defrost the whole batch, but can measure out the portion they need and put the rest back in the freezer until required again.
After freezing, we pack our vegetables in high-quality, deepfreeze-proof bowls, trays or bags (150-g to 2.5-kg depending on their destination), specially designed to keep them in impeccable shape on their way to your customer or the supermarket’s frozen food section. We also have 10-kg boxes, 20-kg bags and octobins to cater to the needs of our industrial clients.
Second quality check
The frozen and packed vegetables are subjected to a second quality check and scanned for foreign objects that might have slipped in by accident during one of the many automated processes.
Depending on where they are headed once they leave the plant, the individual trays and bags are boxed and hauled off to the deep freeze.
While they’re waiting to be shipped off, we store our freshly frozen and packed vegetables in a continuous cold chain to guarantee their excellent quality and maximum shelf life.
Transport to client
Depending on your order, it only takes limited time to load a truck full of vegetables and send it to your destination of choice. This excellent flexibility and all-year-round availability independent of seasons give you and your customers a competitive head start when market demand soars unexpectedly.
Did you know?
Each year, our Hesbaye Frost site in Belgium produces vegetables for some 600,000,000 meals.