Amy’s kitchen

11 Aug

We didn’t set out to become the nation’s leading natural frozen food brand. All we wanted to do was create a business that would allow us to earn a living by providing convenient and tasty natural vegetarian meals for people like ourselves, who appreciated good food, but were often too busy to cook “from scratch.”

We started on a “shoestring,” using our own house and barn as headquarters. The founding meetings were held in the same room where we were married and where our daughter Amy was born.

This was in 1987, before the idea of “organic” food had become well known, and when there were very few frozen meals available for vegetarians to eat, either in health food stores or supermarkets. We were, however, very fortunate in being in the right place at the right time. The number of vegetarians had increased dramatically, as had consumer awareness of the harmful effects on their health and the environment of chemicals in the food supply.

Our first product, a vegetable pot pie, was an instant success.

Other products followed in rapid succession, and we made the amazing discovery that they were being eaten not only by vegetarians and those interested in natural foods, but by millions of people looking for easy to prepare meals that really tasted good.

Since then Amy’s has created over 88 frozen meals, including pizzas, pocket sandwiches, pot pies, entrées, snacks and whole meals. In 1999, we introduced a grocery line that now includes canned soups, beans and chili as well as jarred pasta sauces and salsas. Our foods are carried by all natural food stores, supermarkets and some club stores in the United States, Canada and abroad.

Although we have considerably expanded our production facilities and the number of people we employ, we have remained a family owned and operated business, sensitive to the needs of our customers.

In spite of the fact that many companies now produce similar products, Amy’s is still #1 in popularity and sales. Our total commitment to quality has made the difference.

It All Starts with Fresh Ingredients
We feel it is important to know where our food comes from. Fewer people today have the luxury of time to grow their own fruits and vegetables. And most of us don’t even know neighboring farmers who in the past supplied our local markets. We miss that connection as proven by the satisfaction we get from going to the farmers’ markets that grace many of our communities. There’s something about meeting the people who grow the food that creates a sense of “community”.

At Amy’s we value the notion of creating communities. One of the ways we do this is with the farmers who grow our fruits and vegetables. We know most of our growers by name and have been working with some of them since our humble beginnings. Maybe you’d like to know a little of how these relationships work, and the reasons behind why Amy’s products look and taste so good.

Amy’s is fortunate to be nestled into one of the world’s premier growing regions for many crops. Over fifty percent of our vegetables are grown within 200 miles of our “kitchen”. Author John Steinbeck wrote romantically about farming life in the Salinas Valley and the great San Joaquin Valley. These are the “gardens” that produce many of the organic vegetables you enjoy in Amy’s products.

Let’s talk broccoli! Can you believe there is only a 2-day window, during each harvest, when broccoli is at peak flavor and quality? Even though it is a year-round crop in California, organic broccoli is best between November and April when cool weather limits pressure from pests and dry weather. We work closely with our growers to choose the exact time for harvesting the absolute best of the season.

Our onions are sourced from 15 local organic growers. Most of these are family farms that have been with us for many years. Growing onions organically requires careful crop rotation planning. A single field may not be used for organic onions in more than one year out of every four. The onions are delivered to Amy’s fresh, and a small group of people from our kitchen peels them by hand.

Organic leeks are another crop that is grown by local family farmers, just a few miles to the west of Amy’s. Our produce managers will visit the farms throughout the growing season and discuss ideas for new crops and new ways of using fresh ingredients in our food. This is truly a “sustainable” approach to the community.

Oh, and let us not forget to mention about our apples (used in our Country Dinner Whole Meal, our famous single serve Organic Apple Pie and our Toaster Pops). Amy’s selects the“Cox Pippin”, a rare, heirloom apple, that basks in the warm Indian summer sun of Northern California. Doing so produces a sweetness that complements its perfect tartness. It is as much art as it is apple!

We have earned a reputation in the farming community as the company with the most rigid standards for quality and consistency. This is as it should be. Just imagine if you were planning a special meal for your closest friends. Wouldn’t you take the time to select the best of everything? Bright green broccoli, perfect potatoes, sweet tomatoes and tangy onions? Sure you would, and because we think of every customer as a guest in our home, you deserve the very best that nature provides.

Onions

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