As food donations arrive from all corners of the nation, chefs on the scene note a lack of wholesome, nutritious grain products. Indian Harvest answers the call.
BEMIDJI, MINN., July 14, 2008 – In the aftermath of the disastrous “500 year” flooding through most of June that displaced 40,000 Iowans from their homes, corporations, organizations and individuals from all parts of the country have given generously to provide relief. But residents in parts of the state are still hurting as massive clean-up efforts continue.
In neighboring Minnesota, a respected foodservice company known for its distinctive grains, beans and legumes donated 3,800 pounds of its No. 1 seller: Kansas Medley, a signature blend of wheat berries, wild rice and long-grain rice.
Indian Harvest Specialtifoods, Inc., maker of Kansas Medley, has consistently provided hunger relief resulting from some of the worst natural disasters in the United States over the last 30 years.
“Before the first indication of the full extent of devastation in Iowa, we began pooling our resources to determine the most meaningful way to assist those who lost everything in the floods,” said Mike Holleman, corporate chef of Indian Harvest. “Chris Dwyer, a chef in our network assisting with area hunger-relief efforts, specified some of the greatest needs, which enabled us to contribute where it would matter most.”
Dwyer, executive chef of the Doubletree Hotel Minneapolis Park Place, said Indian Harvest’s donation will meet a critical need for whole grains to maximize the nutritional value of two weeks’ worth of prepared hot meals.
Indian Harvest shipped two pallets of Kansas Medley to the Salvation Army’s emergency kitchen in Cedar Rapids, which was fashioned within an empty grocery store when its own kitchen flooded. Since early June, the makeshift kitchen has been manned by chef volunteers who are members of the St. Augustine, Fla.-based American Culinary Federation (ACF). Chefs belonging to ACF chapters in Iowa and surrounding states were among the first volunteers to provide emergency services.
“You can always count on the chefs of ACF when you need a hand,” said Benjamin (B.J.) Whitmore, C.S.C., executive chef and F&B director of Bridge View Center in Ottumwa and president of the American Culinary Federation of Iowa based in Des Moines. “They’re the best group of people. You call an ACF chef, ask him or her to do anything, and they bend over backwards to help you.”
Although flood waters have receded, chef volunteers are still preparing 2,500 to 2,700 meals each evening and expect to continue serving through July 26, Whitmore said.
“We’ve done everything from loose-meat sandwiches and turkey tetrazzini to lasagna and beef stir-fry—just basic, homestyle food,” Whitmore said, noting that Indian Harvest’s Kansas Medley will be incorporated into casseroles, main dishes and side dishes, as well as served alone.
“We applaud the rapid response from ACF and chefs throughout the region, who answered the call for help from the good people of Iowa,” said Holleman. “Indian Harvest is proud to assist the chefs’ selfless efforts.”
About Indian Harvest Specialtifoods, Inc.
Indian Harvest Specialtifoods, Inc., headquartered in northern Minnesota, is a foremost U.S. producer and procurer of some of the world’s most distinctive varieties of grains, beans and legumes for foodservice. The company’s dedication to discovering and promoting lesser-known, heirloom grains and seeds is deep-rooted in its 30-year heritage of providing chef-driven menu inspiration and solutions to an evolving restaurant industry while embracing a mission of ecological sustainability. For more information, visit www.indianharvest.com.