Consumers benefit from flash-frozen local foods because they generally have a higher nutritional value—particularly when products are frozen immediately after harvest—than many foods preserved with high heat. Flash-frozen products not only require minimal processing, but they are also simple to use in high-volume, fast-paced institutional kitchens. Culinary staffs in many institutions prefer to use lightly processed frozen foods in order to minimize the labor costs and staff training needs often associated with fresh local foods. Flash-frozen products also allow culinary staff to utilize local products throughout the course of the year, when fresh produce is unavailable.
Farmers benefit from flash freezing by providing financial return on crops that they cannot readily sell as fresh produce due to slight imperfections in produce or over-production of particular crops. Of particular importance to this region is the fact that flash freezing can help farmers get one step closer to the establishment of mid-scale agricultural production, a critical link to bringing our region closer to its full agricultural capacity. This “loss of the middle” is a nationwide dilemma, and it is manifested in the Northeast by our overall lack of regional fruit and vegetable products on a year-round basis. As Green Mountain College continues to educate the next generation of farmers, it is also committed to the development of an infrastructure essential to support small to medium scale agriculture in Vermont.
For more detailed anyalyses, check out "Evaluation of Options for Freezing Produce in Western Massachusetts"