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Kitchenware Newswire

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Polder Wins Four 2017 Good Design Awards

Polder Products has received the 2017 Chicago Athenaeum Good Design Award for excellence in product design, quality and innovation on four of its recent product innovations.

f8b4b105d7fbf9bb91b55886e6daPolder received the awards across several categories including Household for its Fold-Away Dish Rack, Tabletop for its Chill Station ice bucket and integrated bottle chiller and Personal Care for its Nail Station portable nail salon and 2-in-1 Hot Sleeve hot styling tool storage items.

“To be recognized with a Good Design award is always a special honor,” said Kerry Cooper, Executive Vice President at Polder. “But to win on four of our new products is exceptional, and truly validates our efforts and focus on innovation and solutions-based design.”

All four products are currently available at retail across the U.S. and at select retailers internationally.

Food Producers Contribute to Communities to Change the World

By Lorrie Baumann

After wildfires devastated northern California’s wine country, Bellwether Farms was ready to help with a matching gift through its Bellwether Family_High-ResFarms Foundation. The wildfires have caused at least $3 billion in insured losses, according to the Los Angeles Times, which quoted state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, who noted that the loss tally was likely to grow as more claims were reported by insurers. More than 40 people died in the fires, and about 15,000 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed by the most destructive wildfire in California’s history.

The Bellwether Farms Foundation’s offer was a $25,000 dollar-for-dollar matching grant to provide a total of up to $50,000 to organizations providing direct assistance to northern California communities through food donations and support for recovery. Organizations receiving funds from the grant include the Redwood Empire Food Bank.

Bellwether Farms Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity, is in its first year of operations, set up by the Callahan family, owners of Bellwether Farms, which makes award-winning cheeses and yogurts in Sonoma County, California, to donate to charitable efforts, mostly related to hunger relief and food-related education for children. Callahan, the family-owned company’s Cheesemaker, says that the idea for the foundation came as he was reading about other companies that were actively seeking involvement with their communities and customers that went further than fundraising for causes in the moment. “Over the last couple of years, I was starting to think of ways to do a little more than just make cheese and yogurt,” he says. “We had always donated cheese and yogurt to local schools, the food bank, international organizations with local chapters — most of those were typically the smaller organizations that needed cheese for auctions at their main fundraising events.”

The Callahan family decided to pledge 1 percent of their sales to the foundation and then began figuring out how to get the money to the organizations working for causes they also wanted to support. They started by teaming up with the Whole Foods Foundation, which already had a mechanism in place to support better food options for children, which was a cause that the Callahans wanted to support. The Redwood Empire Food Bank, the largest hunger-relief organization serving north coastal California, from Sonoma County to the Oregon border, was another.

Bellwether Farms has also begun labeling its products with the Bellwether Farms Foundation’s mission statement. “We hope that people will think about these sorts of things when they shop and find ways to get involved,” Callahan said. “The package space is precious space, so I hope that the message there will be something that reaches the people who buy and enjoy Bellwether Farms products. … The food industry has to be part of the solution. We’re not going to solve the digital divide, but we can help with getting food to people and raising awareness about the problem.”

2016-Jennifer-Bice-Redwood-Hill-Farm-v2Not far up the highway from Bellwether Farms, Jennifer Bice, who sold her Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery to Swiss dairy company Emmi in 2015, has also been thinking about how her financial resources can make a greater impact on her community. This year, she started the Jennifer Bice Artisan Dairy/Cheesemaker Grant Award, which she intends to be a yearly award to a member of the California Artisan Cheese Guild who will use the money for creamery or farm infrastructure or for education that relates to improving farming or business practices. Bice, who will step down from overseeing day-to-day operations at the company in a few years, views the annual grant program as another form of succession planning to make sure that artisan cheesemaking will continue in her name even after she has retired to her goat dairy farm, which was not included in the sale. She is also giving regular cheesemaking workshops at her farm. “As I come into retirement, and I’ve enjoyed my business of raising dairy goats and making cheese, I wanted to find a way to mentor young and upcoming cheesemakers,” she says. “I’ll be retiring back to my farm, where I have 300 goats, chickens, an apple orchard, an olive grove, and a hopyard, so there’s a lot of work on a farm. I’m looking forward to being more of a farm girl.”

This year’s award recipient of the $10,000 gift, Erika McKenzie-Chapter, was chosen from a field of 10 proposals. “All of them were great prospects,” Bice says. “The recipient this year is a talented young cheesemaker. She makes beautiful farmstead cheese at her creamery, which is called Pennyroyal Farm.”

Pennyroyal Farm, home to more than 100 goats, was named for the wild pennyroyal mint that carpets the 60-acre farmstead and vineyard in Anderson Valley. McKenzie-Chapter began making farmstead goat cheese there in 2012, while her business partner, Sarah Bennett, oversees the vineyard, a flock of chickens, and a tasting room that sells their cheese and wine. McKenzie-Chapter is using the Bice grant to purchase equipment that will improve productivity and efficiency on the farm and allow for increased production of the Pennyroyal Farm cheeses. “Her process calls for treating the milk very gently, and this custom-built milk tank [purchased with the grant] will allow her to improve her efficiency while still handling the milk delicately,” Bice says. “She knows each of her goats by name, like I do in my herd.”

“In some ways, Erika reminds me of myself,” she adds. “It takes a lot of gumption to keep going with limited resources, but when you’re really passionate about your business and about your goats, that really resonates with people.”

Across the country in Maine, Aaron Anker, Chief Granola Officer of GrandyOats, thinks of having a greater impact on his community and the world around them both in terms of providing employment in a rural area of western Maine that doesn’t have a lot of other jobs to offer and by converting the company’s power source to solar energy as well. “We’re also partnering as much as we can with organizations like the Audubon Society and other land conservation organizations. I think it’s what feels right, so you do it,” he says. “Supporting environmental causes and local organizations has been part of our mission since the company started. We’ve always tried to help out. It’s not just a local thing – it’s also global, when you’re sourcing organic ingredients from around the world, it is essential that you’re not polluting those places.”

The company installed its 288 solar panels in the fall of 2015 while moving operations into an abandoned elementary school that had been a blight in the community. The solar panels went into the ball field where the youngsters used to play, and two years into their operation, the panels are creating more than 100,000 Kilowatt-hours of electricity, and the company is on track to power most of its facility from that output. “When we opened the school, we put in a higher efficiency cooling system, efficient ovens, electric forklifts. We removed all fossil fuels from the premises,” Anker says. “The idea that we’re going to change the world as one small company is true.”

While these companies started with businesses, Dignity Coconuts is a food business that started with a mission. The company started in 2010 as a nonprofit working in the Philippines on poverty and modern-day slavery, then turned to business as a way to help solve these social problems. “We asked, ‘What do you have that we can build a business around?’” says Dignity Vice President Erik Olson. “They said, ‘We have lots of coconuts.’”

Dignity went to work on building a business around coconuts and found a way to make a better coconut oil, avoiding the conventional cold press, which produces oil with a heavy coconut flavor and which belies its name by heating the oil to 160 degrees or more, according to Olson. “Most do not want every dish to taste like coconut,” he says. Dignity oil is produced from certified organic coconuts, using a centrifuge that spins the coconut cream to separate the oil. “We found this method produces a mild taste and smell and is a truly raw product you can’t get from other methods,” Olson says.

JPEG-03777The company sells the oil in 4-ounce jars that retail for $5.95 and 15-ounce jars that retail for $14.95. Lids of the jars are signed by members of the staff in the rural Philippines, and revenue from the sales is used to transform rural communities with high unemployment, few educational opportunities and a lack of clean drinking water. According to the company, workers are paid a fair wage, farmers are paid above-minimum prices for their coconuts, employees have ownership options, and the staff and management are always more than 50 percent women.

“It’s not going to stop here. We have structured our plan to make it reproducible. We are going to build more and more plants all over the world. There are plenty of coconuts to harvest out there!” the company says on its web site. “And it won’t be confined to coconuts. We want to go to communities and ask them what they have. Then we will build our business based on our values and their resources. We have a big dream for the future. Dignity is going to change the world.”

GLOBAL Cutlery USA Releases “Ludo Cuts with GLOBAL Knives” Video Series

GLOBAL Cutlery USA, distributor of stainless steel products made in Japan, released the first of eight videos for its new series “Ludo Cuts with GLOBAL Knives” starring renowned chef Ludo Lefebvre on its website. A new video will be released monthly and Lefebvre, GLOBAL Cutlery USA’s official brand ambassador, will demonstrate various tips and tricks using his favorite GLOBAL knives.

The first video, “The Chef and his Knives,” shows Lefebvre teaching basic skills to help gain confidence when handling sharp knives in the kitchen.

GLOBAL Cutlery USA launched its website in August 2017 and creating interactive content for visitors is one of the company’s top priorities. “‘The Ludo Cuts with GLOBAL Knives’ series was created to help viewers discover which knives suit their kitchen needs best. Ludo has been a GLOBAL fan for more than 20 years and he offers valuable advice as a professional chef and consumer,” said Jesper Brund, President/CEO of SCANPAN USA.

For more information about GLOBAL Cutlery USA and to view “Ludo Cuts with GLOBAL Knives,” visit www.globalcutleryusa.com.

Whirlpool Corporation Completes Expansion of Manufacturing Facility in Argentina

Whirlpool Corporation announced the completion of its manufacturing facility expansion in La Tablada city, located in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. The development is part of a more than $20 million dollar investment plan, which began last year when the facility started manufacturing ranges. The facility will now also manufacture front load washing machines with Sense Inverter technology.

This investment will result in the addition of approximately 100 new and 300 indirect jobs.

“We’re thrilled this significant facility expansion will help us bring the latest innovations to the Argentine market faster, and allow us to hire top talent,” said Armando Valle Jr., Vice President of Whirlpool Latin America. “We’re also proud to be part of a milestone in Whirlpool Corporation history, adding Argentina to the company’s roster of facilities that already includes 70 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world.”

This facility represents the completion of a two-year project to allow the company to bring its global platform and new innovation to this important market, and to customize those innovations to meet the needs of consumers in this region.

The Home and Gift Industry Creates LIFELINE to Support Feeding America’s Natural Disaster Relief Efforts

The U.S. gift and home furnishings industry is responding to the essential needs of people affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the California wildfires with LIFELINE, a national program to fund food and water provisions organized by Gift For Life and AmericasMart® Atlanta. Contributions will be distributed to people in need through and in association with Feeding America®, the nation’s largest hunger-relief charity.

Gift For Life is the partnership between the gift, home and stationery industries historically committed to raising funds supporting HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and education. AmericasMart Atlanta is the global wholesale marketplace serving gift and home furnishings retailers and designers from every U.S. state and more than 70 nations.

LIFELINE will channel monetary donations for the provision of food and water to communities impacted by the recent disasters through Feeding America member food banks. Donors can make tax-deductible credit card and e-check contributions via the secured LIFELINE page on Feeding America website www.feedingamerica.org/giftforlife. Donations by check and cash will not be accepted.

All associated with the gift and home furnishings industry—including retailers, retail buying groups, product manufacturers, product designers, sales organizations and service providers—are eligible to participate and encouraged to contribute.

AmericasMart Atlanta has initiated LIFELINE funding with a $40,000 donation and has issued a challenge to the gift and home furnishings community at large for donations in equal $40,000 increments. The challenge is effective October 23, 2017 through the 12-week LIFELINE run, which concludes January 12, 2018.

“LIFELINE engages the gift and home furnishings industry in a vital outreach mission unprecedented in scope,” notes George Kacic, Gift For Life board chairman and AmericasMart Atlanta executive vice president. “LIFELINE allows us to stay true to Gift For Life’s historical mission – HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention, education and advocacy – while also focusing the industry’s collective capacity to deliver immediate assistance to those whose lives are affected,” Kacic adds.

The LIFELINE donations page at the Feeding America website is live now at www.feedingamerica.org/giftforlife. For more information and to access a LIFELINE Q & A resource guide, email lifeline@americasmart.com.

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