There are a handful of companies that, for me, stand out from the crowd. Ones to which I’m brand loyal and spotlight on Cool Baby Kid over and over again. Companies I’m proud to promote with products our family uses on a regular basis. Musselman’s is one of those brands, and not simply because they reside in my home state of PA. Starting with the fact that my picky daughter actually eats Musselman’s applesauce, there’s so much to love. I was recently lucky enough to visit this grower-owned cooperative who uses 100% American-grown apples in their products. It’s no coincidence, however, since Musselman’s has been a part of our family long before I’ve partnered with them on Cool Baby Kid.
A “Day at the Orchard” started off with a visit to the Peach Glen Plant where we learned how they process between 9.5 and 11.5 billion bushels of apples a year. While some are processed immediately, others are stored in CA or controlled atmosphere and can actually keep at just 2% oxygen! Unlike cherries which must be processed quickly, within 72 hours, apples can store well at cool temperatures. For the consumer, this just means we should store apples in the refrigerator in the crisper drawer or just eat applesauce to get all of the same benefits!
Did You Know? Musselman’s applesauce is actually a blend of apples such as Golden Delicious, York and Rome.
When I asked about future product possibilities, some of which are on the radar and others not so much, I heard “If you can’t make a quality product, there’s no point making it.” So true. Next we visited C&G Orchard which produces 30,000 bushels of apples each year. While this seemed like an astounding number to us, the group learned other growers will go over the 250,000 mark!
Here are some other tidbits I learned at the orchard:
- My favorite apples…Honey Crisp.
- The life span of an apple tree is approximately 25 years.
- Knouse, the parent company that owns Musselmans’ has 25 quality standards when classifying apples!
- There is very little waste when processing apples. The peeling is used in juice, for instance, and little is actually tossed away.
- Frost is the enemy to apple growers.
- Orchardists trim trees, mow grass, tie fallen trees, calibrate sprayers, pass inspections, pick apples and work long hours for minimal profit.
During our day we also learned about Knouse Foods sustainability efforts and visited their solar field where 30% of power to the plant originates. From conserving water to working with Penn State University (my alma mater!) to look at alternate pest control methods, it’s a company committed to improvement on every level. We were even privy to some future product possibilities such to delight parents and become as big of a ht as my favorite Musselman’s Applause product, Totally Fruit, which is sweetened naturally with fruit juice and is oh so yummy.
So many of the people I encountered during our “Day at the Orchard” have been working for the company for many years.–a testament to their dedication to the brand. I couldn’t more pleased to have visited and personally experienced the quality testing (and re-testing) on a product line our family uses and loves.
Disclosure: Our “Day at the Orchard” trip was provided by Knouse Foods; all opinions are 100% mine.
Cool Tip: Take part in a new Musselman’s Sweepstakes called “Your the Inspiration.” Not only will they donate a dollar to the National Breast Cancer Foundation for everyone who likes their Facebook page, when you register for the “You’re the Inspiration” Sweepstakes you’re entered to win a trip to the Brian Boitano Skating Spectacular November 20th at Notre Dame University and one of 33 digital downloads of Chicago’s new album, Chicago XXXIII – “O Christmas Three.”
And be sure to check back starting October 15th since Musselman’s wants to help celebrate who inspires you with the grand prize winner selecting a trip to a 2012 NBC Skating Series show!