David Van Drunen, pictured on the right below, is a 6th generation farmer atVan Drunen farms. He and his two field managers are standing in a field of organic kale – the same kale we use to make Super Kale Farm-to-Bag Popcorn.
The Van Drunen Farm was established in Momence, Illinois when the family immigrated to the US from the Netherlands in 1856. They grew produce like potatoes, peas, and chives and sold them at the Chicago market. Over the generations, the business grew to meet the needs of customers. That meant more acres, more crop variety, and new processing and preservation techniques.
Jeff, David’s dad, has an advanced science degree and ushered in leading-edge methods lock-in nutrition after harvest through freezing, drying, and juicing. For example, 30 minutes after harvest, the organic kale is triple-washed with purified water and put onto an air-drying belt that transports it to a room the size of three of semi-trailers. Here the dark leafy greens are blasted with cold air that freezes them instantly, or in the flash of an eye — “flash-freezing.” The freezing dries the water out of the kale leaving frozen, dehydrated leaves with all of the nutrients retained — antioxidants; vitamins including high amounts of Vitamins K, A, C, and B6; minerals including manganese, calcium, potassium, and iron. Once the organic kale has been freeze-dried, a large mixing machine churns it into a dark-green powder. That’s the organic kale we use for our Super Kale Farm-to-Bag Popcorn.