Founded in 1978 as Organically Grown Cooperative, the business now known as Organically Grown Company has evolved into the Pacific Northwest’s largest organic produce wholesaler.

Still employee- and grower-owned to this day, what began as “a way for the hippies and dreamers and organic farmers to share information, educate each other, and buy supplies,” has become a powerhouse of the industry, boasting facilities in Eugene, Seattle, Portland and Spokane.

All the while, the company has stayed committed to its goal of long-term agricultural and environmental sustainability — powering its delivery vehicles with biodiesel, recycling more than 93 percent of its waste and donating 588 tons of produce to area food banks in 2015 alone.

The kind of steady growth Organically Grown has experienced carries with it new problems every step of the way, and in turn, requires new solutions to those problems. According to Anthony Seran, Organically Grown’s Project Manager, his newest solution is the Jet-Ready Precooler from Global Cooling Inc.

Finding the best way to quickly, efficiently, and economically cool produce from the field has long been among the top problems for growers, packers, and wholesalers. In fact, according to Seran, Organically Grown had been working on upgrading its precooling technology for some time.

“We thought we could refine and build our own fan system,” says Seran, “but we abandoned that plan when we discovered the Jet Precooler. And now that we have our first Jet, I can say that it works exactly as advertised. It brings 14 pallets of product down to temperature in one-and-a-half to two hours. Our homemade cooler used to take five or more hours to do that. There is just no comparison.”

Postharvest handling and precooling have always been important to companies like Organically Grown, whose produce is not treated with the array of chemicals that are often used by non-organic companies.

“Postharvest handling is what it’s all about. The fastest you can get [the product] to temperature, the better for everybody and the less energy you use,” says Seran. “The Jet Precooler easily cut two-thirds off our cooling time, preserving quality and shelf-life, and increasing our daily precooling capacity all at the same time.”

Additionally, Seran says he also likes the user-friendliness of the new system.

“It took me one minute to figure out how to fire it up and run it, and another minute to train my staff. It has the shortest learning curve of any piece of equipment that I’ve experienced,” he adds.

It’s safe to say that with the help of the new Jet-Ready Precooler, Anthony Seran and Organically Grown are once again showing their commitment to provide only the highest quality organic produce to customers.

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