We’ve been growing sprouts for 20
years…and we knew we could do it even better!
We are Wild About Sprouts™ and we’ve developed a new way to grow sprouts in the cold for consumers like you who are wild about sprouts too!
We created Wild About Sprouts™ to introduce our new, patented Cold Grown® process. As an extra measure, we also conduct final product testing, a first in the industry, before product leaves our refrigerated greenhouses for your grocery store. Because some grocers and food service locations are not currently selling sprouts, we noticed the pent-up demand for sprouts. And because we are a bit wild about safety too, we follow a new testing process too so consumers can again find these flavorful, crunchy, tasty veggies.
Passionate about sprouts for more than 20 years
In 1997, Green Giant Fresh, owned by Jeff Sholl, was approached by Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to lead the commercialization of broccoli sprouts. Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family which has been extensively researched for its health-promoting benefits. Broccoli sprouts contain the most concentrated source of glucoraphanin, a precursor of sulforaphane, the compound which turns on the natural cellular defenses housed in all cells.
In 1998, we purchased a sprouting operation in the Bay area (named California Sprouts), developed a network of sprouters and introduced BroccoSprouts and a number of other sprout varieties and blends. Recognizing the potential microbial hazards associated with sprouted seed, in collaboration with The Pillsbury Company, USDA and FDA, we developed the 1999 “Guidance for Industry: Reducing microbial food safety hazards for sprouted seeds and sampling and microbial testing of spent irrigation water during sprout production.”
Because many sprouters did not adhere to the 1999 Guidance, since 1996, the FDA has investigated over 50 foodborne illness outbreaks associated with traditionally grown sprouts that resulted in over 2500 cases of illness, 200 hospitalizations, and at least 3 deaths. As a result of the continuing foodborne illness outbreaks associated with sprouts, major retailers foodservice outlets discontinued selling or using sprouts. California Sprouts provided safe, quality sprouts to retailers and foodservice for over 20 years without a single foodborne illness outbreak because we complied with all FDA guidance, but we were still painted with the same brush as the rest of the industry. We remained passionate about our product, but concluded any future would be based on developing a new process that addressed the safety issues. If we were unable to develop a safe process for growing sprouts, it was our decision to exit the business entirely. So, in 2014 we contracted with The Vista Institute, a small team of highly experienced food scientists to come up with a safer process for growing sprouts. After more than two+ years of research, an entirely new way to grow sprouts safely was developed.
Jeffrey Sholl, PhD
Jeffrey Sholl, PhD, Principal/Chairman RäFoods, LLC (parent of WAS) has 40+ years of experience in the processed food and fresh produce industries holding many senior management positions at the Pillsbury Company, GrandMet, Haagen-Dazs, and The Paul Ecke Ranch. He acquired the Green Giant Fresh Brand from GrandMet in 1995 and has been active in the fresh produce business ever since. Jeff provides passion and strategic direction for Ra Foods!
Dennis Lonergan, PhD
Dennis Lonergan, PhD has more than 40 years of experience in food product and technology development with degrees in microbiology, civil engineering and food science. Previously Dennis was VP of Technology for Bumble Bee and Van de Kamp’s Seafood and Director of Strategic Technology Development at The Pillsbury Company and General Mills. Dennis hold 16 US patents in the area of food technology and is responsible for the development of the patented cold-grown process for WAS.
Susan Harlander, PhD
Susan Harlander, PhD has worked with the food industry for over 30 years. Prior to joining Land O’Lakes as Director of R&D and The Pillsbury Company as VP Green Giant R&D and Agricultural Research, Susan was Associate Professor of Food Microbiology at the University of Minnesota. She has over 110 publications and has served on numerous federal government committees for FDA, USDA, and the National Research Council. Susan is focused on food safety aspects of the Cold Grown® process and helping team members and consumers understand food better, from farm to fork!
The rest of the Team: A passionate, friendly and hardworking group that are Wild About Sprouts™!
Wild About Sprouts™ is on a mission to reach consumers across the country with fresh, living, safe, healthy, flavorful sprouts. In order to do this, we’ve expanded our operations and hired experts for key positions to help us meet the increasing demand we are experiencing.
Antonio Ortiz is the Wild About Sprouts™ Director of Operations. In a career spanning over 20 years, Ortiz is an accomplished operational management professional and successful leader of diverse operational teams. Antonio brings the large-scale operations experience needed to expand our operations to meet the increasing demand for our fresh, living sprouts. Antonio and his team are prepared to spearhead the growth of Wild About Sprouts™.
Chelsea Deusenberry is Wild About Sprouts™ Continuous Improvement and Quality Manager. Chelsea has extensive experience in quality control, automation and robotics and GFSI audit experience for both FSIS and FDA production plants. Chelsea performs continuous gap analyses to determine areas of improvement in operational efficiencies and internal processes as well as tracks and analyzes product specifications. She is a key communicator with all levels of the organization.
Cherie Hsueh is a health and fitness advocate and a marketer. She’s passionate about helping consumers of all ages live a healthful life and is excited to give them new options for all eating occasions that showcase the flavor, crunch and variety Wild About Sprouts™ offer. Maybe you’ve seen her on TV or heard her on the radio, she’s excited to interact with you about Wild About Sprouts™!
Andrew Hsueh is sharing the Wild About Sprouts™ messages with your local grocers and is working hand-in-hand with produce managers and is excited to bring Wild About Sprouts™ to new customers.
Jennifer Greshowak is passionate about spreading the word about our Cold Grown® process, product testing and sprout varieties. Eating healthy can be a challenge and Jennifer is here to help share the benefits and ease of using Wild About Sprouts™ to consumers of all ages.
Jacqueline Ponciano is the Wild About Sprouts™ Logistics Manager. Jacqueline manages compliance, training and projects. She is responsible for further developing our transportation and customer service departments, focusing on order fulfilment and on time deliveries.
Wild About the Environment
Wild About Sprouts™ uses only a quarter of a cup of normal water vs. traditional sprout growing operations that produce excess waste water that requires disposal. And Wild About Sprouts™ are pesticide and herbicide free.