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6350′ Natural Foods in the News

We are proud to supply the NSF McMurdo Science Station in Antarctica with 6350′Fruit Snacks (formerly known as Froodles).

Froodles on Ice - McMurdo Station, AntarcticaFroodles on Ice - McMurdo Station, Antarctica

Froodles on Ice - McMurdo Station, Antarctica

Telluride Venture Accelerator: High Desert Farms, Nutrition & Sustainability

Written on February 19, 2013 by Susan Viebrock in Culture, Telluride Venture Accelerator

Here’s one sweet business proposition that contains very little sugar.

Although the outlook for this new company was just sweetened by a recent victory.

Bill Manning and his High Desert Farms became one of four winners of the Telluride Foundation‘s newest initiatives, Telluride Venture Accelerator, founded by TVA CEO Jesse Johnson in conjunction with the Telluride Foundation’s Paul Major.

As a result of the compelling story he told in his application, Bill received investment capital from the Foundation and is now living in Telluride for six months (through July), where he has access to two successful entrepreneurs-in-residence, a long list of resources made available through the TVA, and Telluride’s robust angel investment community.

High Desert Farm produces 6350 Natural Food Snacks, a new entry in the jam-packed dried fruit category. According to www.foodfacts.com, the competition includes 238 similar products.

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Froodles: What People Are Eating in Antarctica

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 2:20 PM by Jenn Garbee, Los Angeles Times Weekly

What exactly is a Froodle? Well, the next time you’re at the farmers market, bemoaning the certainty that those colossal summer peaches will never arrive, take a moment to think about what (cold) scientists are eating at this very moment at McMurdo, the largest research station in Antarctica.

In the summer, they get fresh fruits and vegetables from New Zealand, but right now, it’s a whole lot of frozen meats, canned fruits and vegetables, and potatoes. In other words, things that ship well to frozen continents, store well and can, preferably, be eaten frozen during those 30-degrees-below-zero lunch hours. Things like Froodles.

Froodles are farmer-turned-entrepreneur Bill Manning’s latest second-tier fruit recycling project — second-tier here does not mean flavorless, but simply high-quality fruit that is not glam enough for Whole Foods. Manning calls them “low-sugar dried fruit snacks,” aka fruit leather that has been made with little sugar and a whole lot of fruit.

Less sugar, he says, means they’re less sticky than many fruit leathers (we tried them and concur). More fruit also means the flavor combinations (apricot-apple, strawberry-rhubarb, and cherry-grape-peach) are pretty fantastic. Manning says Colorado’s high-desert climate gives the fruit from which Froodles are made an intense flavor. The name? “We cut it in noodle-length strips to make it easy to eat,” he says. Think tagliatelle, not spaghetti.

Which gets us back to Antarctica. Right now, Froodles’ distribution is fairly limited — you can order them online and find them in Colorado, with California and other states in the future distribution expansion wish-list (currently, the only California retailer is in San Luis Obispo). And so Manning says scientists at McMurdo have been shipping Froodles by the boxful to the research station.

Why? As Manning is the consummate salesman (and quite a likable one — it must be his farmer side) he prefaces first by stating that, of course, “They like it for the [flavor/low sugar] reasons listed above.” And, he adds, because Froodles “can be eaten at 50 degrees below zero with ease.” They don’t freeze rock hard (likely due to less sugar and the tire tread-like texture), which means they don’t snap into pieces in your backpack or require reheating in order to eat them.

McMurdo has a web cam, but we didn’t spot any Froodles, so we tested the freezing theory at much warmer temperatures (our freezer). The Froodles firmed up a bit but stayed chewy — and were still quite tasty. Much better than frozen canned peaches, for sure.

Incidentally, should you find yourself planning a trip to the South Pole, NASA has a handy guide called “Your stay at McMurdo station,” which begins with the rather grim-sounding statement that “housing facilities in McMurdo have improved greatly in recent years” (most visitors stay in Building 166, nicknamed The Hotel California). Meals are provided at the cafeteria, as cooking at home is strongly discouraged “due to the extreme fire hazard.” Hot plates and such are banned. Yeah, it might be wise to bring an extra suitcase full of Froodles.