Glaser Organic Farms–One of the Largest Raw Food Producers in the U.S.
An article about Glaser Organic Farms, which is one of the largest raw food producers in the U.S. From TheLedger.com …
Farm Finds Success With Raw, Vegan Dishes
Glaser Organic Farms near Miami doesn't use heat or animal products.
Served under a blue and-white tent, the strawberry ice cream at the Coconut Grove Farmer's Market is unbelievably creamy, the tropical fruit pies are rich and succulent and the patestuffed portobello mushrooms are savory. Quite a feat, considering that all the food served here is raw and vegan — no animal products or heat involved.
The "ice cream" is actually made of finely ground cashews, the pies sit on a pecan crumb crust and the pate stuffed inside the mushrooms is devised of almonds and herbs. These raw food dishes, which draw health-food enthusiasts from around the region, are the creation of Glaser Organic Farms, a 15-acre farm south of Miami that has grown into one of the largest raw food producers in the United States.
Glaser farm products, which range from unbaked cookies called "rawies" to a bread made from sprouted whole grains dehydrated at very low temperatures, are shipped across the country and widely found in health food stores, such as national chain Whole Foods Market. "Our business is growing every year," said owner Stan Glaser, who started selling raw products to local stores 25 years ago and is now building a new, 3,000 square-foot kitchen — three times the size of their old space — to keep up with demand. "The volume just seems to increase, increase, increase."
Some think raw foods are healthier because heat breaks down vitamins and minerals in food and kills enzymes, which aid digestion. Others say it's the most natural way of eating. "Raw food was the original food," Glaser explained, pointing to the biblical story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. "What were they eating? Steaks? McDonald's?" They probably weren't eating mint and lemon tabouleh or tiramisu either, though both concoctions are a hit at the Farmer's Market, which Glaser Farms hosts every Saturday.
"I like the whole feeling of it," said Arthur Ackerman, a Key Biscayne business owner and yoga teacher who frequents the market's deli. "I like the ambiance, I like the food." Ackerman, 66, isn't a raw foodist, but says he tries to eat a healthy diet and the raw food dishes make him feel more energized and sleep better. "My disposition is more upbeat," Ackerman said.
Sitting at a nearby picnic table, a flight attendant who gave his name as Kachito called the Farmer's Market "the temple." The South Beach resident started eating a primarily raw foods diet after experiencing some health problems three years ago. He now says his allergies have disappeared and his annual physical exams consistently show he's healthier than average. "Raw foods is my life now," said the slim, bright-eyed man who looked younger than his 62 years. "I don't do it to live to 200, I just want to feel good every day."
But nutritionists don't recommend the diet. Although it's great to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, dietitian David Grotto said an optimal diet would include both cooked and raw foods. He said there's little scientific evidence that eating exclusively raw foods is healthier.In fact, cooking foods can bolster the amount of some vitamins, such as beta carotene. "It's not as simple as cooked equals less nutrition," said Grotto, a spokesman for the American Dietetic Association and the director of nutrition at the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care in Evanston, Ill. Grotto said he's seen extreme cases of cancer patients on raw diets who have died from malnutrition.
Yet interest in raw foods and demand for such products is steadily growing. Adult education courses offered in Broward County, north of Miami, include a raw foods class called "Change your life: Cook with no heat." And few can deny that most Americans would benefit from eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. Glaser said he doesn't expect everyone to give up cooked foods, but he says the growing interest in raw foods is a "positive trend" because people could increase the percentage of their diets made up of raw foods.