Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Raw for 30 Days, a startling documentary on eating only raw foods

Excerpt from Raw Food Diet -- Extremely Healthy or Just Extreme? The newest trend in eating is a raw food only diet. How healthy is it?
by Bridget Nelson Monroe
Reader's Digest, February 2008

Severe diets are making headlines, claiming to reverse diabetes and cut heart disease risk. In the upcoming documentary Raw for 30 Days, six diabetics eat a vegan, organic diet of uncooked nuts, seeds and veggies. By the end, all have gone off insulin and most have lost about 25 pounds.

A raw-food diet consists of mostly plant-based foods that aren’t heated above 115 degrees or so. Proponents say it helps ease many conditions, from migraines to arthritis. But it’s hard-core. “And the diet leaves out a lot of foods,” says Andrea Giancoli of the American Dietetic Association. “A balanced diet includes raw and cooked foods.”

Another trendy plan: no food at all. In a study, people who fasted one day a month had lower rates of heart disease. Fasting may give a rest to cells constantly exposed to glucose. Both diets look promising but are tough to stay with. Until research confirms the findings, your best bet is a healthy, diverse diet that you can stick to for life.

For a preview of the documentary, click on this link and on the Reader's Digest page click on one of the documentary preview links on the right side of the page just under the photo of green vegetables.

Marie Simard promoted to Brooks Tropicals Controller

Marie Simard has been promoted to Controller. Having joined the firm in July of 2007 as Purchased Fruit Account Manager, Marie more recently held the Assistant Controller position.

Marie came to Brooks from A Nose for Clothes Retail Stores where she was Controller and Operations Manager. Wanting to focus more on finance and accounting, Marie accepted a position in the very large and extremely diversified accounting department here at Brooks.

“I wanted a challenge, and I got it” says Marie. “I’m learning new things everyday. It makes the job exciting.”

As if having a full-time job and being a full-time mom to three daughters isn’t enough, Marie goes to Florida International University and has been studying for her bachelor’s degree for the past five years. Having not taking a summer off since she’s started, she plans on using the momentum to start her masters in 2009.

Asked what she’d like to do once she’s graduated with her Masters’ degree, Marie didn’t hesitate. “I want to teach part-time. I find teaching very rewarding,” said Marie who then quickly added “also.”
Marie’s ability to achieve tremendous long-term goals bodes well for Brooks Tropicals’ future.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Barbara Figgins New Brooks Tropicals Office Manager

Barbara Figgins has been promoted to Office Manager at Brooks Tropicals.

Barbara -- an eight year veteran of the firm -- started as a 'temp' in the accounts payable department. Over the years she's worked in nearly every department in the financial organization.

"It's a friendly environment," says Barbara. "And it's a challenge," she's quick to add. But thankfully for Brooks, it's a challenge she loves.

"Barbara is a deserving and reliable employee," Janice Kolar, CFO points out. "She takes on any and all tasks thrown at her with a positive and determined attitude."

"I see my job as keeping everyone happy while we get the work done," says Barbara. "Diplomacy is an important skill in the job."

On a much lighter note, Barbara adds that "mechanical skills don't hurt." Being able to take apart and fix the shredder is in the plus column in the accounting department.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Construction nearing completion

Construction is nearing completion.

Friday, February 15, 2008

William Brown Joins Brooks Tropicals

From an article in The Packer, 2/11/2008

William Brown has joined the Brooks Tropicals’ team as Purchasing Manager. William brings with him solid experience in developing and implementing purchasing strategies for complex business needs, an obvious asset for Brooks Tropicals that has far flung operations spanning Southern Florida and Central America.

Heading up Brooks’ purchasing operation requires an ability to meld the ever changing needs of the business within a solid framework of policies and procedures. And it’s all got to be done with a human touch. In his previous work as SE Regional Procurement Director at Thyssenkrupp Elevator, William has demonstrated a knack for making it efficiently work for both the individual employee and the bottom line of the firm.

Jose Rossignoli named Vice President of Sales

From an article on the front page of The Packer, 2/11/2008

Jose Rossignoli, formerly Director of National Sales, has been promoted to Vice President of National Sales.

Jose’s career at Brooks Tropicals started with assisting Pal Brooks on various projects.

Jose came to Brooks Tropicals after getting his Master of Agribusiness from the University of Florida where he was highly recommended by the faculty of Food and Resource Economics.

Jose and his wife, Kelly live in Miramar, FL.

New Chief Financial Officer Announced at Brooks Tropicals

Janice Kolar has been promoted to the Chief Financial Officer position at Brooks Tropicals, LLC. Coming to the firm in 1994, Janice started as Brooks’ Grower Account Manager and has more recently held the position of Controller for the company.

“I learn something new everyday,” says Janice of her work. “Brooks Tropicals is such a diverse and innovative company that you can’t help but feel challenged. I like the challenge.”

Janice is helped in meeting this challenge with over forty employees that work in such diverse financial areas as:

  • Pooled, purchased and consigned fruit inventory

  • Domestic and international company grove and packing operations

  • Independent grower operations and purchased fruit

  • Sales to North American grocers, wholesalers and foodservice companies

  • Domestic and International Taxes.

Before Brooks, Janice did cost accounting for a small construction company. With the birth of her son, Janice had started to look for part-time work when she realized she hadn’t been on an interview in ten years. Not knowing anything about agriculture, she applied for a job at Brooks thinking she’d at least get some interviewing practice. Apparently Janice didn’t need the practice.

Janice and her fifteen year old son live in West Kendall just north of Homestead in Miami-Dade County.

New Accounts Receivable Supervisor Named

Congratulations to Rebecca Hickson on her promotion to Accounts Receivable Supervisor.

Rebecca recently stepped in to act as lead within the Accounts Receivable Department.

"The promotion came as a result of hard work and positive results," says Janice Kolar, CFO of Brooks Tropicals, LLC.

"It's fun to work at Brooks," says Rebecca. "The co-workers are great and the work pushes me to keep learning."

Rebecca started as a receptionist with Brooks Tropicals over 12 years ago. She learned accounts receivables on the job having been trained by her co-workers.

Training is a priority for Rebecca in her new position. "Having been trained by others, I know the importance of training," says Rebecca. "Everyone learns at a different pace and level."

Rebecca lives in Leisure City in south Miami-Dade county with her husband and two sons.

New Director of Avocado Grove Operations

Jeff Crawford has been promoted to Director of Grove Operations for Brooks Tropicals. Jeff will oversee the company’s SlimCado avocado grove maintenance and harvesting programs as well as work with independent growers to bring their avocados to market.

Jeff started in the industry in 1974 with a machete in his hand learning production from the ground up. Coming to Brooks in 1982, Jeff was just in time for a packing house fire, Hurricane Andrew and citrus canker – just a few of the more notable events in Brooks’ history.

Born and raised in Homestead, Jeff finds growing avocados a challenge every year. Luckily for Brooks it’s a challenge he loves. It’s a love fed by the farmer’s mentality of wanting to see fruit grow.

Jeff lives in Homestead with his two sons John and Jason

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Importance of the Coconut in Daily Life

Our friends on the Coconut Board of Jamaica sent this article along.

Information complied by John Kohler

COCONUT WATER ... did you know.....

Coconut Water contains organic compounds that help to:

- Keep the body cool and at the proper temperature
- Orally re-hydrate your body, it is an all natural isotonic beverage
- Carry nutrients and oxygen to cells
- Replenish your body's fluids after exercising
- Raise your metabolism
- Promote weight loss
- Boost your immune system
- Detoxify and fight viruses
- Cleanse your digestive tract
- Control diabetes
- Aid your body in fighting viruses that cause the flu, herpes, and AIDS
- Balance your PH and reduce risk of cancer
- Treat kidney and urethral stones
Boost poor circulation

The English named the coconut, it's first mention was in English print in 1555. The word comes from the Spanish and Portuguese word coco, which means 'monkey face.' Spanish and Portuguese explorers found a resemblance to a monkey's face in the three round indented markings or 'eyes' found at the base of the coconut. On the Nicobar Islands of the Indian Ocean , whole coconuts were used as currency for the purchase of goods until the early part of the twentieth century.

Coconuts are the fruit of the coconut palm, botanically known as coco snucifera , with nucifera meaning 'nut-bearing.' The fruit-bearing palms are native to Malaysia, Polynesia and southern Asia, and are now also prolific in South America, India, the Pacific Islands, Hawaii and Florida. The light, fibrous husk allowed it to easily drift on the oceans to other areas to propagate.

In Sanskrit, the coconut palm is known as kalpa vriksha, meaning 'tree which gives all that is necessary for living,' since nearly all parts of the tree can be used in some manner or another.

The coconut itself has many food uses, including milk, meat, sugar and oil as well as functioning as its own dish and cup. The husk was also burned for fuel by natives, but today a seed fibre called coir is taken from the husk and used to make brushes, mats, fishnets, and rope.

A very potent fermented toddy or drink is also made from the coconut palm's sap. Coconut oil, a saturated fat made from dried coconut meat, is used for commercial frying and in candies and margarines, as well as in non-edible products such as soaps and cosmetics.

Although it takes up to a year for coconuts to mature, the trees bloom up to thirteen times a year, so fruit is constantly forming yielding a continuous harvest year-round. An average harvest from one tree runs about 60 coconuts, with some trees yielding three times that amount.

The coconut's name is a bit of a misnomer, since it is botanically classified as a drupe and not a nut. It is the largest seed known.

If you've ever opened a fresh coconut, you will have seen the thin, opaque almost clear coconut juice or water which has a slight almond flavor. Contrary to popular belief, this is not the coconut milk. However, the water is consumed as a drink fresh from the coconut by many, and it can also be used in recipes .

Coconut Water is a natural isotonic beverage, with the same level of electrolytic balance as we have in our blood . It's the fluid of life, so to speak. In fact, during the Pacific War of 1941-45, both sides in the conflict regularly used coconut water - siphoned directly from the nut - to give emergency plasma transfusions to wounded soldiers.

Most coconut water is still consumed fresh in tropical coastal areas - once exposed to air, the liquid rapidly loses most of its organoleptic and nutritional characteristics, and begins to ferment.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Brazilian Avocado Drink

Thanks to Fred from UGBP who sent us this wonderful way of drinking avocado. It's his wife's recipe and is very popular in Brazil.

SlimCado Smoothie


- 1 SlimCado
- 1 ½ cup of milk
- 2 tablespoons of dry whole milk (Nido, Nestle)
- 2 tablespoons of sugar or more (to your liking)

Put all ingredients in the blender, blend until smooth. Add more milk to get the right consistency.

Recipe from Brazil by Kassyane Tavares

Friday, February 1, 2008

The latest photos from Belize

It's been a while since we've seen construction photos of the new buildings in Belize. A lot of progress has been made.

Secret ingredient for guacamole

Don't forget the guacamole for Super Bowl Sunday. Take your favorite recipe and add a big spoonful of sour cream. It makes the dip even creamier and adds a bit of a tang to it.

The sour cream doesn't make the dip healthier. But if you're using SlimCado avocados in your guacamole, you're working with less fat and fewer calories to begin with.

Tropical Guacamole

2 ripe SlimCado avocados
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ cup diced red bell pepper
½ cup diced tomatos
¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp chopped, fresh thyme
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ cup sour cream

Mash the SlimCados, maintaining its chunky texture. Stir in lemon juice. Fold in remaining ingredients. Store with a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the guacamole.