Monday, March 31, 2008

6 Super Foods to Know

PARADE magazine, 3/30/08, page 8

The coconut is an unusual fruit: It's rich, and the fat is mostly saturated. In the South Pacific, traditional diets use copious amounts of coconut oil, yet studies there have shown that people don't get heart disease. In the U.S., research to support the heart-healthy claim is still being conducted. But we do know that coconut flakes, coconut milk and cream, and coconut oil contain lots of an antiviral, antibacterial fatty acid called lauric acid-one of the immune-boosters babies get from breast milk.

Cooking Tip Mix a can of coconut milk with a pint of chicken stock and some grated ginger for a coconut chicken soup.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Employee Profile - Manuel Gaytan

Manuel Gaytan

When Manuel started working at Brooks in the early sixties, the packing house was on Krome Avenue where the More Ease Nursery is today (you can still see the garage and offices).

Manuel’s first day job was to grade #2 mangoes. In the early morning he would pack hay into the mango and avocado boxes to keep the fruit from getting bruised.

At night he worked in shipping, using a hand truck to load trucks. In one night he would load 6 to 7 trucks. When the first forklift for the packing house was purchased, Manuel took the wheel.

During emergencies Manuel has pitched in to pack avocados until the early morning hours after hurricanes and even put hampers on small avocado trees to save them during a freeze.

Over the years, working at Brooks has been a family affair, Manuel’s wife, brother and son have worked at Brooks.

His favorite avocado? “Booth 8,” he says, “I love’em.” He also uses the avocado as a lotion and cleanser. “When my hands are greasy, rubbing the Booth 8 on them cleans them up right away.”

Manuel may love to fish but his true passion is to travel. Manuel with just a tote bag has boarded trains and buses to travel across the United States. San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, Mount Rushmore, New York City, Washington DC are just a few of the places he has gone. He loves being surrounded by the peace and quiet of the Midwestern plains, and he loves meeting people in the big cities. His last trip was to the Grand Canyon.

Manuel plans on staying at Brooks and working until he can’t. In July, he’ll be sixty five. “People are nice to me here,” says Manuel.

No wonder Manuel, you’re so nice to them.

Manuel has six kids, 17 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. Except for a daughter, his family is in South Miami-Dade. Manuel and his wife live in Naranja.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Papaya, the next macarena

Forget the macarena, the sprinkler, the twist; the new dance craze is the papaya. A game show in the Phillipines started it. Children and even soldiers are doing it. Good Morning America highlighted the dance on the show last week.

Click here to see the video

Friday, March 21, 2008

Brooks Tropicals raises funds for baby's transplant

Brooks Tropicals held a luncheon fundraiser to raise money for 10 month old Mable Elizabeth Strano. Mable has rare Di George's Syndrome and needs a thymus gland transplant.

Mable's aunt, Vicky Vargas is a Purchasing Buyer at Brooks Tropicals. Sales, Accounting, Administration, Human Resources, the Packing House and Shipping all participated in the fundraiser. With Pal Brooks' and Craig Wheeling's corporate donation of $500, the grand total raised was over $1500.

Anyone wishing to contribute should contact Vicky.

Our thoughts will continue to be with Mable and her family.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Belize Management Making a Visit to Homestead Offices

Taking a moment out of their business trip to pose for the camera were Maricely Westby - Office Manager, Fruta Bomba Ltd and Dina Orozco - Office Manager, Belize Fruit Packers.

Maricely and Dina have been in meetings for two days at Brooks Tropicals' Homestead facility. From meetings with top management, Craig and Pal to getting the latest color schemes for the new building in Belize, it's been a hectic trip.

It was great to see them.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Papaya gaining popularity

For papaya to be given the top slot in a new hair care line signals a new level of popularity for our favorite fruit.

Six new shampoos and conditioners from Freeman - a leading hair care manufacturer - not only offer papaya extract in their formulas but give papaya the top billing on the label.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Brooks welcomes Financial Analyst Mark Williams

Mark Williams is coming on board as Financial Analyst at Brooks Tropicals. Mark will be heading up budgeting efforts and working to transfer the company’s financial records to a new Enterprise Resource Planning system or ERP*. Mark’s in-depth understanding of financial reporting will support Brooks’ growing international agribusiness.

Mark comes to Brooks from the corporate offices of Office Depot where he was Financial Systems Manager. In this position, he was responsible for implementing ERP and analyzing financial reporting structures around the world. Before that he was with FEDEX heading up the financial reporting department.

Mark is a marathon runner. So far he has run 2 full marathons (26 miles each), both at respectable times hovering around 4 hours each. He started running to get into shape and currently runs at least 5 miles a day.

Mark comes from Buffalo, NY. He attended Barry University and got his MBA at Florida Atlantic University. His wife is a native Miamian. She doesn’t share Mark’s love of marathon running. Proof, Mark says that she’s the saner of the two.

Mark, his wife and their two children live in Miramar, Florida.

* An ERP system is like a dashboard to a car. The dashboard gives the driver accurate and timely information about the car - how it’s working and if the car is going in the right direction. ERP systems do the same thing for a company. It’s a system that makes sure that a company’s resources are all working towards the same goal.

The best word to describe an ERP system is integration. For example, ERP systems take information from the purchasing process which is automatically taken by the both the inventory system and accounts receivables to build an understanding of what is on hand and what bills to pay, respectively. ERP systems help integrate the work of every department in the company whether it's accounts payable, sales, field operations, packing operations, or even marketing.

An ERP system helps all the pieces of a company run together, be aware of each other and allow for smooth reactions to problems and opportunities.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Lunch brings out the Cajun at Brooks

In appreciation of our business, Jim Ford of Miller Chemical brought a shrimp boil to Brooks Tropicals on Wednesday.

On the menu - beyond shrimp - were carrots, celery, potatoes, and corn. Everything but the cocktail sauce was cooked in one pot, Cajun style.