After making their own salsas, the food science workshop participants had the opportunity to tour Willy’s Salsa production facilities. Willy’s Salsa got its start at CIFT’s Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK), a commercial kitchen available to small businesses for food production.
Willy’s outgrew the facilities at NOCK and is now in a new production facility with over 12,000 square feet of refrigerated storage and automated production equipment. Their products are currently available in 35 states.
Phil Thomas, quality assurance manager, spoke to the group about his job and the challenges faced by the business in coordinating supply of ingredients, processing, selling and transporting. He also told teachers of the high demand for operational supply chain managers in many businesses, and of the career opportunities associated with the food industry.
The teachers were able to see the warehouse and processing areas, and at the end of the tour, after tasting the different varieties, they each received a container of salsa in the flavor of their choice! It was definitely a delicious field trip!