Monthly Archives: September 2009

Something Old And Something New For Every Body At Kosherfest 2009

kosher symbols good oneI was very excited when I read the following press release from Vicki Garfinkel from Andover Communications. I love kosher food, especially kosher food and beverage products that everybody can enjoy! Here is the press release sent from Andover Comunications describing what’s in store, and what will be in stores in the months to come!  If you are a kosher foodie, you will definitely want to attend this event.   I will be on site interviewing both exhibitors and attendees about their food and beverage products. Note to self: start diet after Kosherfest 2009.

From Andover Communications – New trends emerge at the #1 kosher food and beverage trade event serving the retail, foodservice, manufacturing and distribution industries.  Once again, Kosherfest will take place at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ October 27 – 28, 2009 (www.kosherfest.com). The show will give visitors a taste of the latest & greatest in the kosher food & beverage industry from around the globe, with more than 13 countries represented.  According to research by the Mintel organization, kosher was the leading claim on new products in 2007 and 2009.

New Products Competition – Marriott, Glenpointe, NJ – Oct 15, 2009

Calling all new kosher product manufacturers!!  Exhibitors are invited to enter their new kosher products in the Kosherfest New Products Competition, which awards prizes in 17 categories.  The Competition will be held in New York City prior to the trade show on Oct 15th, where a panel of culinary experts will select the winners of these coveted awards. Winners will be announced and products will be showcased at the show. For product entry deadlines and more information visit www.kosherfest.com or contact Vianna DiGristina at vdigristina@divcom.com or 207-842-5583. Want to know who took home the awards last year?  Take a look at the 2008 New Products Competition Winners.

 2nd Annual Kosherfest Culinary Competition

Have a favorite pastrami or corned beef sandwich? Noted chefs will prepare their kosher deli sandwich and side of choice at the 2nd Annual Kosherfest Culinary Competition (last year the competition was for the best kosher sushi).  A panel of industry professionals will judge and decide who takes the title at the show.  For more information on entering the competition please contact Vianna DiGristina.

 Kosherfest Keynote Presentation – Tuesday Oct 27
State of the Kosher Industry: The Kosher Symbol: A License to Greater Profitability

Time: 9:00am – 9:45am

As the kosher food industry continues to grow, more than 100,000 products carry a kosher symbol. This can be an enormous marketing opportunity for those who wish to capitalize on it.  Over ten million Americans buy kosher food and U.S. supermarkets are seeing a greater growth in this market over non-kosher sales.   Menachem Lubinsky, founder of Kosherfest, will discuss how the industry can use its kosher status to make inroads with different segments of the food market, including retail and foodservice.

 Speaker: Menachem Lubinsky, President, LUBICOM Marketing/Consulting
Kosherfest Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Time: 10:00am

Be there for the excitement of the official 2009 show floor opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of the #1 kosher food and beverage trade event.

 About Kosherfest
Kosherfest hopes to attract more than 6,000 professional attendees and more than 350 exhibitors from all over the world. For information visit www.kosherfest.com or contact Vianna DiGristina at vdigristina@divcom.com.

Free Press registration at: www.kosherfest.com

Kosherfest is produced by:
Diversified Business Communications
121 Free Street, P.O. Box 7437
Portland, ME 04112-7437 USA
Phone: (207) 842-5504
Fax: (207) 842-5505

E-Mail: info@kosherfest.com Website: www.divbusiness.com  

Diversified Business Communications (DBC) is a multi-national trade exhibition and publishing company based in Portland, Maine. DBC organizes dozens of trade shows around the world, including several trade shows under the Cultural Food brand, in the United States. DBC organizes All Things Organic, the International Boston Seafood Show, and Cultural Food Los Angeles including Expo Comida Latina and All Asia Food. They also produce trade-industry news media for the cultural food industry, including Kosher Today, Comida News and All Asia Food News.

Kosherfest is co-produced by: 

Lubicom Marketing and Consulting
1428 36th Street, Suite 219
Brooklyn, NY 11218
Phone: (718) 854-4450
Fax: (718) 854-4474

E-Mail: info@lubicom.com Website: www.lubicomkosher.com

LUBICOM Marketing and Consulting, founder and co-producer of Kosherfest, also produces Jewish Marketplace, the Great American Desserts Expo and a host of other special events. Menachem Lubinsky, founder and president of LUBICOM, is the world’s leading marketing authority on the kosher food industry. LUBICOM also provides comprehensive marketing services for an impressive list of clients.

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The Rush of Rosh Hashanah

img_challahEven though Rosh Hashanah is just a few days away, families in Kew Gardens Hills, NY (Queens) have been preparing for the Jewish New Year for over a month or more. No matter how far in advance we plan, there is always something that comes up and we need to run out to the store and buy more eggs, apples, honey, challah, chicken, or pomegranates. On Main Street in Kew Gardens Hills, there is no shortage of these items whatsoever. The bakeries have been working overtime and the sweet smells of honey cake and challah are in the air! This is a really fun time to visit the local bakeries and take some of these sweet desserts home. We just love G & I Bakeries, located at 69-40 Main Street. We always purchase a few delicious round challahs for our meals on Rosh Hashanah.  What s challah? Challah is braided bread that we eat every Shabbat and holiday, except for Passover when we eat only Matzos for eight days. Challah is usually a braided loaf of bread, but for Rosh Hashanah we eat round challahs to symbolize the continuous cycle of life. Even though our grandparents are not with us physically, they are with us in spirit. I look at my children and I am in awe of how they represent the past, present, and future of our Jewish heritage. They have a piece of all of our family members that are no longer with us and those that still are in their young faces and that is pretty awesome.

 Rosh Hashanah is a time for focusing on good things for the year to come, so we add extra sweetness to our menu. How sweet it is! Honey, honey cake, and raisins are added to challah to bring on the extra sweetness. Chicken and side dishes are topped with honey, oranges, and raisins. We also say a special blessing before taking a slice of apple and dipping it in a cup of honey. This blessing is one that we say to request that the new year be full of good “sweet” things in our lives.

There are some more eclectic food items that add meaning to our Rosh Hashanah meal and most of them can be found in the stores on Main Street in Kew Gardens Hills. Not your typical, everyday side dishes, but definitely significant for the new year. On the first night of Rosh Hashanah, apples are eaten, but on the second night, the not so familiar fruits are eaten for the purpose of welcoming the new season. When we eat this new fruit, we say a special blessing, or shehechiyanu to thank G-d for providing us with these new fruits. Fruits like pomegranate, which have 613 seeds, is  the same number of mitzvot or  “good deeds” that we should provide for our friends and family. There is a great fruit store on Main Street between 76th Road and 76th Avenue and right before Shabbos and Jewish Holidays this place is packed. If you’ve been to open markets in ethnic neighborhoods, the scene at this fruit and vegetable store will  be quite familiar.  My husband always comes back home with bags full of exotic new fruits. Thank G-d he loves to shop.

Yes, that is a fish head on the table. Since, Rosh means “head” in Hebrew, we eat the head of a fish because we should always be the leaders of our people and perform acts of kindness to all people. Fish also symbolize fertility and abundance, something we should always aspire to achieve in our lives.  
Here are some other symbolic dishes and food items with a straight forward explanation from  about.com  http://judaism.about.com/od/roshhashana/a/shana_food.htm 

Head of Lamb, Sweet Chicken or Meat Dish
Head of lamb symbolizes our hope that the Jewish people will lead other nations through their righteousness. The sweet entree symbolizes our wish for a sweet year.

Tzimmes
Tzimmes is an eastern European recipe for honey baked carrots. The Yiddish word “meren” means carrots and to increase. Carrots symbolize our hope that we increase our good deeds in the coming year. Some tzimmes recipes add prunes, sweet potatoes or even meat to the sweet carrots.

Spinach
Spinach symbolizes a green year with plenty of produce.

Rice
Rice symbolizes abundance.

Honey Cake
“This day is holy to God, your God; do not mourn and do not weep…for the joy of God is your strength.” (Nechemiah 8:9-10). It is said that the Prophet Nechemiah introduced to the ancient Israelites the Persian custom of eating sweet foods to celebrate the New Year.

These last two were mentioned on holidays.net

Fenugreek
Less common than round challah, apples, honey or even fish heads, fenugreek is traditionally eaten on Rosh Hashanah by Jewish people of Middle Eastern descent. The tradition likely started since the Hebrew word for fenugreek sounds similar to the Hebrew word for “increase”. When eating the fenugreek, a special prayer is recited asking G-d to increase our merits.

 Leeks, Beets & Dates
There are a handful of foods traditionally eaten during Rosh Hashanah that are intended invoke G-d’s protection of the Jewish people from their enemies. Leeks, beets and dates all fit this category.

Another thing I love about my neighborhood is kosher pre-made meals for Shabbos and Holidays. You can get an entire Rosh Hashanah meal complete with all the side dishes and symbolic food items right on Main Street and they can eve deliver it to their home. Even if you did have time to prepare most of the items in advance, you can find what you need to make your meal complete at Mauzone 7230 Main St,  Meal Mart 72-10 Main Street, Supersol 6818 Main St,, or Wasserman’s, 7268 Main Street.

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Customers Sample What’s In Store for Rosh Hashanah at Costco in Far Rockaway

One of my weekly activities is to take my toddlers to Costco in Far Rockaway and replenish some of the staples in our cabinet. You know the items, Kedem Grape Juice, Empire Kosher Chicken, Milk, Eggs, Seltzer, Cheerios, Quaker Oatmeal, and Canola Oil, just to name a few. While we cruise the isles, we are tempted to try the array of food samples in our reach. In the kosher consumer world, sampling food is more than just an all you can eat buffet. The box of the item must be checked for a hechsher, or kosher certification, before the food can be consumed. If I am not familiar with the kosher certification of an item, I always request the packaging in order to ensure that the proper kosher certification is on the product. This is where Costco differs from all other main stream retailers. The people that provide the samples at Costco in Far Rockaway are familiar with the word and the meaning of kosher. I was so impressed by this concept that I have since cancelled my BJ’s membership entirely.  Why is Costco so into the kosher consumer?

I found out that the person behind the kosher friendly staff at Costco is Adam Self, general manager of the Costco on Rockaway Turnpike for the past three years, and a veteran of half a dozen other Costco stores in New York and New Jersey. Adam has tuned into the requests of the kosher consumers and he isn’t even Jewish. He is very aware of the benefits of kosher food products whether the consumers are Muslim, Christian, Vegetarian, Lactose-Intolerant, or Gluten-Intolerant. As the kosher mommy blogger and advocate for kosher food, I just had to introduce myself to Mr. Self.

I actually found Mr. Self exactly where an excellent general manager of a store should stand and that was near the kosher food section. He was engaged in a conversation with a kosher consumer when I politely introduced myself to him. I had so much to say, but my two year old had decided that she wanted to climb out of the shopping cart and do some of her own shopping. In my brief schmooze with Mr. Self, he had invited me to today’s kosher sampling event with representatives from major kosher brands. The event, which will be going on until Thursday, September 17, features kosher brands such as Gabila’s, Natural & Kosher, Geshmak, David’s Cookies, and Schick’s. The samples were plentiful and the company representatives both informative and friendly. It wasn’t just the Jewish customers filling up their carts with food for the upcoming Rosh Hashanah meals. All types of customers were delighted with the samples and filled up their shopping carts with kosher organic cheeses, kosher potato salad, knishes, kugels, and desserts. You could see the appreciation in their faces. Keeping customers educated about healthy food options is exactly what Mr. Self had achieved today. You don’t have to be Jewish to love kosher food, you just have to be conscious about what you are eating. That is the best thing that retailers can do for their customers, after all, they don’t call it customer care for nothing!

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What’s Cooking and What’s Not Cooking In A Kosher Kitchen

What do I, a kosher mommy blogger, a Rebbetzin from Boro Park, and a Mashgicha-a female Mashgiach- from Albany, NY, have in common? I was hungry for information on kosher food certification processes and the laws that make them kosher. These women, some of them from generations of kosher kitchens and some of them that just wanted to increase their own personal kosher curiosity. Last week, I spent the entire week with 24 of these incredible women at the OU Advanced Kashrut Seminar For Women and had an in depth look at “what’s cooking” and “what’s not cooking” in kosher cuisine today.  Rabbi Grossman, Director of OU Kosher Education, organized this opportunity for women after he had received requests from over 80 women for such a seminar last year. The week long seminar addressed the areas of kosher food management such as checking lettuce for insects (we did find one on our lettuce); baking bread (challah); blood spots in eggs; meat and dairy control; identifying and purchasing kosher fish and chicken; and becoming an educated kosher consumer.

The seminar also included a couple of field trips to OU certified factories, hotel kitchens and food service establishments.  It is incredible the amount of detailed processes, check lists, and quality control required for working in a large kosher kitchen or an OU certified factory.  I was so impressed by the OU kosher rabbinic staff – both those who are based in the OU office (rabbinic coordinators) and those who work outside (rabbinic field representatives) – and their extensive knowledge of animals, natural history, chemicals, medicine, and Halacha (Jewish Law) in their areas of concentration.  

I have been kosher for less than a decade, but after this course I can’t understand why anybody would not choose to keep kosher.  You don’t have to be a Jew or even an Orthodox Jew to benefit from kosher certification. In fact, Phyllis Koegel, OU New Business Development/Marketing Associate, shared some information on kosher consumers that I found most interesting. According to Mintel Market Research, “Kosher Foods Market – US Report,” January, 2009, The U.S. Kosher Marketplace is growing steadily.  According to the report, nearly 80% of All Kosher Food Sales are Outside of the “Traditional” Jewish Market. These markets include Muslim, Seventh Day Adventists, Vegetarians, and Vegans. Mintel also discovered that general consumers believe kosher food is safer, healthier, and better. Then there is the consumer with Dietary Restrictions such as Lactose, Shellfish, and Gluten Intolerant. This research confirms my personal opinion that consumers don’t have to be Jewish to love kosher food. However, if they are health concious consumers with food nutrition as a major priotity, Jewish or not, this is something we can all agree on. Still not convinced?

You can bring a world expert on kashrut — one of the Rabbanim and Mashgichim of the Orthodox Union — to your institution to share his expertise. Arrangements may be made for small adult groups to visit OU headquarters for an in-house session, seminar or shiur with an OU rabbinic expert. For more information, contact Rabbi Eliyahu Safran at safrane@ou.org or 212.613.8115.

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