December 10, 2012

Troika Foods & Pasta Time Manufacturing Tour

Troika Foods - Cabbage Rolls

I received an email from Al, owner of  Troika Foods, asking if I would be interested in a tour of their federally inspected & certified plant in Sherwood Park.  Troika Foods is the largest producer of handmade cabbage rolls in Alberta and several years ago, they acquired Pasta Time which specializes in a variety of fresh frozen pastas and sauces.

I was eager for the plant tour.  Many moons ago, I worked in a pharmaceutical plant and so I remember all the ins and outs of production and strict protocols that must be adhered.  Lab coats, hairnets, signing in/out, washing of hands and walking through a shallow water bath or a sticky mat for clean shoes took me back to my days of manufacturing, except in this instance it was food related!

Troika Foods - Pasta Time line

The grand scale of production is truly a sight to behold too.  I was taken through their complete production, starting with raw ingredients right through to packing of the final product. Bags and bags of flour and semolina, large bins of cabbages ready to take apart and fill with delicious fillings and watching the massive industrial machines that prepare the dough.  Though I never mentioned it to Al, the show opening song of Laverne & Shirley was bouncing around my head as I watched his employees work so quickly and efficiently.

I was very much taken with the production of tortellini's   Watching the dough feed through the machine, add filling and then punch out perfectly-pinched tortellini's was just mesmerizing.  I hovered over that machine for quite some time.  How can one not?  Look at how cute this tortellini is!

Troika Foods - Tortellini

Al sent me home with some of the fresh frozen tortellini that day and my family very much enjoyed it.  What I like about the product is that when you look at the list of ingredients, it is very small and simple.  There are no preservative or additives, just natural ingredients that I would use at home to make my own pasta or cabbage rolls.  I find this to be very rare and uncommon in many of the food products found at supermarkets.  If you are a believer of eating local, then you should seek out Troika Foods/Pasta time products at your supermarket as they try to use as many Alberta products whenever possible.  From farm fresh eggs to cabbage from an Edmonton local farm right down to their Alberta wheat and semolina for their pasta dough.

Thanks for the tour Al!  It was lovely being able to walk down memory lane in terms of manufacturing but to also see production of a food plant first hand.


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