In 2014, GLK Foods transitioned to a high-speed, automated shredding and
sorting process that utilizes state-of-the-art infrared lasers and high-speed
color sorters. Any remaining cabbage core material and green leaves are
removed during this process. Shredded and sorted cabbage is then salted
before being conveyed to one of the Bear Creek facility’s vat rooms where the
fermentation process takes place.
tumbled to remove any dirt, as well as
excess green outer wrapper leaves.
The heads are then conveyed to large
shredding blades where the heads
are made into slaw. The slaw then is
sorted both by infrared laser to remove
undesirable core material, as well as by
high-speed color sorters to remove any
remaining green leaves. The shredded
and sorted cabbage then is conveyed to
the salting station where it is salted at
about 2 percent. After salting, the slaw
makes its way via conveyor to one of
our vat rooms. The slaw is covered in
the vat with large, heavy-duty sheets of
plastic. A bed of water is then applied to
the plastic in order to create an air-tight
seal which allows for the fermentation
process to begin.
FM: What kind of equipment does
GLK Foods utilize in sauerkraut
production and packaging?
RMD: Much of the equipment used in
sauerkraut packaging is common to
other food processing plants — can/
glass fillers, VFFS (
vertical-form-fill-seal) and pre-formed bagging
equipment, case-packers, palletization,
etc. The more unique equipment is
the cabbage cutting and vat unloading
systems we use. For cabbage cutting,
both infrared lasers and high-speed
color sorting equipment is utilized. For
vat unloading we utilize a proprietary
pumping system which allows for high-speed unloading of vats with no human
FM: How is the sauerkraut
production split between the Bear
Creek and Shortsville facilities?
RMD: We do more (at Bear Creek).
It’s probably 65-35, 70-30 (percent
in favor of Bear Creek). It varies. For
example, this year in New York, their
crop is not looking as hot as it does
(in Wisconsin). They had 40 or 45
days this summer straight of no rain
and 90-plus degrees … So they were
real dry out there. (In Wisconsin) we’ve
had a near perfect growing season.
So that balance will shift probably a
little bit more (in Bear Creek’s favor)