In 1991, Bodek Kosher Produce, Inc. was established to supply the Kosher consumer with a line of frozen produce and "‘pre-washed and cut" fresh vegetables, that are virtually insect free. Since then, Bodek has become the largest supplier of Kosher vegetables in the USA and the world.
Bodek products are found in almost all Kosher food stores and supermarkets. By producing a consistently high quality product, Bodek has earned the respect and confidence of the consumer. Bodek products are now popular across the U.S. and is not only confined to the kosher section for those who are Kosher conscious, but to the general quality seeking public as well.
Bodek’s line of vegetables are used by food service vendors (caterers, restaurants, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and religious institutions) and manufacturers in the preparation of many processed products. Bodek’s strongest foreign market is in Israel where the retail products are found in all of the large supermarkets (Supersol, Hipershuk, Greenbergs, etc.).
Bodek vegetables are used in meal preparation by gourmet chefs in hotel chains across Israel (Sheraton and Ramada). Aside from the Kosher supervision, Bodek’s advantage in Israel has been the top Grade A quality produce and Bodek’s reliable distribution. Bodek products can also be found in the U.K., Switzerland & Belgium. Bodek’s
export department has a full staff to deal with the growing international market.
Case Studies: Bodek Kosher Produce –
First in the Kosher Vegetable Revolution
By: Frimet Blum
So Your’re Looking For An Easy Salad? No problem. Rip open a bag of
lettuce, add dressing, and voilà – you’ve got your salad. Want
something more exotic? Try the freezer section – broccoli, cauliflower,
asparagus, frozen strawberries – all strictly kosher and ready to use.
No big deal, you think. Couldn’t be easier.
Not so, says
Yechiel Weinman, one of the founders and developers of Bodek Kosher
Produce. Quite recently, lettuce only came on heads, broccoli only came
in bunches, and kosher consumers thought twice before using them and
many others. Despite their health benefits – cabbage, broccoli,
cauliflower, and other vegetables are nutrient powerhouses – the kashrut implications were weighty. These vegetables are prone to insect infestation – and insects are strictly forbidden by the Torah.
twenty years ago, Tzvi Gartenhaus, together with Mr.Weinman and Shaul
Perlstein, embarked on a mission to provide kosher consumers with
“I was speaking to Rabbi Shlomo
Gissinger and Rabbi Dr. Yitzchok Sokol, who had begun an intensive
campaign to educate kosher consumers,” says Mr. Gartenhaus. “They
realized that people weren’t aware of the issues. The average head of
lettuce contains as many as 30 thrips and aphids, and certain
vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower, are so infested, they are
practically impossible to clean by hand. The rabbis were making
presentations in schools and yeshivas and waking up people to the
problem. It was incredible – eating an insect is six times worse than
eating treif, and people just didn’t know.”
“I always had
this dream of providing kosher consumers with insect-free vegetables,”
Mr. Gartenhaus said, “and as we were talking, we realized that there
had to be a way to clean vegetables with high-pressure water. So guided
by these experts in bedikat tolaim – in inspecting foods for
insects–we researched water systems and began experimenting. Soon, we
found that we could indeed render lettuce and cabbage insect-free–and
Bodek was born.”
From the start, Bodek was embraced by
kosher consumers. Suddenly lettuce, cabbage, and specially-grown
broccoli, cauliflower and other vegetables were back on the menu, in
thousands of homes, restaurants, and food manufacturing plants.
Consumers began to ask for the Bodek sign.
“Bodek became almost a symbol of kashrut,” says a company representative. “But it was our kashrut certification that helped us become that symbol.”
Bodek products are certified by the OU, the CRC,
and Rabbi Gissinger of Lakewood. Bodek chose the OU both for its high
standards and for its universal acceptance. The OU is accepted by
virtually every segment of the Orthodox Jewish community.
rabbis at the OU were so excited about Bodek, and encouraged us to
expand and find ways to remove insects from more vegetables,” said Mr.
Gartenhaus. “Many, if not all, of Bodek’s clients, both in the
wholesale and retail markets, choose Bodek especially because of its
“Interestingly,” Mr. Weinman adds,
“Bodek soon became known for its high quality as well. Because insects
tend to infest lesser-quality produce, Bodek purchases only the highest
grade vegetables. And it is constantly developing new ways to improve
“Within the last year, technological
developments in both the washing process and packaging have more than
doubled our products’ shelf life,” says Mr. Gartenhaus. “And we are
always developing new vegetable blends and packaging concepts to
provide consumers with more choices.”
Some recent developments?
fresh onions; new soup mixes and frozen blends; and the Bodek salad
bowl, for health-conscious consumers seeking a satisfying meal
Bodek also changes its product line to reflect
market conditions. This year, the asparagus crop was infested – so
Bodek temporarily stopped processing asparagus.
that never changed at Bodek is its insistence on cutting lettuce and
cabbage into thin strips. That is because it is the only way to ensure
that water reaches all surfaces. Larger cuts tend to leave clumps of
lettuce or cabbage intact, and it is impossible to clean between the
It is its insistence on high standards that makes
Bodek a leader in the bagged produce industry. Or, in the words of a
housewife, “I trust Bodek. They invented the product, they created the
standard, and they stick to it.”
Rabbi David Bistricer serves as Orthodox Union's rabbinic coordinator
for Bodek Kosher Produce.