Greg Durst is a born inventor, and the medium he has chosen is specialty food. The knowledge that he acquired from growing up in a farming family and farming himself has been invaluable as he has developed specialty food products and the processes for making and packaging them.
“My family has been farming in Northern California since 1865. After farming myself for about 15 years, my wife Regan and I began working in the value-added side of agriculture.” When the Russian embargo in 1980 severely impacted American farmers’ ability to sell food commodities, the interest in creating value-added products soared. In the early 1980’s Greg was among the first to sun dry tomatoes, and later he patented the original fire-roasted tomato process. ”I drove Regan and the kids nuts with my tomato experiments at home, but now fire-roasted tomatoes are on practically every pizza you buy.”
Greg co-founded Culinary Farms, a specialty ingredients company that supplies major food corporations. He then ventured into the contract packaging business. “Many of the companies I package for are large, like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, but we’re a small company. " We package a large percentage of the quinoa and chia that is sold in the United States which led me to the idea of a snack food using these ingredients."
Greg’s primary interest is identifying opportunities in the food business, always looking to the future, and always related to farming. Disappointed with the snack foods on the market, Greg spent two years formulating Superfood Bites. “It wasn’t enough for me to use simple, clean, superfood fruits, grains, and seeds. The Bites had to taste great and meet strict safety standards. While developing our Superfood Bites, we benefited from the wealth of knowledge of Cliff Coles one of the world’s leading microbiologists.” After experimenting with many variations and combinations and working with focus groups, Urban Foods launched the first three flavors of Superfood Bites. "After adding a bakery to our facility we went to work to develop an allergen free, gluten free and great tasting snack product."
One of the big assets of Greg’s background is that when he’s talking with buyers it’s evident that he understands how the food business works – literally from the ground up. “They are intrigued by the fact that I was a farmer, so I know things about the growing side, such as pest management, as well as the technical side, such as all the aspects of the supply chain, including shipping and storage.”
Greg’s internal meter is able to identify new ideas that will work, and his professional background gives him the skills to bring his ideas to fruition. He and Regan are passionately dedicated to Urban Foods. “We feel good about what we’ve made, and we’re very excited about our Superfood Bites.”