January 17, 2008

Larsen Company Vegetables

If you ever wondered who was responsible for the introduction of mixed canned vegetables, it was the same company who published today's brochure.

Meal Ideas (not dated) is a small fold-out recipe brochure that features recipes using Freshlike Frozen Vegetables. This was produced as a mail-out and it shows The Larsen Company in Green Bay, Wisconsin as the return address. Larsen was acquired by Dean Foods in 1986 so the brochure pre-dates that time. As a result of the acquisition, the company name was changed from Larsen to the Dean Foods Vegetable Company.

The brochure contains seventeen recipes, one of them being the green bean/mushroom soup/french fried onion holiday dinner mainstay for some folks which is called the "Green Bean Bake with Onion" in here.

There are no illustrations save for a few simple generic drawings of vegetables in bowls inside and the slightly more sophisticated one of the plastic bags of frozen vegetables on the front. It's done simply on white paper with green and yellow highlights and the lettering in blue.

Below is a recipe which uses the Freshlike Frozen Mixed Vegetables. These were introduced to consumers in 1950. Freshlike introduced their canned brand of vegetables in 1934. This recipe is typical of the others found in the brochure.


2 cups cooked ham, cubed (or substitute browned ground beef)
1 pk. au gratin potatoes (any brand)
20 oz. pk. Freshlike Frozen Mixed Vegetables, thawed and drained*
Seasoned salt to taste

Make potatoes according to directions on pacakge. Before putting in oven, gently stir in ham and vegetables. Bake in 8-10" casserole according to directions on potato package.

Serves 4 to 6

*May substitute Freshlike Frozen Midwestern Blend or Wisconsin Blend.


AgriLink Foods (later renamed Birds Eye Foods) purchased the company from Dean in 1999 and the brand is now sold by Birds Eye Foods.

Here's an interesting article about the redevelopment of the Larsen factory property in Green Bay. I like to see the old factories saved and made into something that's still useful rather than being torn down.


At 7:15 AM CST, Blogger T.W. Barritt said...

You still see versions of this recipe showing up today in the "quick and easy" category. Your mention of refurbishing old factories caught my eye, since I was just in San Fran, and stayed at a hotel that used to be an old cannery. It was quite a nice transformation!

At 4:11 PM CST, Blogger Kathy said...

T.W. - Wherever I visit, I like to seek out the old factories and see if they're still there and what they've become.


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