It’s a wrap! Food film firm opens in Central Valley
October 23, 2008
• Origami Foods makes thin films out of fruits and veggies
• First plant in new Stockton industrial park
Matthew de Bord and his wife Romy pause in front of their new company's first building.
Tara McHugh, research leader of the ARS team that developed the product.
Matthew de Bord and Stockton Mayor Ed Chavez
From a government lab in the East Bay to a startup housed in the former kitchen of the long-gone Stockton State Hospital, Tara McHugh’s ideas finally saw their commercial fruition Thursday afternoon.
That’s when city, state and federal officials joined with the owner and staff of Origami Foods LLC in dedicating their new plant.
It’s housed in about 9,000 square feet of the former kitchen, one of the buildings from the former mental hospital being remodeled into either light industrial or educational use at what is now called University Park.
Origami Foods is the first manufacturing plant to open on the campus. California State University, Stanislaus, has taken over some of the buildings for its Stockton operations.
Ms. McHugh, a scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service laboratories in Albany was among several scientists on hand for the dedication.
She says she was just part of a team working on the idea of converting fruits and vegetables into thin, edible, films.
It wasn’t all lab work -- she admits to recruiting her children to taste test some of the later products of the now patented research.
ARS has licensed the patents to Origami.
Almost any fruit, vegetable or combination can be used to create its edible film, says Origami Foods.
Matthew de Bord, Origami Foods’ owner, wanted a better way to handle sushi instead of wrapping it in seaweed, the traditional Japanese way. He heard of Ms. McHugh’s research and, over several years, came up with the business plan and the funding needed to take the process from the lab into the commercial world.