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The Plenus Group from Lowell produces dozens of various sauces and soups, and other foods, on a large scale for a wide audience — supermarkets, colleges and universities, restaurants, and more — as well as chowder for the well-known Boston Chowda Co. Last summer, the family-owned company introduced a small kettle-batch line, Herban Fresh, with the intent to support local agriculture. The company partners and gives 3 percent of the sales of the soup to Mill City Grows of Lowell, the organization that runs the city’s urban farms, and the farmers’ and mobile markets that give residents access to locally grown food. “We want to be a strong member of the community and give back,” says Plenus marketing manager Michael Jolly. With hand-cut vegetables and a modest amount of sea salt, the produce and dairy for the soups come from New England farms when possible. There are varieties like butternut squash, hearty vegetable, tomato cauliflower, broccoli cheddar, chicken noodle with antibiotic-free chicken and organic bone broth ($5 to $8 for 23.5 ounces). Many of the choices are vegetarian, and a few are vegan. The soups are available at Foodie’s Urban Market, Donelan’s Supermarkets, and Whole Foods Market locations.



Herban Fresh soups.
Herban Fresh soups.Handout

Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at anntrieger@gmail.com.