Pea protein

PURIS Foods, Turtle Lake, sells food product made from proteins extracted from pea plants.

The Turtle Lake operation for Twin Cities-based Puris Foods has been recognized by a national business publication for its innovation, according to an announcement made Tuesday, March 9, 2021.

Puris Foods was recognized by Fast Company, a 25-year-old business magazine founded by two former Harvard Business Review editors. The publication covers new and innovative business practices.

In a recent issue, Fast Company ranked Puris Foods first among its “top ten most innovative” food companies in the United States.

The announcement was shared with local media by Steven P. Stokke, of Elk Mound, a sustainability and business development executive with Fagen, Inc. Stokke said he has been assisting the Turtle Lake Puris Foods operation with personnel consulting.

According to Tyler Lorenzen, CEO for Puris Foods, the company employs 90 people at Turtle Lake and more than 300 workers in half a dozen plants across the Midwest.

The Turtle Lake workforce includes 25 residents of the News-Shield circulation area, including seven from Almena, five from Barron, six from Cameron, three each from Chetek and Prairie Farm, and one from Dallas, according to company information.

The magazine story complimented Puris Foods for introducing “a new, high-protein pea variety that can be grown at a large scale by commercial farmers around the United States.”

The pea variety “is viable across six climate zones and is being grown in California and Arizona, meaning that it can be cultivated almost year-round, helping farmers harvest more,” the magazine reported. “The company shifted all of its sourcing to become fully domestic, and the new pea has cemented its status as the largest producer of pea protein in North America this year.”

“We were the first plant in the United States to produce (proteins derived from pea plants),” Lorenzen said in a Wednesday, March 10, interview.

“Pea protein is the source of what we make at Turtle Lake,” he added. “We take pea components, separate the protein from water, and dry it as an ingredient which we sell to a variety of food manufacturers.”

Beyond Meat is one of the most familiar names among Puris Foods’ customers, Lorenzen added. He said that Beyond Meat is in the process of introducing plant-based hamburgers sold at McDonald’s restaurants.

Lorenzen said the new pea variety is being grown in Wisconsin and 28 other states.