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Charles Seabrook, 94; Created Method to Freeze Vegetables

October 11, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

Charles Courtney Seabrook, 94, who with his family developed a technique for freezing produce that revolutionized the food industry, died Oct. 4 at the Friends Home in Woodstown, N.J.

Seabrook's family ran Seabrook Farms, a 55,000-acre property in New Jersey's Cumberland County that was, at one time, the largest irrigated vegetable farm in the world.

In 1930, Seabrook, along with his father, Charles F. Seabrook, and his two brothers, experimented with freezing vegetables by packing them in wooden boxes with dry ice.

The concept worked, and led to a partnership with Clarence Birdseye in marketing a line of frozen vegetables.

After graduating from Lehigh University with a degree in civil engineering, Seabrook worked for a nursery in Deerfield, N.J., then for his family's Seabrook Engineering Co.

After World War II, he became head of sales at Seabrook Farms, which flourished until the mid-1950s, when a dispute over control of the company divided the family and the business was sold to Seeman Bros. Inc., a New York wholesale grocery business.

Seabrook then went to work for Standard Packaging Co., where he retired in 1974.

He continued to operate a wholesale nursery after he left Standard.

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