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New 'superfood' being developed locally

Posted at 6:17 PM, Dec 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-24 18:18:17-05

On a long dirt road, where hooves compete with tire tracks, a possible solution in the fight against world hunger.

At the Parabel plant in Fellsmere, they’re creating a plant-based protein called LENTEIN.

It comes from a small flowering plant called Lemna.  It looks like a lentil, and the company refers to it as a water lentil.
Through a process, it’s turned into a protein concentrate.

"The protein stream is the one that we’re drying into 65-percent protein and with a lot of otter macro and micro nutrients in it, so it’s a little bit like a super food," said Cecilia Wittbjer with Parabel.

LENTEIN can be used in protein shakes as well as bars and snacks and could compete with things like soy, peas and rice.

Wittbjer says it’s also allergen free.

In 2016, the company will expand its local footprint.  Parabel plans to build near another company that’s already seeing success with a new kind of agriculture.

Florida Organic Aquaculture’s shrimp farming operation has already expanded.

Parabel leased 450 acres nearby for its’ new LENTEIN production plant,  a 10-million dollar community investment.  Fellsmere city manager Jason Nunemaker says Parabel’s plans are the best Christmas gift they could get.

“They could have gone anywhere but they chose Fellsmere, they chose Indian River County, they chose the Treasure Coast," said Nunemaker, who sees a "next-gen" agriculture community cropping up in his city.

Parabel plans to make a formal presentation of its plans to the Fellsmere City Council just after the New Year.

At an international food expo in July, LENTEIN was honored with an innovation award.  

Another advantage, says the company, is that the plant can be harvested year around, and the water used to produce the plant is recycled.