The innovative approach: Local firm creates easy-to-carry food dehydrator

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WILLIAMSTOWN — Brod & Taylor, a local company known for its innovative approaches to kitchen matters, has introduced another product designed to overcome issues that are inherent in more conventional designs.

It's called the Sahara Food Dehydrator, and it's designed to overcome the main obstacle for keeping a working dehydrator in the house — its awkward size.

The full-size Sahara quickly folds into a flat, easy-to-carry unit that can be tucked away in a drawer or cabinet. Due to their size, traditional dehydrators often end up stored in basements or garages to gather dust, said Michael Taylor, the founder of Berkshire Innovations LLC, Brod & Taylor's parent company.

The Sahara has more than 11 square feet of drying area, digitally-controlled 700-watt dual heaters, quiet and high-efficiency circulating airflow, filtered air intake, automated dual time/temperature controls, stainless steel shelving, glass doors and internal power cord storage, Taylor said. Optimized air circulation is provided by a quiet, efficient radial fan that balances a mix of fresh and recirculated air to augment food drying and energy efficiency.

Building the Sahara was an engineering challenge because it needs it needs to have airflow and a small power unit and fan assembly, Taylor said.

GOOD MARKETS

The U.S., China and Europe are considered to be good markets for the Sahara, areas that were also popular for two other recent Brod & Taylor products, he said.

They include the Folding Proofer & Slow Cooker for bread-baking enthusiasts, and the Professional and Classic Austrian Knife Sharpeners, which are made with high-grade tungsten carbide for longevity.

Founded nine years a go, Brod & Taylor employs seven people locally, but works with designers and fabricators in Europe and China.

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The local employees include Taylor's wife, Dianne, and his son, Warren, who serves as a mechanical engineer.

Brod & Taylor is currently taking orders for the Sahara Food Dehydrator, which is priced at $495. Shipping will begin in June. Orders are being received online. A number of distributors are interested.

"It is the only folding premium dehydrator in the world," Taylor said

Dehydration is an efficient way to preserve fruits, vegetables and meats, according to Taylor. Dried foods last a long time, are lightweight and compact. Food that is dried at home can be free of additives.

There's another product working its way through the Brod & Taylor pipeline. Taylor calls it Project X, but provided no further details.

"It is still in the kitchen space," Taylor said.

The firm tries to create products that are can be patented and are unique.

"Anything we do will be in the same vein," Taylor said.

Scott Stafford can be reached at sstafford@berkshireeagle.com or 413-629-4517.


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