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Kiwanians learn how Harvest Pride Tortilla Chips are made

By Jon Umphress
Denny Hensel updated Ada Kiwanis Club members on March 22 about Harvest Pride Tortilla Chips, which he and his family operate in Ada. 

Hensel first gave some of his personal history. He grew up in Dola and graduated from Hardin Northern.  He and his family farm about 900 acres.

He worked at Rockwell for 30 years. In 1987 he started a corn cleaning operation for other tortilla chip makers.  His first customer was Seyfert Foods in Fort Wayne.  He was selling 4 or 5 semi-loads of cleaned corn a week. 

In 2007 he bought a robotic palletizer. The building was started in 2012 and is located in Ada’s Industrial Park. The “El Campo” restaurants in Ada and Bluffton and the local Community Markets serve Harvest Pride chips. 

Hensel also talked about the process of making tortilla chips.  The corn is cooked on one day in water and lime and then the next day the corn is washed and stone-ground.  The resulting “masa” is then rolled  Restaurant chips are .030 inches thinner than the blue chips.  The chips are next fried and pass through a seasoning drum. 

Finally they are bagged.  Food grade corn comes in white, yellow, blue, and red.  It doesn’t contain red streaks of material. 

The plant is in the industrial park. One pound of corn gives 1 pound of chips.