Since retiring from the NFL in 2011, former defensive end Jarvis Green has been making a variety of business moves off the football field that involves something else he is passionate about; food. The Louisiana native launched Ocean 97, his gourmet line of easy-to-cook meals, after a friend introduced him to the industry.
When talking to Green, it won’t take long to discover that he loves to cook and is not afraid to showcase his culinary chops. “I have always been creative. When I cook, I never follow a recipe. My spaghetti sauce is never the same. My gumbo is never the same,” says Green who worked in the construction industry prior.
His entry into the shrimp business was unexpected but a welcomed change from construction management when a friend called asking Green to help with his family’s business. Owing him a favor, Green said yes and hasn’t looked back since. “I just wanted to do something different and I said I can do this outside of construction. I didn’t know where it was going. I was just taking it one day at a time.”
Green relocated to Boston and absorbed the day-to-day details, learning the ropes from working in the ice house where the shrimp is stored to deveining and cleaning, all the way down to learning specifically about its anatomy. “I worked in a different area every two to three weeks,” recalls Green. After his time ended at the business, he continued to stay in the industry going on to work with other companies before founding Ocean 97 in February 2015.
Today Green is on the road, carefully sourcing shrimp for his tasty meals which he describes as “sweeter and plump with fewer chemicals,” noting you can really taste the difference. His southern heritage and experiences traveling the world lay the foundation for the sauces that make Ocean 97 products a hit with consumers. Green has personally had a hand in developing each of the eight selections that include Caponata Shrimp, Coconut Curry Shrimp, Garlic Butter Shrimp and Pomodori Shrimp.
Ocean 97 is currently available at Stop & Shop, Giant and Martin’s stores on the East Coast with an introduction into Walmart Supercenters scheduled for later this year. Green’s goal is to partner with one major retailer in each region. In addition, he plans to create sauces that speak to the various consumer markets, making Ocean 97 a diverse and delicious culinary stop at mealtime.
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With a successful appearance on QVC last year as well as at more than 50 food and beverage shows across the country, the word is definitely getting out Ocean 97. Shrimp lovers are finally finding out what family and friends have known for years, Green is in the business of pleasing taste buds. And as he continues to expand the brand while growing his new culinary fan base along the way, he says, “It goes to my heart when I see people smile and happy when they’ve tasted something I have created.”