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The annual Fresno Food Expo kicked off with a big announcement: it’s getting a new name. It will now be called the California Food Expo and will expand to feature exhibitors from the entire Golden State.
“Our production value in both fresh and manufactured products, our innovation, and our diversity make California a food powerhouse,” said Amy Fuentes, Manager, California Food Expo. “The Expo’s vision to incorporate all of California enables us to harness the state’s thriving food industry and connect buyers to authentic California brands.”
Top buyers attend Expo to connect with CA brands
The July 26th event at the Fresno Convention Center featured more than 135 exhibitors, showcasing things like flavored honey, almond butter, fruit-flavored jelly, and organic milk.
Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Karen Ross, attended this year’s show. “California is the nation’s top agricultural producing state, accounting for $46 billion in output from over 400 different commodities,” said Ross. “The state is also home to more than 5,500 food manufacturing facilities, twice the amount of any other state in the nation. These astounding numbers give the California Food Expo an incredible platform to fortify California relationships and continue to expand the industry into the future.”
Top buyers attending this year’s Expo included Bristol Farms, Whole Foods, Grocery Outlet, Smart & Final, and Walmart.
“Discovering and carrying quality California products remains a high priority for our store,” said Randy Ducummon, Vice President for Whole Foods Market, Northern California and Reno. “Having the California Food Expo include food and beverage products from throughout the state provides a unique and incredibly valuable opportunity for us to connect with California brands, while also sourcing new store offerings.”
Expolicious lets public try new offerings
Over 1,000 people attended Expolicious, the Expo’s public event held in the evening (during the day, the Expo is just for businesses). They got to sample new bites created by local restaurants, including The Annex Kitchen, Elbow Room, and Rev’s.
What I enjoy most about the Expo is being able to taste and learn about products (and, in some cases, the people behind the products) made in our own backyards. For example, those fancy Pressed Juicery drinks that celebrities love to sip on in L.A. are made right here in Fresno. I had no idea!
I also learned that Ernest and Julio Gallo, the famous winemakers, had a younger brother in the dairy industry. Joseph E. Gallo founded Joseph Farms Cheese in Atwater. They had a wide variety of products on display at the Expo, including their new Hatch Chile Cheese, which is a pepper cheese without the spice.
Dogs Dig ‘Em is a locally produced dog treat that is helping disadvantaged women get back into the workforce. They showcased their latest flavor, Double Peanut Butter & Honey.
The Brown Butter Baking Company makes artisan brown butter cookies and sells them at the Clovis and River Park Farmers Markets. The McKinseys started their business because they loved cookies, now they are hoping the Expo helps them grow into a wholesaler.
Date for 2019 Expo set
There’s definitely a lot to sample and learn about when visiting the Expo. Mark your calendar for the 2019 California Food Expo. It will take place July 24-25.