The California Food Expo featured 130 food and beverage companies. Many of the products are manufactured right here in the Central Valley. Cold-pressed juice, plant-based ice cream, flavored almonds, and nitro coffee were just some of the tasty treats showcased.
Participants in the California Food Expo, which took place Monday, September 10th at the Fresno Convention Center, were a mix of large and small companies. Some were household names, others just starting out
FresYes has put together a list of where you can purchase some of the products featured. That way you can buy local and help grow our economy.
“It’s the original fun-flavored Golden Raisin,” said National Raisin co-owner Kimberly Bedrosian. “Raisels are an alternative fruit snack.”
Raisels have bright packaging and come in flavors: Fruit Splash, Lemon Blast, Orange Burst, and Watermelon Shock. They can be purchased locally at Smart and Final in the Produce section, Raisels.com and on Amazon.
National Raisin Company has been taking part in the Food Expo since it launched in 2011, originally as the Fresno Food Expo. “I think it’s exciting that we are bringing other companies from around California to Fresno,” Bedrosian said. “It’s fun to all be in one place together.”
Heart Ridge Farms
Chile Lime flavored almonds are a top seller in the Central Valley for Heart Ridge Farms. The Madera based almond growers are known for their unique tasting almonds. Some of their flavors include: Garlic Jalapeno, Buffalo White Cheddar, Maple Hickory, Sweet Cinnamon, and Wasabi Garlic and Onion. They have non-flavored almonds too.
“At Heart Ridge, we grow our almonds, roast our almonds and season our almonds ourselves,” said Edgar Rodriguez of Heart Ridge Farms. “We put care into our product.”
You can purchase the Heart Ridge Farms products at Save Mart grocery stores and inside many local convenience stores.
Pacific Pickle Works
Bradley Bennett went from working in the software industry for 20 years to creating his own pickle company.
“I always like a vinegary snack,” Bennett said. “It started as a side project for friends and family and then it just took off.”
Pacific Pickle Works is based out of Santa Barbara. Their pickled products have fun names like “Pickles Under the Ginfluence,” which is gin, rosemary and jalapeño flavored. Their first flavor was “jay Cukarambas”, which is a spicy dill.
In addition to pickles, their line includes beets, fennel, carrots, and other vegetables. They also sell pickle brine and drink mixes.
It was Pacific Pickle Works first time at the California Food Expo. “Ideally we’d like to expand our food service customer base in this region,” Bennett said.
Grandpa’s Popcorn and Sweets
Daniel Campbell’s grandpa has been in the popcorn business for over 50 years in Ohio. About five years ago, Daniel and his wife Cassiopeia decided to open their own popcorn store in their hometown of Fresno.
“We are the only gourmet popcorn company in the Central Valley,” Campbell said. “We’re also peanut, tree nut and gluten free.”
Their popcorn line features 65 flavors. At their store, 20 of the flavors are available. They rotate them.
During the California Food Expo they featured one of their newest flavors, Pineapple and Coconut. “This was our first time taking part in the Expo,” Campbell said. “It’s helping us expose more people to our popcorn.”
Dale Bros Coffee
Dale Bros used the California Food Expo to help rebrand their company, which started in Fresno in 1918. For years they’ve been known as Coffee Break Service. They provide coffee for restaurants, offices and pastry shops. Now the owners are going back to the Dale Bros name.
At the California Food Expo, they were showing off a high tech coffee machine that brews fresh lattes, cappuccinos, and more. “Just about anything you can get at Starbucks, you can make with this,” said Scott Garton, Dal Bros Sales Representative.
The machine uses fresh beans to create each cup. It’s already being used at the Fresno Mercedes and BMW dealerships, as well as some offices like Sante Health.
Rhonda and Dinah Nassar grew up in Egypt, when they moved to the United States they were disappointed in the quality of chocolate they found here.
“It’s too sweet,” Dinah Nassar said of American chocolate.
Both sisters graduated from Cal Berkley with engineering degrees. Eight months ago they launched their business in San Luis Obispo.
We love chocolates,” Rhonda Nassar said. “We’ve been making chocolates since we were young.”
They use 72% dark chocolate and use coconut sugar as the sweetener in their truffles and bars.
Celia Chocolatier is available at several wineries in Paso Robles, you can also order chocolates, including party favors, from them by contacting them directly. More information is available on their website.
The sisters hope taking part in the California Food Expo will allow for more business in the Central Valley.
Good Boy Boba
Jack Yang started his mobile boba tea company earlier this summer with the goal of one day having a brick and mortar location.
The Fresno City College counselor loves boba, which is a Taiwanese tea-based drink that features chewy tapioca balls.
What makes Good Boy Boba different from other boba teas is that they use natural ingredients, like fresh fruit and most of their drinks are non-dairy.
“Our menu is seasonal,” Yang said. “Right now our watermelon drink has been really popular, but it will go away when watermelons go out of season.”
Cold-pressed juice is all the rage and a Reedley based tree agribusiness has gotten in on the action.
Reeves and Skyler Forrest are fifth-generation farmers. Their family grows, packs and ships tree fruit, such as peaches, plums, and nectarines.
In recent years it’s been hard for tree fruit growers to make a profit and a lot of fruit would get thrown away or sent to a juicer. Youngstown decided to invest in the equipment to juice their own fruit.
At the Food Expo, they were sampling Pomegranate, Orange, Pineapple and Lemonade juice. It can be purchased under the “Farm Dog Juices” brand at The Market at Herndon and West in Fresno, Fulton Street Coffee, Cru Winery and Bella Bakery in Kingsburg.
The brothers say they are also developing other flavors that feature a blend of peaches, plums and other fruits they grow.
Busseto Foods is one of the larger companies that takes part in the California Food Expo. The salami producers are based in Fresno. They make all of their salami products at their plant on Church and West Avenues.
“We’ve used the Food Expo to create awareness of who we are and what we do in Fresno,” said Mike Grazier, CEO of Busseto Foods. “The networking aspect of this food show is fantastic.”
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