4th Annual Fresno Food Expo Brings Out Hundreds

Published 07/24 2014 06:49PM

Updated 07/24 2014 06:59PM

At the 4th Annual Fresno Food Expo Thursday, hundreds of growers, producers, and buyers came together under one roof.

Local companies showcased their products to potential buyers.

"Being able to have a conversation where you're handing them your product and talking is a lot different than emailing, sitting in their office," says Ron Locke with Top O' the Morn Farms, a Tulare-based company that sells flavored milk products.

It's a win-win situation, especially when samples are involved--fresh fruit, cheeses, flavored milk.

"Peanut butter, chocolate, root beer, strawberry," Locke says listing some of the flavors of milk he sells.

The expo has grown over the years. The amount of vendors participating has doubled since the first show in 2011.

Amy Fuentes, director of the Fresno Food Expo says 126 vendors participated.

They're there for the exposure and to make business deals happen. 

"And that can really build their business and grow their production," Fuentes says.

The San Joaquin Valley is often called the breadbasket of the world. Some traveled thousands of miles to get a taste.

Chen Qicai is one of 16 exporters from China who attended the expo. He traveled with his interpreter in search of a specific item.

"He would like to bring back figs that are produced in California. He likes the figs. He would plan to promote in Hong Kong," says Qicai's interpreter.

The expo also gives those in the food industry a chance to collaborate. 

Stephen Paul works in sales for Homegrown Organic Farms based in Porterville.

A manufacturer came to him with an idea: "He'll make a healthy snack item out of citrus, and actually I saw he made a lollipop out of it. I thought that was clever," Paul says.

The event was moved from its original date in March to July to accommodate fresh fruit growers.  

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