Food Expo scores with vendors, buyers

03/16/2011 10:49:33 AM
Don Schrack

FRESNO, Calif. — Reviews from exhibitors and buyers alike were positive after the first Fresno Food Expo.

“The vendors are extremely happy they got the one-on-ones, and the buyers are just as happy that they got the chance to talk to the vendors and to start those relationships,” said Craig Scharton, director of the city’s Downtown and Community Revitalization Department.

Don Schrack

Buyers from national, regional and local retail and foodservice chains meet with fresh and processed food vendors at the first annual Fresno Food Expo March 11. The number of registered buyers who attended was 170, 20 more than had registered in advance, said Craig Scharton, director of the Fresno Downtown and Community Revitalization Department.

A brainchild of Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, Fresno Food Expo was designed to provide a platform where San Joaquin Valley food providers had the opportunity to meet “buyers on their home turf,” Scharton said.

Among the fresh produce grower-shippers at the March 11 expo were:

  • Baloian Farms, Fresno;
  • Family Tree Farms, Reedley;
  • Fowler Packing Co. Inc., Fowler;
  • Fruit Patch Sales, Dinuba;
  • Homegrown Organic Farms, Porterville;
  • Scattaglia Growers & Shippers LLC, Traver;
  • Simonian Fruit Co., Fowler;
  • Van Groningen & Sons Inc., Manteca; and,
  • Wawona Packing Co., Cutler.

A total of 66 Fresno area vendors, ranging from fresh produce grower-shippers to food processors, staffed exhibits at the expo. The number of registered buyers from national, regional and local market chains and foodservice operations was 170, 20 more than had registered in advance.

“Buyers who have done all the big shows said this one was by far more than they expected,” Scharton said.

Some national retailers brought teams of buyers to the expo, which was closed to the public during the day. It opened during the evening to an unexpected overflow crowd.

Organizers had set a goal of selling 250 tickets to the general public, but more than 375 paying customers appeared in addition to 150 invited guests, Scharton said.



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