visiting raisin ranches in Fresno, CA

[2 Nov 2012 | By | 6 Comments]

grapes and raisins

I recently had the pleasure of attending raisin ranches with a handful of [very cool] food bloggers. We flew into Fresno, CA—where 99% of raisins are grown/dried. If you eat raisins: you have the weather, history and dedicated ranchers of Fresno to thank. Taking photos is one of my favorite components of food and farm trips; check out my raisin albums on flickr and facebook.


raisin ranches in Fresno, CA

It isn’t hard to be swayed to love raisins. They are nature’s candy, and there is something nostalgic about seeing grapes laid out in the sun OR left on the vine, bathing in heat and transforming into these nutrition-packed little gems. You know I am a fan of preserving seasonal foods (you DO know that, right?) and raisins are no exception: when these grapes are at their height of maturity they are plucked from the vines and dried in the sun. Once dried, these divine grapes are preserved for healthy snacking throughout the year.

dried grapes

raisin cluster

I was inspired by raisins, their nutritional benefits and the fact that drying whole fruits actually concentrates their nutrients (you lose some vitamin C when drying most fruits but in the case of raisins, gain concentrated potassium, calcium and fiber). I would love to hear your inspiration and favorite raisin recipes; the timing is ‘ripe’ since the California Raisin Marketing Board and Relish Magazine have teamed up to bring you a Raisin Contest (from Nov 1 – Dec 31, 2012). Here is the entrance form, the site with full description of the contest, and their pinterest page.

california raisin contestI cannot enter! I am a favored guest of California Raisins and therefore: they would be biased in my direction. So you will have to enter on my behalf! And please add a link or comment below so I can follow your entrance. Can you say trip to Nashville? Some cash in your pocket? Why not?! Grab some sundried grapes [ahem: raisins] and tuck them into a nearby recipe. (Though if I COULD enter I might include chicken raisin curry wraps, whiskey bread pudding or rum raisin shortbread. I am just sayin’).

janelle and meredith

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  • Katie said (5 November 2012 at 11:57 pm):

    What a great post! To be honest I never really thought about where my raisins came from!

  • carrian said (6 November 2012 at 7:54 am):

    I do love raisins. I cannot figure out why in the world people don’t. MMmm we have this cookie cake with raisins. Pure heaven.

  • Fork and Whisk said (6 November 2012 at 8:00 pm):

    I have some family in Fresno but have never gone to see the raisins. Looks like you guys had a good time, great pics.

  • Heidi Clark said (8 November 2012 at 7:22 pm):

    Hey Janelle! Loved this post! My mom used to call them “God’s Candy” when I was growing up so I had a nice chuckle at this. :) What an awesome trip!

  • Janelle (author) said (30 November 2012 at 2:22 pm):

    Katie: thanks for commenting!!! Love hearing your response.

    Carrian: I am loving the large raisins dried on the vine. I wish we could get them anywhere!!!

    Fork and Whisk: love the name of your blog!!!

    Heidi: hello love! It was a great trip, and raisins really do taste like candy;)! Smart mom!

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