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Food Expo to bring in Madera growers, brewers

Pat Ricchiuti, owner of Enzo Olive Oil Co., and Kari Ball bottles of the product and give out samples during a media event showcaseing new products for the upcoming Fresno Food Expo. Their Clementine Crush oil has been selected as one of the top 10 new products finalist. (Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune)


Food growers and manufacturers from across the San Joaquin Valley are preparing to showcase their latest products at the 6th annual Fresno Food Expo later this month.

The Fresno Food Expo, set for July 28 at the Fresno Convention Center, 700 M St., will be an opportunity for Valley food and beverage producers to display their products for sale to representatives from markets, retail buyers, and restaurants looking for local goods.

This year, there will be more than 130 exhibitors at the event. Before the expo began, however, manufacturers and growers were given the chance to provide media and potential buyers a sneak peek at their newest goods at the Taste, Tally, and Tweet, a special preview, which was held at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in Downtown Fresno on Wednesday.

“We want people to buy our products,” said Amy Fuentes, manager for the Fresno Food Expo. “We are the bread basket of the world, and we are here to help get our products out into the market.”

Among the Madera County producers at the Taste, Tally, and Tweet event were the ENZO Olive Oil Co., Riley’s Brewing, Co., and Heart Ridge Farms, an almond producer, all of which have experience at past Fresno Food Expos.

“Last year, we launched, so we brought our products out for the new products show, and the expo, and this is our second year,” said Jeff Capra, the compliance manager for Heart Ridge Farms. Capra hopes that this year, Heart Ridge Farms can repeat the success they enjoyed in 2015.

“We’ve had a lot of good responses. A lot of people have expressed, through taste tests, buyers, that they enjoy the quality of the almond, they understand that we have a unique roast, and the flavors are not overpowering; they just enhanced the almond,” Capra said. “It was a good show. We received a lot of different distributors and vendors to get our product out on the marketplace. We really enjoyed what the Fresno Food Expo gives us.”

“I should’ve been doing it earlier,” said Dan Riley, the president and founder of Riley’s Brewing Co. “The buyers we meet, and a few of the exports, but mainly some of the store buyers, the store managers, and corporate people that come, and sample our product are very happy with it. I believe it helped.”

It was also announced that one of the Madera County food producers, the ENZO Olive Oil Co., had been chosen as one of 10 finalists for the Fresno Food Expo’s New Product Buyer’s Choice Award for their new Organic Clementine Crush flavored olive oil.

“We’re very excited, especially with looking around and seeing all these wonderful producers here. Great to be at the top,” said ENZO’s marketing and sales coordinator Kari Ball. “With some of our personal favorites as well.”

The ENZO Olive Oil Co., 7770 Road 33 in Madera, planted its olive trees in 2008, and had its first harvest in 2011. The company, according to Ball, is 100 percent self-sufficient, growing all the olives used in its oils on its own estate. Their Clementine Crush oil, however, was just one of two products showcased by ENZO. Another, the Tyler Florence Test Kitchen Extra Virgin, was made by the company in cooperation with celebrity chef Tyler Florence, host of “The Great Food Truck Race,” and “Tyler’s Ultimate” on the Food Network. The oil was made for one of Florence’s restaurants, the Wayfare Tavern, in San Francisco.

“We actually sat down with him, and used three different varieties of olive oil,” Ball said. “We wanted something that was well-rounded that he could use for numerous things in his restaurant.” The winner of the Buyer’s Choice Award will be announced at the Fresno Food Expo.

ENZO, Heart Ridge Farms, and Riley’s Brewing Co. will be joined by Rosenthal Olive Ranch, Western Fresh Marketing, the CRU Wine Co., San Joaquin Wine Co., Stellar Distributing, and Ready Roast Nut Co., all of which will be attending the expo as well.

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