Tasty Gift Baskets in Del Rey

FRESNO, Calif.

But one of the country's biggest producers of holiday gift packs can be found in the small valley town of Del Rey.

The sweet smell inside the chocolate room is intoxicating. So many tasty items need to be dipped.

Pieces of dried fruit are quickly stacked on an assembly line. Just like Santa's elves, hundreds of workers in Del Rey are preparing gift packs and baskets.

"The holidays are coming and we get ready, ramp up to pack holiday gift packs for people all over the country," Company President Jim Garry said.

Jim's mother, 86-year old Jessie still looks over the product from the company she and her late husband Ed started in their kitchen back in 1952.

"We were packing the small paper box and the small basket and our first customer was Smart and Final," Jessie Garry said.

She never dreamed big chains like Costco and Trader Joe's would eventually come calling. The business started from very humble beginnings.

"We used a lot of dates and figs, which we bought locally." Back then figs were plentiful in Fresno.

"Most people's homes are built on where there used to be fig trees so the fig supply has dwindled substantially here."

Garry packing is one of the country's biggest producers of dried fruit and nut gift packs. Many of the items are locally grown.

"We try to use the lighter colored fruits to make the packs look appealing. Apricots, peaches, apples."

The family has an on-site store in del ray. But their products are shipped around the country.

Some 200 employees work full-time between September and December to keep up with demand.

"It gives us a good feeling that we have work available for people." And even back in the fifties, mom knew baskets would work best.

"During the holidays it makes a gift for the whole family and that's what we're grateful for."

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