Local vendors prepare for Fresno Food Expo

FRESNO, California

65 valley food companies will be out to court over 150 food buyers seeking new products. They all believe they may have the next big thing in the food industry.

Instead of being overshadowed at a big city food show, local food companies will have the buyers all to themselves.

The smell of salami and other Italian meats aging to perfection was intoxicating at Busseto Foods in southwest Fresno. For 30 years people have enjoyed their dried meats but probably didn't know the products were made locally.

President Mike Grazier said the company's new motto is "Who knew?" Grazier explained, "The feedback we always get is this product is amazing. I can't believe I didn't know about you before and I can't believe it's made right here in Fresno."

You can buy their meats at Save Mart and enjoy the salami on Me-n-Ed's pizzas.

The Fresno Food Expo offers companies like Busetto Foods a way to get product in front of national and international buyers. "Salami, the prosciutto to coppa, maybe even some bresaola out there so all the products, some of which they see on the Food Network."

Companies were busy setting up booths at The Grand in downtown Fresno. Valley Lavosh Bakery is ready to court large retailers like Costco and Whole Foods.

Agnes Saghatelian Wilson is a third-generation owner. Her grandfather built the downtown bakery in 1922.

Its most popular item is a heart-shaped cracker designed by Agnes' mom in 1993. Saghatelian Wilson said, "On the retail side is our heart-shaped item, that's what we're know for, the heart-shaped Lavosh, which is a great consumer item for us."

A non-descript facility in central Fresno houses Apple Valley Farms. The company processes chicken, beef and pork products for retailers like Food for Less and is ready to expand its national presence at the Fresno Food Expo.

Company President Durbin Breckenridge said, "It's going to create some wonderful opportunities for us to meet some of the major retailers across the United States."

Apple Valley Farms will debut its new seasoned boneless chicken thigh meat.

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