Local businesses gain exposure at the Fresno Food Expo

The San Joaquin Valley is home to an abundant amount of produce and food, and many of those businesses are finding exposure at the Fresno Food Expo.
KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Pounds and pounds of pistachios are being processed and sorted at Nichols Farms in Kings County. The business, which started in 1990, has increased greatly in staff and sales. Its recent growth came from connections at the Fresno Food Expo.

"Our experience was great. They had the right buyers there from the major food chains that we deal with or that we want to meet and haven't been able to in the past and its right in the center of where all the speciality foods are grown in the whole world," said Chuck Nichols, Nichols Farms Owner and President.

Tuesday, Nichols Farms served as one of the hosts to kick off the 2015 Fresno Food Expo. This year marks the fifth year for the event, something Mayor Ashley Swearengin says has re-energized both local businesses and consumers. "We've rekindled Fresnans love for food as we really enjoy and contemplate all the incredible things that are produced right here in the Valley."

Local, business and political leaders were all a part of the kick off tour, which took them to three business throughout the Valley. Each got a tour of a food producer, but businesses owners also had a chance to network -- like Suzanne Palazzo, who works at Cardella Winery in Mendota. "My head is spinning just from touring Nichols Farms. I've been a been able to talk to a lot of people who are in the import/export (business) and it's mind blowing, it is really," said Suzanne Palazzo, Cardella Winery.

City leaders are hoping the expo will help create partnerships between small and large business and open up more domestic and international markets for them to sell their products. "This is really the backbone of our local economy. So getting these company's in front of new customers, growing their business and hiring more people is a benefit for all of us," said Amy Fuetes, Director Fresno Food Expo.

Nichols Farms is one of the 150 business expected at this year's Fresno Food Expo. The event kicks off July 23.
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