Building an Empire: How WE Have Shaped the Foodie Phenomenon
February 02, 2017

Building an Empire: How WE Have Shaped the Foodie Phenomenon

By Amy Fuentes,
Fresno Food Expo Manager

Fresh, delicious ingredients and local pride is always in season in the Central California region
How is it that we exist so quietly in a world that is fascinated by food? Food bloggers, influencers, shows, cultures, cities—it’s everywhere! But we, the humble green farm-land that stretches from San Francisco to Los Angeles, sit modestly as cities like San Diego, Houston, Philadelphia, and Cleveland are being recognized as America’s best cities for foodies.

These cities are undoubtedly home to some fantastic restaurateurs, trendy food trucks, unique farmers markets, and artisan craft food makers. But truth be told, the majority of the food products they’re using to concoct their next doughnut burgers, sushi-burrito mashups, and piecakens (a pie baked inside of a cake, that is) comes from right here, from our backyard.

A brief lesson in the Valley’s gourmet
Take for example Michael Symon’s Lola Bistro, located in the newly revitalized downtown Cleveland. His menu is filled with products that were grown and produced by yours truly. Take for instance:

  • Roasted cauliflower
  • Roasted carrots
  • Lolita Brussel sprouts

Those menu items are just a few that you can be fairly certain came entirely from our fertile land. And that’s just one menu… in one city… halfway across the country.

Picture this: when it comes to the grocery stores you frequent –we’ve left our mark in every aisle, on multiple products. Consider for example:

So where are we in the scope of the foodie scene?!

  • We are home to over 400 different commodities, thousands of food growers, manufacturers, processors, brewers, and winemakers.
  • We feed one-third of the nation every day with the food we produce.
  • So while the rest of the world is using our products to make a name for their region, I can’t help but wonder…

Why aren’t we on the forefront of this foodie phenomenon?
Admittedly it is difficult to not be envious when we read about how Portland’s foodie scene started to blow up 24 years ago. It seemed so easy, a “trio of talents with ties to San Francisco,” swooped in and proved to be the turning point in their local culinary scene.

But then we read this! Simon Majumdar, a Food Network personality and world-renowned author, broadcaster, and chef told the world that, “the best dish (he) ate in the USA this year,” came from our very own, Annex Kitchen, and we are instantly reminded, we too, have an amazing story to tell.

We can’t afford to NOT tell our story
After managing the Fresno Food Expo for the past six years, I cannot help but feel compelled to put a spotlight on this place we are so fortunate to call home. We are the real deal, unlike any other place in the world, because we are where your food comes from.

The stories we will tell will be about the people, the companies, the families and the long lived traditions behind the foods we produce. The news we will share will be about how the Central California region is impacting the nation’s food industry, and the resources we will provide will help us build a stronger and more connected food community.

The Fresno Food Expo is the nation’s largest regional food tradeshow. The Expo will be held on July 26-27, 2017 in Fresno, California, during Central California’s prime growing season. Our mission is to provide a platform that increases the commerce and connectivity of Central California’s food and beverage related companies, while creating a regional identity centered around the celebration of food production and the experience food inspires. 

Thumbnail photo by: Jay Wennington

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