The San Joaquin Valley, specifically around Selma/Reedley area, produces the raisins eaten by the world. This year is a big one for the raisin industry with production at 450,000 to 500,000 tons. Even better for the raisin growers, though, is the price.
Topping out at $1700 a ton, it is the best year in a long time for these growers who take a big risk with this fruit. Just as the Thompson seedless grapes are going down on the paper trays, a rain can come along and cause mold. Or, if the rain comes later, after the raisins have dried, but before the trays are rolled, the raisins can literally wash away, down the rows.
Yesterday, a friend and I took off for the small town of Reedley, about a 30 minute drive out into the countryside. We found a vineyard that still had raisins on the ground so we stopped, not only to take pictures, but so I could give my friend who had never seen raisins in the making, a lesson on how this delicious fruit is produced.
These raisins will be processed and packed by SunMaid: