COACHELLA, Calif.--A few dozen lucky attendees at The Packer's West Coast Produce Expo got to sample the latest in stone fruit, grapes, peppers and fresh herbs, and get their hands in the dirt during buyer tours of the Coachella Valley on May 21.
Stop 1: Prime Time International
At the pepper packing facility of Prime Time International, the groups were able to see first hand how bell peppers and mini sweet peppers are processed and packed, what the company does to mitigate food waste, and how they handle traceability at the case level.
Stop 2: Prime Time International pepper ranch
The pepper ranch we visited is on the shores of the Salton Sea, California's largest lake. We passed bonus date palm, fig and lemon operations on our way in.
Prime Time shades its mini seedless peppers to protect them from the sun.
Stop 3: North Shore Living Herbs
Thermal, Calif.-based North Shore Living Herbs was kind enough to take us through their herb growing operation in Thermal, and share some of their fresh mint ice cream -- that was such a hit on the trade show floor the previous day -- with us. We each took home a living basil plant, as well.
If you're wondering where the photos are, well...you kind of had to be there because we weren't able to sneak around and take any at North Shore.
Maybe next time you'll join us? :)
Stop 4: Sun World
Coachella grapes are running a little late this year, and Gordon Robertson of Sun World gave us the lowdown on when the company expects to start harvesting these lovelies. (He thinks they'll be ready by the last week in May)
We checked out a brand new vineyard of Midnight Beauty grapes on this stop as well.
Stop 5: Tasty Test Fruit from Sun World
This was my favorite! Sun World also develops other fruit, including peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots and cherries, and they shared some fruit they're testing.
My personal favorites were the red flesh plums and Honeycots. The cherries were deep, dark red, too.
Jealous? You should join us next year! We're back at the J.W. Marriott in Palm Desert May 14-16.