This Visalia company is one of three paper straw manufacturers in the U.S.

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) — At Kaweah Container, corrugated boxes are the bread and butter of the business.

They’ve been making them for decades, shipping them to customers in California and the west coast.

But last year, the family-owned Visalia company saw a global trend, identified a need, and decided to start manufacturing a new product — paper straws.

“Kaweah Container might be new to straws but we’ve used paper to make quality products for nearly 30 years,” the company says in their promotional YouTube video.

“Single-use plastic products including straws have kind of fallen out of favor and people were trying to be more environmentally conscious,” said president Rob Reeves.

The equipment came in last fall, and after months of research and development, shipping started in late February of 2019.

President Rob Reeves says it’s been a challenge, but a fun one. He added that the response so far has been positive.

“The paper straws that are out there on the marketplace now, a lot of people would probably agree they’re just not very good,” Reeves said. “So our goal was not only to make a paper straw but to try to make a better paper straw.”

Brian Johnson: “What’s a better paper straw?”

“Well our goal is to make something that lasts the lifetime of your drink, not the lifetime of the planet,” he said.

Reeves says Kaweah Container is one of three paper straw manufacturers in the country, and they’re the only one in California.

But he believes they can do it better than the rest.

One reason? They print them with this machine-an HP T400, which can put any kind of image you want on your straw.

“We use a thermal inkjet process so it creates a vapor bubble inside the printhead, and thus expelling the ink from the printhead, and that’s how the ink gets transferred to the paper,” said manufacturer Reg Phillips.

A slitter machine then cuts the paper down into smaller strips and it heads to Kaweah Container’s straw machines.

The straws are more than just eco-friendly. The materials in them are safe.

“It should be regulated and it’s not,” said the vice president of operations, Erin Jennings. “And it was extremely important to us that we worked with vendors who wanted to come up and help us develop an FDA approved product.”

Sequoia Brewing Company and the Visalia Rawhide are just a couple of the companies who have invested in these straws.

For more information, you can go to kcstraws.com

On The Road: Agritourism — discover the history of agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley

By Tim Viall, Special to The Record
Posted May 13, 2019

Residents of San Joaquin County live in, arguably, the most productive agricultural region in the world. But, as cities expand, farming and food production is pushed further each year into the countryside; many residents seldom think where that food on the table comes from, much less how it is harvested and produced.

To understand the agricultural underpinnings of our county, make your first stop the San Joaquin Historical Museum at Micke Grove Park south of Lodi. The museum story begins with an expanded Native Peoples Gallery, offering insight into the Native Americans who have been living in what is now San Joaquin County for more than 13,000 years.

The museum traces the Miwok- and Yokuts-speaking people, all with rich cultures and lifestyles. Native peoples here put up the greatest resistance to the Spanish-Mexican missions and fought battles with the largest army formed in Spanish-Mexican California. Videos bring to life the intricacies of traditional basket making, acorn preparation, deer hunting and native life.

An interactive circular display allows visitors to listen to recorded messages. In one recording, Glen Villa Jr. (Northern Miwok/Plains Miwok) tells about the First People and a traditional creation narrative. Another recording shares a traditional Yokuts story, told by Sylvia Ross (Chukchansi Yokuts), a third of the Indian freedom fighters led by Estanislao, for whom the Stanislaus River and county were named.

These exhibits work well with the other exhibits in the Erickson Building, and visitors can go in chronological order from the Native peoples who first inhabited the area, to an exhibit on the early trappers and the founding of French Camp, the first non-Indian community. Continue on to an exhibition on the early American settlers, then on to exhibits on the Gold Rush, a hands-on children’s gallery, and the adjacent Weber Gallery.

The Innovators of Agriculture exhibit features the development of intensive, irrigated agriculture in the county beginning around 1900. Six crops are the focus: dry beans, asparagus, cherries, walnuts, canning tomatoes and truck farming (growing of fruits and veggies, trucked to local markets). If you want insight into why our county is so ag-centric, start at this museum wonder! The museum is kid-friendly, with lots of “hands-on” options, and scores of huge tractors, harvesters and vintage farming equipment to wow even young visitors.

Expand your agri-history tour with a visit to the California Agricultural Museum in Woodland, north of Sacramento and just off Interstate 5. Gene Muhlenkamp, a docent since 1996, took two hours to show my friends and I through much of the museum. Its collection stems from that of the Heidrick Brothers, farmers who built a substantial farming empire west of Woodland beginning in the 1930s. Inventive, they often concocted their own machinery to solve farming challenges and began an extensive collection of vintage and noteworthy agri-machinery.

The museum offers a unique collection of tractors, artifacts and interactive exhibits telling the history of California agriculture. Implements date back to the Gold Rush era and follow California’s evolution from horse-drawn ag machinery to steam-driven and then on to fuel-powered machines. Wander the collection of wheeled and track-type harvesters, tractors, combines, trucks and photo galleries. You’ll even find a Ford Model T roadster converted to a farm tractor.

Museum items with a Stockton connection include an old Samson Sieve-Grip tractor, built in Stockton in the early 1900s, several huge Holt tracked-vehicles, built for the U.S. military in World War I to haul artillery pieces and take the place of horses, killed all too often in action. The huge Holt tractor, armored for wartime, has a number of dents in its armor from bullet strikes.

A monster-sized Best steamer seems almost too large to be true, dwarfing my friends who joined for the tour. A giant Holt harvester (made in Stockton), all of wood and timber with iron fittings, was once hauled through fields with a team of two dozen horses and mules, before steam power would replace the horses.

A display of vintage John Deere tractors, meticulously renovated, lines one long wall; down the center of the museum march a line of a dozen Caterpillar tractors, used both on the farm and in the construction industry. A midsized Fordson tractor, nicknamed the “Snow Devil,” is equipped with spiral-ribbed pontoons, used to navigate deep snows of Donner Pass to haul five tons of mail during winter’s harsh storms.

Museumgoers with kids will find a special play area designed to hearken back to simpler times when child’s play required imagination. Kids can play corn hole, and enjoy the carousel and pedal tractors. A team of docents will tour you through the 45,000-square-foot museum gallery, noting that each tractor, wagon or harvester all have their unique stories.

For more information: The California Agriculture Museum, 1958 Hays Lane, Woodland, (530) 666-9700, http://Californiaagmuseum.org, open Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; San Joaquin Historical Society and Museum, in Micke Grove Park, 11793 N. Micke Grove Road, Lodi, http://sanjoaquinhistory.org, (209) 953-3460, open Wednesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

 

Stockton and other Central Valley cities, best California cities to start a small business

Central Valley Business Times

• It’s ranked fifth in the state, 34th in the nation
• Fresno almost ties with San Francisco

With this being “National Small Business Week” and half of Americans working for small businesses, the personal finance website WalletHub has released its report on “2019’s Best Large Cities to Start a Business.”

WalletHub says it compared 100 U.S. cities across 19 key indicators of startup viability. The data set ranges from five-year business-survival rate to office-space affordability.

Here is WalletHub’s rankings for the California cities itincluded in its report:

• Oakland, 19th nationally
• Irvine, 20th
• Los Angeles

• San Diego, 30th
Stockton, 34th

• Long Beach, 37th
• San Jose, 42nd
• San Francisco, 44th
Fresno, 45th
• Chula Vista, 51st
• San Bernardino, 52nd
• Sacramento, 54th
Bakersfield 56th
• Anaheim, 65th
• Santa Ana, 72nd
• Fremont, 90th

Best vs. Worst
• Toledo, Ohio, has the lowest average annual rent for office space, $11.93 per square foot, which is 6.7 times cheaper than in San Francisco, the city with the highest at $80.22 per square foot.

• Detroit has the lowest labor costs (median annual income), $27,838, which is 4.4 times lower than in Fremont, the city with the highest at $122,191.

• Laredo, Texas, has the lowest cost-of-living index, 77, which is 2.5 times lower than in San Francisco, the city with the highest at 196.

• Miami, Florida, has the most startups per 100,000 residents, 234.72, which is 3.2 times more than in  Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the city with the fewest at 74.40.

For the full report:
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-cities-to-start-abusiness/2281/ – main-findings

https://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/aec4dc6c-c168-4ded-91e8-1694b4ac9461.pdf

Two new restaurants are offering Fresno favorites tri-tip and Armenian food in downtown

Two new restaurants fill Kern Street vacancies

BoxCar Cafe serving sandwiches and tri-tip for lunch and breakfast, opened in the spot vacated by CHARburger on the corner of Kern and L, while GG’s Food Factory will serve Mediterranean and Armenian food, next door at 2139 Kern St.

First came the tri-tip sandwiches. Soon, you’ll be able to get an Armenian favorite: a bread boat filled with a warm cheese and egg mixture.

These items are on the menu at two new restaurants opening on the same corner in downtown Fresno. Both are at the northwest corner of Kern and L streets, part of the Hotel Virginia building.

The first, BoxCar Cafe, opened about a month ago, shortly after its predecessor, CHARburger closed in late March. Keep reading for more about BoxCar.

MEDITERRANEAN FOOD

The newbie restaurant next door is GG’s Food Factory. It opens at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 9 at 2139 Kern St. It’s in the space that Tree of Life left behind when it moved north to 6640 N. Blackstone Ave.

The food here is Mediterranean, with some Armenian favorites and options for people who just want a hamburger or pizza.

That eggy, cheesy concoction? It’s called adjaruli khachapuri, though you can just say egg boat if that’s easier. It’s technically from Georgia (the country next door to Armenia), but is a common dish in Armenia, said Tigran Hovhannisyan, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Ripsime Oganyan.

He recommends tearing off a bit of that dough and dipping it in the warm gooey mixture.

Also on the menu: Plates of barbecued meat like pork ribs, cubes of lamb and chicken lula kabob served with rice pilaf. You can also get a hamburger and a lamb burger, salads and pizza.

A few other dishes on GG’s menu that you won’t find at many other Fresno restaurants? Lahmajoon (an Armenian flatbread smothered in ground beef) and potato pie (technically called piroshki). It looks like a roll, but it’s stuffed with herbed mashed potatoes and then deep fried for a crunchy bite.

If the name GG’s Food Factory sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen the big red food truck of the same name around town. The same couple runs it and many of the dishes sold on the truck will be available at the restaurant.

They’re putting aside the truck for a while to focus on running the restaurant.

“That’s my dream,” Hovhannisyan said. “I’ve been cooking for a long time.”

He owned a restaurant in Armenia before coming to Fresno in 2000. After starting the food truck, customers started asking for something more.

“They keep asking about a restaurant, because they want a sit-down restaurant,” he said.

For the next month or so, GG’s will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

For downtown diners looking for dinnertime options, don’t fret yet. The couple hopes to get there eventually and be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and for lunch and dinner on Saturdays and Sundays.

But they’re also expecting a baby in about a month and between that and opening a new restaurant, they decided to start small and ramp up.

QUICK LUNCH

The BoxCar Cafe at 901 L St. is a quick place to grab lunch. It opened about a month ago.

Its lunch menu has just six options: A cheeseburger, veggie burger, tri-tip sandwich, grilled chicken club, a “ham stack” sandwich and a sourdough Joe made with bacon, Swiss and American cheese with grilled onions on sourdough bread.

It also serves breakfast quesadillas and breakfast sandwiches, though people are still discovering that it’s open for breakfast, said owner Donna Willis.

The restaurant doesn’t have a prominent sign yet, but look for the restaurant that’s right on the corner of Kern and L streets. It is open from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, with breakfast items served until 10:30 a.m.

If the restaurant name BoxCar sounds familiar, it’s probably because you remember the little cafe painted to look like a boxcar on Hamilton Avenue. Most recently it was called Keith’s BoxCar Cafe & Barbecue, though it closed years ago.

Willis opened the first BoxCar on Hamilton before it went through a succession of owners.

https://www.fresnobee.com/living/food-drink/bethany-clough/article230092179.html