Category: Food Processing

Kern County Economic Summit

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AT $10M, BOB SMITTCAMP COMMITS COMMUNITY MEDICAL’S LARGEST CASH GIFT

Image via Clark Construction

Published On February 27, 2018 – 12:30 PM
Written By Gabriel Dillard

Business owner and philanthropist Robert E. Smittcamp has given $10 million to benefit the neuroscience department at Community Medical Centers — representing the largest single cash gift for the Fresno-based health care system, according to hospital officials.

The gift will be used toward recruiting “world class” neurosurgeons; education, training and retention efforts for department nurses and clinicians; new technological advancements and establishing the Central California Neuroscience Institute at Community Regional as a leader in neurological specialties, according to a statement from Katie Zenovich, Community Medical Centers vice president for corporate development and chief development officer.

“We are so grateful to Bob,” Zenovich said. “His leadership in philanthropy will help us do much more to save and improve lives for decades to come.”

Combined with a 2016 gift to Community Medical Centers, the Smittcamp Family Foundation has contributed more than $11 million to the neuroscience program.

The first son of Earl and Muriel Smittcamp, founders of Wawona Frozen Foods, Robert — known around town as Bob — serves as chairman and CEO of food ingredient company Lyons Magnus.

A message Tuesday morning seeking comment from Smittcamp was not returned.

Community Medical Centers released the following statement from Smittcamp:

“We are impressed with the ambitious vision and leadership of Community Medical Centers and their rapid growth over the last decade,” Smittcamp said. “However, additional growth and recruitment of world-class neurosurgeons is still required to ensure the success of this service line. I am hoping this new gift will accelerate the hospital’s plans in this critical service area that affects so many Valley families.”

“I’ve become knowledgeable about Community Medical Centers over the past decade and concluded that it’s the charity where I can make the biggest difference, for the most people, for the greatest number of years,” Smittcamp added. “This is the Valley’s main hospital system, and I hope many others will join me in helping to grow its capabilities.”

Community Regional Medical Center’s Downtown Fresno campus is the home of the Central California Neuroscience Institute.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/10m-bob-smittcamp-commits-community-medicals-largest-cash-gift/

California passes Florida in citrus production

• Florida’s industry devastated by disease

• Florida produced twice as much citrus as California as
recently as 2012

For the first time in 70 years, California has surpassed Florida
in citrus production, according to the University of California,
Davis.
Florida groves have been decimated by a disease called
huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening disease, that threatens
citrus production in California, too.
“HLB is not just bad for farmers and the economy,” says Carolyn
Slupsky, a biochemist and nutritionist with the University of
California, Davis. “The loss of fresh oranges and other citrus is
a real possibility and that would seriously impact our health.”
Ms. Slupsky and other UC Davis experts are working with
farmers and fellow scientists to develop early detection
methods, boost tree immunity and find a cure for the
devastating disease.
California farmers sold nearly 4 million tons of citrus in the
2016-2017 marketing season, compared to 3.5 million tons from
Florida, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Florida
produced twice as much citrus as California as recently as the
2011-2012 season.
Florida didn’t lose its top spot because the Golden State is
producing more citrus. In fact, California farmers produced 14
percent fewer fresh oranges this season.
Citrus greening disease is caused by a bacterium that is spread
by the Asian citrus psyllid, a tiny insect that feeds on the leaves
and stems of citrus trees. A tree infected with HLB can live for
years without symptoms, allowing the pathogen to spread
undetected to other trees. Symptoms emerge over time as a
tree’s fruit starts to turn green and misshapen with a bitter,
metallic taste.
HLB is a global threat. Beyond Florida, the disease has
destroyed groves in Asia, Brazil and the Dominican Republic.
The disease has been spotted in about 250 backyard trees in
Southern California, but so far California’s commercial orchards
— many of which are in the Central Valley — have been spared.
Researchers are hard at work to keep it that way. An
international team of scientists led by UC Davis chemical
ecology expert Walter Leal recently identified the molecule that
attracts the Asian citrus psyllid, which may help researchers
develop a less toxic way to trap the insect to slow the disease’s
spread.
Ms. Slupsky is taking a different tack. She and her team are
using nuclear magnetic resonance technology to study how the
pathogen affects the metabolism of the tree. Her research
shines a light on HLB’s mode of attack.
“The pathogen seems to cause havoc with a tree’s ability to
defend itself from infection,” Ms. Slupsky says. “That’s a
spectacular discovery, because when we understand the
mechanisms behind the attack we have a chance at blocking
them and boosting a tree’s natural immunity.”
Working with Kris Godfrey, an associate project scientist at the
UC Davis Contained Research Facility, and Michelle Heck at
Cornell University, Ms. Slupsky found differences in the
chemical fingerprint of leaves starting very early in the infection
process. With further research, she believes that she can
develop a chemical profile to provide a reliable, rapid and early
indicator of the presence of infection.
“Early detection is key,” Ms. Slupsky says. “If we can catch the
disease early in the infection and get rid of the infected trees,
we can hopefully slow down the spread of HLB enough to give
scientists time to find a cure.”
Breeders are working to develop HLB-resistant rootstock, which
is one of the most promising avenues to a cure. Researchers
are also looking at whether they can transform the psyllid to
prevent its ability to spread HLB. UC Davis plant pathologist
Bryce Falk is leading a search to find and engineer viruses that
can induce traits in the insect that prevent it from transmitting
the bacterium.
Breeding rootstock and engineering viruses takes time. In the
meantime, backyard citrus growers can help keep HLB at bay
by monitoring their trees for signs of psyllids or infection and
removing trees that are infected or near infected trees.
Ms. Slupsky says that together, farmers, gardeners and science
can help save citrus and the nourishment it provides.
“From a nutritional standpoint, it’s hard to beat fresh citrus,” she
says. “Oranges provide energy, fiber and a wide variety of
nutrients, vitamins and minerals. They’re one of the most
consumed fruits in the United States. I can’t imagine life without
fresh citrus.”

http://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/ef5510b4-9300-43a9-a028-80a931c7b1f6.pdf

Gallo in top 100 of ‘Best Places to Work’ for 2018

December 6, 2017

 

E&J Gallo Winery of Modesto was chosen as one of the best places to work in a recent survey.

The winery, founded in 1933, was ranked 14 out of 100 of the “Best Places to Work in 2018” by Glassdoor, a job recruitment company. In 2016, Gallo was ranked 47 out of 50.

Current and former employees give their input about their experience in the workplace, which Glassdoor then compiles. Gallo will be honored with the Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award.

“Our employees continue to be our greatest asset. I am proud of our strong company culture and the commitment of our employees who make Gallo a great place to work,” said Joseph Gallo, president and CEO of E&J Gallo Winery, in a statement. “We are deeply appreciative that our employees and Glassdoor have recognized Gallo as a great employer.”

Gallo is the largest family-owned winery in the world, according to the company, and produces brands such as Barefoot Cellars, Dark Horse, Apothic, Carnivor MacMurray Estate Vineyards and many more. Outside of wine, Gallo creates and markets vodka, gin, brandy and whisky.

“We know today’s job seekers are more informed than ever about where they go to work, researching everything from company culture to career opportunities to pay philosophy and more,” said Robert Hohman, CEO of Glassdoor. “Employers where employees love to work continue to prove that they have a recruiting and business performance advantage.”

Gallo in top 100 of ‘Best Places to Work’ for 2018

 

Three Kings dairies get CDFA methane grants

  • By John Lindt in Hanford Sentinel

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has awarded $35.2 million in grant funding to 18 dairy digester projects across the state. These projects, part of the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from manure on California dairy farms.

Projects approved in Kings County include $3 million to Wreden Ranch near Hanford, $3 million to Hanford-area dairy Cloverdale and Hollandia Farms, also of Hanford, awarded $1.5 million. Each dairy had to put up substantially more for their projects in matching funds.

Dairy manure produces methane when it decomposes. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that traps more than 80 times as much heat in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Dairy digesters help capture methane emissions, which can be used to produce electricity or natural gas.

Each project plans to capture methane emissions from a covered lagoon and transport the gas to a collection point to be converted to biomethane fuel for vehicles. The process turns an airborne pollution problem into a business opportunity.

Kern County leads US in agriculture production for first time

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Kern County tops the U.S. in agriculture according the Kern County Farm Bureau.

In 2016, Kern County produced more than $7.1 billion in agriculture with pistachio production leading the way.

According to the bureau, Kern County had never previously held the top spot in the state, let alone the country.

http://www.kerngoldenempire.com/news/local-news/kern-county-leads-us-in-agriculture-production-for-first-time/814380991

Gallo connecting with Stanislaus, Merced county schools to develop workforce

Central Valley Business Journal
By NORA HESTON TARTE

E&J Gallo works with students to train them in becoming part of its workforce.

MODESTO — E&J Gallo Winery is keeping employment local.

It was 2015 when the Modesto-based business noticed a gap in its workforce. There weren’t enough technical employees in the area to fill its needs. Instead of looking to surrounding communities to hire from, the company created a job-ready program with local schools to train high school graduates in the skills the company needed.

In the two years the program has been up and running, Gallo has hired 17 program participants to work at the winery.

“I learned that if you want a good-paying career you don’t need to leave [the area],” Edwin Valdivia Jacobo, a general winery worker who graduated Ceres High School Manufacturing and Green Technology Academy in 2015, said. “I have one here in my own backyard, and I didn’t even know it.”

“The program has helped area youth become better prepared for the world of work and gain real-life experience working in a manufacturing environment,” said Richard Coffey, Senior Director of Workforce development at Gallo. “The program provides all students with the opportunity to learn lifelong skills that are needed to be successful in the workforce, and, if selected for a paid internship, students are able to gain work experience, further develop their skills and ultimately apply for a position within the winery organization.”

The job readiness and internship program developed naturally out of an existing partnership between Gallo and the Ceres High School Manufacturing Academy.

“[Gallo] has been involved with the academy from its inception when we were approached by the school district to help develop the curriculum and study options as well as providing mentors to the program,” Coffey said.

Julessa Nava Ambriz, a level four operator at Gallo and a 2015 Ceres High Graduate, learned of the job readiness program in high school.

“At first, I shrugged it off, because in high school you’re just naïve about everything,” Ambriz said.

Ambriz asked other workers at Gallo about the program and heard lots of positive feedback. She, along with some friends, decided to apply. Her friends never followed through, but Ambriz did.
“Now I really try to tell others that are still in school to pursue it,” she said. “It has given me an opportunity to have a career and start my career and go to school. I can easily progress through the company with a few years under my belt, and it’s a great feeling knowing that I’m not stuck in one spot.”

After its success, Gallo expanded its offering to other schools to include Modesto City Schools, Ceres Unified, Hughson Unified, Turlock Unified, Patterson Unified, Madera Unified and Merced Unified.

Joining the program has several steps. First, candidates apply through their school district. Then, qualified students are invited to complete a 30-hour after-school program that runs once a week for 10 weeks.

The goal is to turn out students that are job ready by teaching them interview skills, résumé writing, communication skills, conflict resolution, change management and lean principles.

“I learned that teamwork and communication is huge part of being part of a company. They tell you that it is, but you really don’t believe it until you experience it,” Ambriz said.

After the job-readiness program is completed, students can apply for internships at Gallo. Performance during the program, including attendance, is taken into consideration.

At first, internships were only available on the operations side. However, after that proved successful, Gallo began offering internships on the winegrowing side as well, in vineyard operations.

“Interns that successfully complete the program are given the opportunity to interview for positions at the end of the internship,” Coffey said.

After the first year’s success, Gallo began working with Modesto City Schools to identify the different career technical education pathways that provided the technical aptitude and knowledge that best meet the company’s current job needs.

“There are so many different opportunities to move up and so many different career choices from … analysis, to marketing, to mechanic — anything you want to pursue, you can,” said Miguel Ortega, another level four operator who completed the internship program through Ceres High.

Opportunity Stanislaus, a local organization dedicated to supporting economic growth and vitality in the community, is helping, too. They pay for students’ WorkKeys tests, a necessary component of joining the workforce program.

The organization is also working to expand the program’s reach, working alongside Gallo employees to determine future needs and train area students to fill those roles. This will include providing targeted technical and manufacturing training programs to support current Gallo employees, including former interns. All programs are being developed to complement existing programs offered by MJC.

The goal is for Opportunity Stanislaus to be a dot connecter, connecting local job seekers with employees and education through partnerships in the community.

 

 

 

Del Monte Closing Indiana Plant, Shifting Work to California

AP
Sept. 12, 2017

Del Monte Foods plans to close a northern Indiana tomato processing plant with about 100 workers and shift its production to a central California facility.

PLYMOUTH, Ind. (AP) — Del Monte Foods plans to close a northern Indiana tomato processing plant with about 100 workers and shift its production to a central California facility.

The company announced Tuesday it would start layoffs in November as it ceases production at the Plymouth, Indiana, plant that makes ketchup, tomato-based sauces, and juice from concentrate. Warehouse and distribution work is expected to end by February, when the facility will close.

Del Monte says in a state filing that it expects the closing will be permanent.

The company says the closing will align its production capacity with current consumer demand. Production will be shifted to a plant in Hanford, California.

Bay Valley Foods said last month it would be closing its Plymouth facilities, eliminating about 150 jobs.

Madera companies show off

FRESNO

The Madera Tribune
August 5, 2017
by Tyler A. Takeda

More than 1,100 people converged to the Fresno Convention Center’s Exhibit Hall to view more than 140 exhibits at the seventh annual Fresno Food Expo, the largest regional food show in the nation.

Among the 140 exhibitors were 11 from the Madera area, including ENZO Olive Oil Company, which won two awards at the Expo.

“The expo is all about listening to the needs of our exhibitors and making meaningful connections to grow their businesses, expand collaborations and draw focus to celebrate Central California’s thriving food industry,” said David Nalchajian, general manager, Fresno Food Expo. “The synergy experienced this year among exhibiting companies is unlike what we’ve seen before. You’ve heard the reference ‘the seven year itch.’ In the case of the Fresno Food Expo, our seventh year has unleashed opportunity for year-round enrichment for our exhibitors where they’ve been able to immediately utilize tools and put them to work as part of overall growth strategies. The regional food industry, national and international buyers and the public are coming together at an entirely different level, which is both exciting and humbling.”


ENZO, which has a store in Clovis, but grows its olives in Madera County, won the Fred Ruiz Entrepreneurial Award, which honors an innovative Valley-based food or beverage company that demonstrates exemplary leadership and an entrepreneurial spirit, all while being an exceptional community steward. Named in honor of Fred Ruiz, founder of Ruiz Food Products, Inc., this award recognizes companies who have the same vision and qualities that took Ruiz Foods from a small, family start-up to the largest frozen Mexican food manufacturer in the United States. In addition to the award, ENZO will also receive advice and mentoring for a year from Ruiz and a team of food industry professionals.

“Anytime you can win an award with Fred Ruiz’s name attached is an honor and humbling at the same time,” said ENZO co-owner Vincent Ricchuitti. “One of the thing that resonated with him is our energy and our passion. The fact that we’re a family company and have been farming in Madera a long time. We re-invented part of our business to take on this venture. He recognized the challenge in that and saw the passion our family had for this venture.”


ENZO Olive Oil’s Fresno Chili Crush also took second place in the New Product Awards Buyer’s Choice Awards.

“The Fresno Chili Crush is one of our most well-received items we have ever made,” Ricchiuti said. “It’s an exciting night.”

Better Butter
Contact: Mallvinder Kahal, co-founder

Featuring: We’re showcasing our No. 1 product, our Better (almond) Butter. We’re sampling it with bananas and apples to show its versatility. But, we’re also showing the product on its own to show how rich it is.

What has been the response: Taste-wise, everything has been positive, which has boosted our confidence in the product. We’re really happy with the feedback on the product.

Where can people buy your product: Right now, our most successful spot to find us is on Amazon: Kahal Better Butter. We’re working on the local retailers to try to convince them that our product is something they want to carry. This Expo has also showed us how to approach distributors and retailers. We discovered a whole new slew of challenges, but at least we know what the challenges are versus walking in the dark.

Heart Ridge Farms
Contact: Steve Spears, national salesperson

Featuring: We’re pushing our line of seasoned almonds. We grow our own almonds. We have our own European dry roast process for almonds. We have various flavors.

What has been the response: The response from vendors, retailers and buyers has been very favorable. We’re somewhat new as far as having a focus, a more retail business.

Where can people buy your product: We are in the local Von’s stores and various brick-and-mortor stores. In 30-60 days, we will be in the more independent stores from Bakersfield to Stockton and Save Mart.

Cru Winery
Contact: Alexis Sosa-Valentine, tasting room and wine club manager

Featuring: We’re showcasing our pinot noir and chardonney.

What has been the 
response: Everyone loves the wine. They were both big winners at the San Francisco wine competition and big winners at the Expo today.

Where can people buy your product: We are located on Road 21 and Road 21 1/2. Our wine is also at BevMo, Save Mart, Von’s and Total Wine.

Wonderful Agricultural Management
Contact: Wayne Koligian, director of grower relations

Featuring: We are showing people our product and highlighting it. We tell people we manage and develop the land that goes from the farmer to the grocery store shelves.

What has been the response: They really like what we’ve shown. I brought 20 cases of pomegranate juice and it’s already gone. I brought 10 cases of Fiji water and it’s gone. I brought 18 cases of Wonderful Almonds and it’s already gone. We own a total of 30 businesses.

Riley’s Brew
Contact: Dan Riley, owner

Featuring: We’re showing off our Sancha, Cougar, Catching up IPA, California Mike Stout, two seasonals — mango sancha and Hammered. We have our gin, vodka, hard root beer, hard vanilla, hard orange and hard ginger. That’s all we brought.

What has been the response: Very good. People are enjoying it. It’s a win-win. People like it.

Where can people buy your product: We’re in Food Maxx and Save mart. We have our Riley’s Brew Pub on Temperance and Alluvial.

Rosenthal Olive Ranch
Contact: Kevin Rosenthal, owner.

Featuring: We’re showing off all of our flavored olive oils, our extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegar.

What has been the response: We’ve gotten an overwhelming response over everything, especially our garlic olive oil.

Where can people buy your product: We are at The Market at Herndon and West, Sumner Peck Fruit Stand and they also use it exclusively at The Vineyard Restaurant and our ranch, Avenue 9 between Road 29 and 29 1/2.

San Joaquin Wine Company

Featuring: All of the wines available.

Sierra Valley Almonds
Contact: Kurt Friedenbach, sales and marketing

Featuring: We are featuring our new blanche line and flour. Blanche is where you take the almonds and take the skins off. They use it for confectionery.

What has been the response: We mainly serve the industry rather than retail. Today is mainly about some buyers that come into Fresno.

ENZO Olive Oil Company
Contact: Vincent Ricchuiti, co-owner

Featuring: We’re featuring our entire line.

What has been the response: The Fresno Chili Crush really wows everyone. It’s really versatile. It may be the only Fresno chili olive oil made.

Where can people buy your product: We have our own store in Clovis (Shepherd and Willow), Save Mart, Von’s, Sierra Nut House, Sam’s Deli and a lot of places.

Barnett Meats
Contact: Jason Barnett, owner

Featuring: Our seasoned tri-tips that are in the grocery store, as well as our deli and grocery store in Oakhurst. We did 2,000 samples last year. It went great. We were way too busy to do it this week.

What has been the response: We had them hooked and sold it. Now they are furious. The problem was getting down here for the show. We’ve been so busy, it’s ridiculous.

Where can people buy your product: Two Von’s in Clovis, two Von’s in Fresno, Pack-N-Save in Madera, Von’s in Oakhurst as well as our deli in Oakhurst.