Three new brewers set their sights on Downtown Fresno

Central California

February 10, 2017
Written by Valerie Shelton

A trio of new brewers are looking to locate production of craft beer to Downtown Fresno, joining trailblazer Tioga-Sequoia.A trio of new brewers are looking to locate production of craft beer to Downtown Fresno, joining trailblazer Tioga-Sequoia.With revitalization efforts well underway in Downtown Fresno, and the success of long-time local breweries Tioga-Sequoia and Full Circle Brewing, other brewers are getting ready to plant their flag near new Fulton Street and revolutionize the area.

Already on tap for some time, Sanger brewery House of Pendragon, which has a popular tasting room in Clovis, is teaming up with Visalia restaurant and gastropub Pita Kabob to bring HoP/PK to an old two-story sports bar located at 820 Van Ness Ave. After more than a year of renovation, the long-awaited 32-tap bar and Mediterranean restaurant is finally set to open by June.

While excitement mounts for HoP/PK, three brand new breweries have also announced plans to establish roots in Downtown Fresno this year.

In January, Border Hop Brewing signed a lease on a 9,600 square-foot building at 721 Broadway St. in the South Stadium District. And just down the street, at 411 Broadway St., another business has signed on to bring a brewery and the city’s first craft distillery under the company name 411 Broadway Ales and Spirits. A third operation, Zack’s Brewing, is currently assessing a property a mile and a half away in the Mural District.

Meanwhile, Downtown Fresno’s two existing breweries are gearing up for expansion. Tioga-Sequoia recently acquired the 14,000 square-foot Amvets building on Inyo and Broadway streets next to its current beer garden and taproom on 745 Fulton St. And under new ownership, Full Circle Brewing is planning to expand its beer selection and production with hopes to bring bottles to local stores.

These stirring plans are just the beginning according to Downtown Fresno Partnership President and CEO Aaron Blair.

“The craft beer industry is starting to boom in Downtown Fresno, and this is a very important part of our success,” Blair said. “They contribute to place making, are growth-oriented exporters and attract tourists. Craft beer is the perfect fit for the ever-changing downtown culture and creative spirit.”

Tioga-Sequoia — the trailblazer

Home of the General Sherman IPA, 99 Golden Ale, and other beers featuring a local moniker, Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co.’s beer garden has been a popular downtown hangout since 2010. A great place to grab a cold one after a Grizzlies game, the brewery’s outdoor patio has been known to draw hundreds, and even thousands, of craft beer enthusiasts downtown to events like FresYes Fest.

With an additional 14,000 square-foot building at its disposal, Tioga-Sequoia Marketing Manager Michael Cruz said the brewery plans to enhance its current beer garden and ramp up its production.

Currently, Cruz said, Tioga-Sequoia produces close to 9,000 barrels annually, but theoretically, Tioga-Sequoia now has the capacity to produce upwards of 40,000 barrels.

“The top 50 breweries in the country are producing around 80,000 barrels, so this is significant,” Cruz said. “Of course, capacity is one thing and being able to sell that much is another.”

Phase one of expansion plans, Cruz said, is to move all production and storage into the new facility, creating more space for guests at the beer garden. New tanks and upgraded equipment will also be added to steadily increase production, while the beer garden will get a facelift with upgraded aesthetics, such as façade improvements.

Moving into phase two, Cruz said Tioga-Sequoia plans to continue adding tanks and upgrading equipment, and there is a possibility an indoor tasting room could be added for special events. In the beer garden, he said, phase two will come after purchasing the property or renegotiating the lease. The hope, he said, is to add permanent restroom facilities, a pergola, heaters/coolers, misters and other more permanent changes.

In stretching its downtown roots, Cruz said Tioga-Sequoia wants to continue bringing attention to Fresno.

“It was a conscious decision to plant our flag here. Now we want to grow our roots even deeper and help aid the cause of downtown by being a beacon for change,” Cruz said.

Cruz said Tioga-Sequoia is happy to see other breweries choosing to set up shop downtown as well.

“Breweries get along well together,” Cruz said. “The best part is we all know each other. These are local brewers, not big out-of-town brewers who don’t understand the culture, so I think our businesses will all be successful downtown as we support one another.”

An old favorite comes Full Circle

Arthur Moye, one of the new co-owners of Downtown Fresno’s oldest modern brewpub, Full Circle Brewing Co., which first opened its doors in an 8,700 square-foot warehouse on F Street in 2000, said he too is excited to see new breweries headed downtown.

“Revitalization is all about the density of stuff to do, and if there is cool stuff going on in close proximity to Full Circle and more people coming downtown, that is good for us,” Moye said, adding that he envisions an original craft beer community in Fresno that can sustain around 30 breweries.

As others breweries get established downtown, Moye said Full Circle Brewing is focusing on broadening its influence in the craft beer community by bottling its beers to sell in Central Valley liquor stores. To make this possible, three tanks are being added to the Full Circle Brewing system.

Most likely, bottled selections will include Full Circle’s keynote, the Juicy Northeastern IPA, and its flagship Cluster Fuggle Cream Ale, and one rotating seasonal beer.

$1 Billion Neighborhood

Central California

March 31, 2017
Manteca Bulletin
Dennis Wyatt

The 209’s most unique — and what could become the most prestigious — residential address will become available this spring.

River Islands at Lathrop plans to sell the first of 990 lots set aside for custom executive-style homes overlooking the San Joaquin River, Paradise Cut, and the Old River that will also back up to an 18-mile greenbelt park along the water’s edge encircling the 11,000-home planned community.

Lots will range in size from 8,000 to 20,000 square feet and will start at $200,000. To put that in perspective if all of the lots were to sell for $200,000 regardless of size or factoring in inflation over the years it takes for all to be sold, it represents $198 million in land sales alone.

And given the expectations the homes will all exceed $1 million, River Islands will one day be ringed by $1 billion worth of homes.

River Islands Project Manager Susan Dell’Osso indicated initial plans will be to develop 65 lots with no more than 10 lots ever being offered at one time. River Islands is likely to roll out the lots in conjunction with various phases over the community’s projected 20-year buildout.

Dell’Osso said the lots will be offered for a period of a month or so to the 250 people that are on an interest list before they are made available to the general buying public.

When completed it will be the largest concentration of executive-style homes in the Great Central Valley if not Northern California outside of well-to-do enclaves such as Atherton when it is based on housing style and not simply price. There are $1 million homes in San Jose, as an example, that are previously owned KB tract homes that have been closing escrow as well as 60-year-old flattops with less than 1,800 square feet in Marin County.

The homes on the River Islands custom lots will be at least three times the median home value in Lathrop ($357,000) and Manteca ($345,000). To get a financially comparable property in the Bay Area it would have to sell for more than $3 million.

There is nowhere in the Central Valley where you can buy a home site next to a river that overlooks it. That’s because other locations where homes are sold next to the river have their view blocked by towering levees. The custom home sites at River Islands are on top of 300-foot wide super levees — at least six times wider than a typical levee. They have been certified to withstand the maximum flood that the Army Corps of Engineers rate levees for which is a 200-year flood or an event that has a 1 in 200 chance of happening in any given year.

Dell’Osso said the state is in the final stages of reviewing plans for the greenbelt looping River Islands. Besides a path suitable for bicycling, walking, and jogging plans call for exercise par courses throughout as well as planting native shrubs and vegetation.

It will also be universally accessible meaning anyone including non-River Islands residents can use the greenbelt. It also could end up with one — or no — interruptions. Last year River Islands modified the original design for the main entrance via the new bridge across the San Joaquin River so that the greenbelt trail would be connected by a bridge that is now in place across the four-lane road.

The current access road from Manthey Road will eventually be closed eliminating that disruption in the loop trail. The future western access to River Islands may also have a bridge across it to allow the entire trail not to have to cross a road.

That is something that the valley’s existing premier urban riverside trail — the American River Parkway in Sacramento — can’t claim.

To get an idea how far the 18 mile River Island loop trail would be, it is 18.5 miles from downtown Manteca to downtown Modesto.

While the exact name of the trail hasn’t been selected, Dell’Osso said it will be named after Lathrop’s quintessential couple — Bennie and Joyce Gatto.

Almonds from Escalon fuel NASCAR driver

Central California 

Published 4/12/17
Modesto Bee
BY JOHN HOLLAND

A longtime almond processor has launched a snack label aimed in part at motorsports fans. And it is sponsoring a stock car racer who is among the rising stars.

Nut Up, an offshoot of the Roche family’s four-generation business, has 10 flavors of chopped almonds in 1.5-ounce bags available at many grocery stores. It is promoting them with the help of Dylan Lupton, a Sacramento-area product racing on the NASCAR Xfinity circuit this year.

He said by phone Thursday that the nuts are part of a healthy diet that helps him endure the rigors of his sport, including 130-degree-plus temperatures inside his fireproof suit.

“These NASCAR races are pretty grueling,” Lupton said. “You have to be very conscious of what you fuel your body with.”

The Nut Up logo on his suit and car will be the most prominent among his sponsors for at least some of this year’s races, he said. Nut Up also is working with motocross and other motorcycling events.

The new products come from Roche Brothers International Family Nut Co., on Jones Road east of Escalon. President Joey Roche, who long has supported motorsports, partnered on the venture with almond broker Brad Klump.

“In the racing community, there’s not a lot of healthy snacks, so the kids need it,” Roche said during a tour of the plant Wednesday.

Roche Brothers employs about 140 people year-round at the plant and in the orchards. Most of its 20 million or so pounds of annual volume is basic products for the world market. A small part goes to Nut Up, the company’s first retail brand.

The almonds come in garlic-parmesan, ranch, lemon, barbecue, cinnamon toast, salted caramel, Caribbean jerk and a few other choices.

Nut Up also has almond butter in plain, salted caramel and cinnamon toast versions, along with almond flour and meal for cooking.

The products are at Save Mart, Food Maxx, Cost Less, O’Brien’s and a few other grocers. In-Shape fitness centers around the state sell them. So do the Ace hardware stores in Escalon and Oakdale, and the Menard’s hardware chain in the Midwest.

The nuts can be bought online at www.nutupindustries.com.

The sweet ones can be an ice cream topping and the savory ones can go on salads, Operations Manager Haily Azevedo said on the tour. She also suggested rubbing Caribbean jerk almonds onto chicken.

Or, the snack bags can just be part of the meal plan for a family headed to the racetrack.

“We needed to get the younger kids to try almonds,” Roche said. “It’s cool to eat almonds.”

Bronco Wine expansion, with 30 new jobs, wins support

Central California

 May 5, 2017
Modesto Bee
By John Holland

Bronco Wine Co. got support Thursday night for a major expansion at its headquarters south of Ceres — and praise for a notable product.

The Stanislaus County Planning Commission voted 7-0 for a rezoning that will ease the way for new warehouse and office space. The Board of Supervisors will make the final decision on the plan, expected to create about 30 jobs at the Keyes Road site.

Bronco markets its wines under dozens of labels and also sells bulk wine to other producers. It is best known for Charles Shaw, which first sold for $1.99 at Trader Joe’s stores and came to be known as Two Buck Chuck. It’s now up to $2.99.

Commissioner Katherine Borges recalled that a 2005 version was named best chardonnay at the California State Fair. It competed against about 350 higher-priced bottles.

Borges suggested that Bronco add a tasting room, but company representative Dan Leonard said that is not in the plan.

“It’s a production facility supporting ag, supporting grapes,” said Leonard, a vice president and treasurer.

Bronco, founded in 1974, is one of the nation’s largest wine producers. The Keyes Road site does crushing, fermenting, aging and bottling of a large part of its volume. About 325 people work there year-round, and seasonal employees can bring the total to 550.

Leonard declined to say how much the expansion will cost. The first phase, taking up to five years, includes a 120,000-square-foot warehouse that is part of an eventual 613,000 square feet of new storage. This phase also involves two spurs from the Union Pacific Railroad line next to the site, which Leonard said would cut down on truck traffic.

Bronco plans to move into the later phases as wine sales grow. They include 81,000 square feet for offices and other space for training and other needs.

Dust Bowl Brewing Company Extends Distribution in California

Central California

Published  February 13, 2017

Dust Bowl Brewing Company recently signed with Premium Beverage Company, expanding the growing brewery’s distribution into California’s Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties.

Founded in 2005, Premium Beverage is based in Salinas, California and distributes domestic, craft and imported beers along with ciders and an extensive portfolio of non-alcoholic products. Premium Beverage services all major chains, independent grocers, restaurants, liquor stores and convenience stores. Dust Bowl Brewing Co. joins other leading craft brands including Rogue, Shiner and Trumer to name a few.

“Now that we are fully operational in our new brewery, we are poised to grow our distribution. Our ability to brew significantly more beer allows us to aggressively pursue new territories as we navigate the competitive craft beer industry,” shares founder, Brett Tate. “Premium Beverage Company shares our same commitment to superior customer service and is aligned with our growth strategy. The timing is ideal.”

“We’re excited to add Dust Bowl Brewing Company to our portfolio,” adds John Holt, President, Premium Beverage Co. “The Central Valley brewery has experienced impressive sales growth since its inception in 2009 and is committed to expanding their product offering even more in 2017. Their brand recognition is on the rise, they produce quality beer and they’re clearly invested in the future. Dust Bowl is an excellent fit with our craft beer model.”

Dust Bowl Brewing Co. produces a wide range of draft beer along with a portfolio of year-around and limited-release bottled products. The company opened its new brewery, located in Turlock, California, in June 2016 and plans to produce 15,000-20,000 barrels in the first year, compared to 5,000 barrels in 2015.

In addition to Premium Beverage Company, Dust Bowl Brewing Co. currently has six other distributors: Delta Sierra Beverage covers the California Central Valley, Mussetter Distributing handles the Sacramento region, Delta Pacific covers the Fresno region, Morris Distributing handles San Francisco and the North Bay, Bay Area Distributing services Contra Costa and Alameda counties and Barone Distribution covers the state of Nevada.

Current expansion plans include further south down the Central Coast, Southern California and into the Pacific Northwest.

Dust Bowl Brewing Company produced its first beer in May 2009. The Company forecasts 15,000-20,000 barrels annual production. Dust Bowl Brewing Company beers are available in 5 and 15.5 gallon kegs along with selected styles in 22oz. and 12oz. bottles. Distribution includes Central and Northern California, Nevada and Vermont. The craft brewery showcases a wide variety of its beers at its two Turlock, Calif. taproom locations, Brewery Taproom and Downtown Taproom. More information may be found at www.dustbowlbrewing.com.

Which comes first, the chicken, the egg or the egg-production facility?

Central California
It will be the largest egg-production facility Kern County has ever seen, housing more than 3 million chickens and at its peak, producing more than 36 million eggs per month. And all done 100 percent cage-free. Already under construction on Gun Club Road, northwest of Wasco, the facility developed by Central Valley Eggs LLC will be massive, totaling more than 700,000 square feet.

Manufacturer sells low-flow innovation

Central California

March 2, 2017
Central Valley Business Journal
By SIM RISSO

It’s not uncommon to hear about the decline of American manufacturing, but one Central Valley Company is building its business making water-efficient showerheads with made-in-California parts.

High Sierra Showerheads works with California vendors, including a screw manufacturer in Merced, to make low-flow showerheads.

“Most folks are willing to pay more for a product that’s made here and innovative,” said the company’s owner, David Malcolm. “If you’re going to charge twice as much, it better work twice as good. That’s kind of how our showerheads work.

Malcolm has been making showerheads since 2010, but the company really took off in 2015, when High Sierra Showerheads landed a contract to supply all the showerheads for correctional institutions in California. The U.S. Air Force Academy, Yale University, Purdue University and the Fresno Housing Authority also use High Sierra Showerheads to outfit their operations.

Malcolm said his company has solved one of the biggest complaints about low-flow showerheads: lower water pressure and the tendency to clog.

Most low-flow showerheads are designed as a large diameter disc with lots of nozzles. But High Sierra showerheads are fashioned as a smaller nozzle with only one large opening. That larger opening allows for more water pressure even with a lower flow. It also produces less clogging.

“We are limited to the amount of water per showerhead,” Malcolm said. “When you have too many nozzles, your flow per nozzle is going to be very low, and it probably won’t be coming out with much pressure.”

In California, showerheads are limited to two gallons per minute, while High Sierra’s showerheads use 1.5 to 1.8 gallons per minute.

High Sierra’s innovation in the industry caught the attention of the Environmental Protection Agency. In 2016, the agency awarded the company the U.S. EPA WaterSense Excellence Award for its work retrofitting more than 6,000 showerheads in California correctional facilities.

High Sierra’s low-flow showerheads are projected to save the state more than 385 million gallons of water annually.

“There are hundreds of applicants, and we were one of a few that got it,” Malcolm said of the award. “It gives us some credibility because we are a small company. Not too many people had heard of us. But when they find us and see we received this prestigious award, this national award, it helps give us some credibility.”

Malcolm took over his father’s business developing sprinkler heads for golf courses and agricultural irrigation in 1992. One of the golf course superintendents was looking for a nozzle that could be attached to a hose to hit hotspots on putting greens. Malcolm set out to design a nozzle that produced an even spray.

After many attempts, Malcolm came up with a solution by accident. He inserted a pin at the top and put a conical orifice plate, which is concave, over the top of it. He found the pin didn’t break the stream but divided it into two streams. The conical orifice cupped the two streams back together, which caused them to collide. That collision of the two streams produced an even spray of large droplets.

In addition to showerheads, High Sierra also produces the Reflections mirror, which the company sells as a shaving mirror. It is an aluminum disc with a mirror finish that attaches to the showerhead.

“It’s a 100 percent fog-free mirror,” said Malcolm. “It doesn’t require any kind of coating on it. It’s just the heat from the water flowing to the showerhead heats it up, keeps it hotter than the surrounding air, and that prevents it from fogging.”

High Sierra’s products are available on its website and through Amazon.com. Products range include handheld heads, classic showerheads and the Reflections mirror.

Sales have soared thanks to the drought and the increased emphasis on saving. In 2014, High Sierra sold 10,000 showerheads. In 2016, the company sold more than 30,000.

The company has six full-time employees. Malcolm would like to see sales continue to increase and to get a bigger piece of the market.

“We get a piece of the pie now, and it’s enough to provide a good living for me and my family, but I really would like it to get much larger,” said Malcolm. “Instead of $1 million plus in sales, I’d like to see it get to $5-10 million, and I really do believe it can.”

Tour gives glimpse of job-training center planned for Modesto Bee building

Central California

MARCH 1, 2017
The Modesto Bee
By Nan Austin

Cutting-edge plans will breathe new life into the cavernous facility that once printed 95,000 Modesto Bee newspapers a day. But the goal of helping develop the region through information and education continues.

A tour given Tuesday in the industrial back half of the old Bee building – an area speakers described as part aircraft hangar, part prison block – laid out a vision for a flexible training facility geared to supply ready workers for waiting jobs.

Opportunity Stanislaus, an economic development nonprofit, will run business-driven technical training classes. The Stanislaus County Office of Education will hold classes and workforce training through its Come Back Kids charter for adults who dropped out of high school. Around 600 adults attend the school.

A daycare facility is planned for the front of the building, serving trainees’ children while training future preschool workers. The old “Beestro” cafe on the second floor may one day provide a culinary arts classroom, said Scott Kuykendall, SCOE’s head of educational options.

The McClatchy Co. built the building in the 1950s, but sold it in 2011 and leases roughly a quarter of it for Modesto Bee offices and newsroom. The Bee expects to move to another Modesto location this summer.

SCOE, based a block away on H Street, bought the blue-tiled building at 1100 H St. and a nearby parking lot for $6.9 million from 1325 H Street LLC of Hanford. Renovation on the back half of the building will start in August, with classes expected to begin in the fall.

Opportunity Stanislaus is leasing much of what used to house the two-story press, ad-insertion area and newsprint storage. The property has back bays designed for truck loading, and a forklift-carrying elevator rises to the second story. Its 600 amps running downstairs and 400 upstairs can power any number of assembly-line training scenarios.

Standing on a concrete floor built 5 feet thick to hold the press, project manager Jim Mortensen said that for 30 years different efforts had been made in the region to train workers. The time is ripe and the need is great, he told assembled business leaders and educators.

“We need a younger generation to just keep the businesses we have, let alone expand. You’re not going to bring anybody to town when they say, ‘Well, what have you got for skilled labor?’ We don’t. We’re scalping from each other,” Mortensen said. “This is the opportunity we have.”

The VOLT Institute, as Opportunity Stanislaus has named its project, hopes to train 250 students a year, explained Dave White of Opportunity Stanislaus. VOLT stands for Valley Occupational and Learning Technical Institute.

The training sessions will have three parts, he said. The first is two weeks of business “boot camp,” teaching things such as arriving on time and staying off cell phones, that will also act as an employer-screening process. The second will be three weeks of training with tools and basic systems. The third phase will be 10 to 12 weeks of intensive training on specific skills employers have identified as a need.

“When we look back 20 years from now, and we think of all the lives it has touched, all the people who will be going to this center when it’s fully up and running, to gain vocation skills that are absolutely critical to their futures,” said business advisory committee member Rich Coffey. “Also 20 years out from now, we’ll look back at all the business in this area here and all the economic development that will come by way of having a dedicated vocational training center.”

10 things to know – and love – about Fresno

Central California

Posted 4/14/2017 by Bill McEwen
Fresno County
By Bill McEwen

The New York Times put together a quick piece on Fresno this week, pointing out that our town is one of the most affordable places to live in the country.

The story went on to say “the Central Valley’s biggest city has sometimes gotten a bad rap from outsiders. … but to many residents, the problems are no worse than those of other California cities.”

Told about the good ink, Fresno Mayor Lee Brand sounded like Sally Field accepting the 1984 Academy Award for her leading role in “Places in the Heart.”

Brand didn’t actually say “The New York Times loves us!” but he came darn close: “To have the ‘New York Times tell the world about ‘Reasons to Love Fresno’ is something that should make us all proud.”

Along with affordability, The Times cited Fresno’s mid-California location, lively arts scene, CSU campus, abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, growing tech economy and potential link to San Francisco and Los Angeles via “the new bullet train.”

That’s just the tip of the iceberg – not that Fresno has any of those. Here are other tidbits and opinions about the city where six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald was raised:

1. If you are thinking of moving to Fresno and like what you see, odds are greater you will land in Clovis next door. While Fresno is America’s 34th largest city with a population of 520,052 and has grown 5.13 percent since the 2010 census, Clovis – the nation’s 287th largest city – has grown nearly 9 percent since 2010. Its population is 104,180.

2. Fresno politics are complicated by water (more specifically by the lack of sufficient supplies to completely irrigate the fertile soil surrounding the city.) Thus if you want to hold your own in any debate, you best bone up on the delta smelt, the Endangered Species Act, subsidence, and the water pumps in the Delta north of Fresno. Then read “Cadillac Desert” for good measure.

Don’t believe – even for a second – that saying “why don’t the farmers, the environmentalists and the regulators all get in the same room and work something out?” will win you a Nobel Peace Prize. Folks have been saying that for 50 years, and it’s never happened.

3. Keeping with politics: Although Fresno County is one of the most conservative places in California, it has more registered Democrats than Republicans. So color us purple. Whether conservative or liberal, many Fresnans gravitate to the extremes. If you are a moderate, expect to hear someone call you “a spineless sellout.”

4. Are tacos your favorite food? Then get-to ASAP. We have the best tacos on the planet. That’s my assessment, anyway, and a good place to start feasting is at La Elegante, a Food Network favorite.

Another smart bet is El Premio Mayor, two-time defending champion of the annual TacoTruck Throwdown. Alton Brown, of the “Eat Your Science” and “Edible Inevitable” tours, threw some love El Premio Mayor’s way last month.

5. As everyone who parachutes in and writes about Fresno observes, it’s just a few hours away from the beach, the mountains, Los Angeles and San Francisco. But you don’t have to leave Fresno to have a good time.

The Save Mart Center hosts the biggest names in music – think Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Blake Shelton, Selena Gomez, Bruno Mars – and the city has many smaller music venues. Like other cities its size, Fresno has a symphony orchestra and a regular schedule of touring Broadway shows.

Fresno also has Good Company Players, a theater company that has entertained people and graduated young performers to Hollywood and Broadway since 1973. It represents the spirit of Fresno at its best. Evidence of that comes from these two sentences on the Good Company Players website:

“We believe that the performing arts keeps us civilized; teaching us to think and express ourselves coherently, to hear and respect other perspectives, to appreciate beauty and live a little more compassionately. We believe that theatre is a team sport and unites performers, technicians, writers and audience members at every performance in a common goal – to understand humanity a little better.”

6. Interested in wine-making as a career? Enroll at Fresno State. Its viticulture and enology students learn their craft on a campus with a 140-acre vineyard and bonded winery. And the university’s graduates occupy top positions in the industry throughout the country and the world.

Think about how a conversation might go:

“Well, young lady, how’s college going?”

“Really well.”

“And what are you studying – economics, psychology, business, engineering?”

“I am going for my master’s in enology.

“What in tarnation is that, some kind of liberal studies program?”

“It’s wine-making.”

“Let me know when you’re done and I’ll buy the first case.”

7. From the end of February to the middle of March, the Blossom Trail erupts in colors that will simultaneously excite and soothe you. The beautifully manicured orchards are a photographer’s dream.

People come from all over California and points well beyond to see the white citrus, plum, apple and almond blossoms, and the pink peach, apricot and nectarine blossoms. Bike it or drive it. Either way, you’ll have a great time.

8. Sooner or later, someone will bring up crime and paint Fresno as the homicide capital of America. The reality is that Fresno’s crime rate is similar to most big cities in California.

Central Valley’s largest cities fairly good places to start a business

Central Valley

Posted 5/1/2017
by Central Valley Business Times

•  Fresno in top third of cities studied

•  Bakersfield, Stockton close behind

Among the nation’s 150 largest cities, Central Valley cities are fairly good places to start a business, suggests a new study by the personal-finance website WalletHub, a unit of Evolution Finance Inc., of Washington, D.C.

The study ranks Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, as the best location, followed by Salt Lake City, Utah; Charlotte, North Carolina; Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The bottom five have Seattle at 150th and then Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Vancouver, Washington; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Providence, Rhode Island.

The Central Valley, so often at the bottom of such “best places” lists, actually does middling well, according to WalletHub.

When it comes to starting a business, Fresno ranks 45th overall, followed by Bakersfield at 52nd and Stockton at 69th. Sacramento comes in at 114th out of 150.

Fresno, Bakersfield and Stockton are ranked second, third and fourth in the nation for “highest availability of human capital,” a positive in the WalletHub calculations.