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Nation’s raisin capitol celebrates California Raisin Day

The Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market celebrated California Raisin Day on Friday.

Shoppers began to roam the store at 11a.m. trying samples of different raisins.

“As you can see there are different varieties here,” said Melinda McAllister of of the California Raisin Marketing Board. “Fresno State has scarlet royal, autumn royal, princess, selma pete, sweet scarlet, flame raisins, you name it, they have quite a few.”

She said the raisins go trough the process of being dried by the sun and once they have a particular sugar level then they are harvested and picked up off the ground. They then go through thorough a washing process and then are packaged.

The Central Valley is the raisin capital of the world, with approximately 350,000 tons harvested annually within a 60 mile radius of Fresno, according to the Cal Raisins website.

Raisin Day is in its infancy since this is only the second year the event has taken place – which explains why many shoppers were unaware of this newly celebrated day.

“I came here for the pepperoni sticks – which they were out of today – but I ended up getting chocolate milk, cherries and raisins,” said Tom Licouris, a local customer.

Every customer seemed to have their particular favorites from the farm market, but one thing they all said they loved was the Fresno State ice cream.

“Try out the ice cream because it is awesome; mint chip is one of my favorites,” said Marcos Ponce, a food science major at Fresno State, who came to pick up some wine.

Everything sold in the market is produced by Fresno State students and varies on the season.

“We sell all Fresno State produce,” said Miles Robinson, an agricultural education major at Fresno State. “We sell oranges, strawberries, cherries, squash, peppers. It all depends on the season.”

The farm market seeks to attract the community with events that benefit Fresno State and the community as a whole.

“Every month we try to do a special event,”Robinson said. “Last month was National Poultry Day and the month before was National Pistachio Day. The biggest event of the summer is coming up and that’s our corn launch in the next couple of months.”

The farm market even attracts people from out of town.

“We stopped here one time before when our kids told us where it was,” said Mike Haskell, here visiting his grandchild from Asheville, North Carolina. “It’s good fresh produce, great prices, that’s all done by the students.”

The Gibson Farm Market is located east of campus at 5368 N. Chestnut Avenue.