I didn’t grow up on a farm. My dad busted his knuckles on cars and heavy equipment to feed us. Often the viewpoints I share here are from my perch as a consumer with the good fortune to know farmers who trust me enough to share how and why they farm.
On the tables at a recent meeting I attended were small baskets of snack items – Smokehouse Almonds from Blue Diamond, plus small, 60-calorie packs of pitted California prunes by Sunsweet. While the almond offering has been a common snack item for me for many years, the prunes were completely new – particularly in this presentation.
I recently interviewed Matt Bozzo, a northern California prune grower who ships fruit to Sunsweet. Part of our discussion centered on the marketing efforts of Sunsweet and the California Dried Plum Board – a conversation I also had with CDPB Executive Director Donn Zea when I first wanted to interview a prune farmer.
Speaking personally as a consumer, sampling snack items is not always easy. Attending events can help. The small bags of pitted prunes on the table were an easy item to sample as were the almonds.
Ever since Blue Diamond’s push decades ago to make almonds a 'go-to' snack, I’m sure consumers have little excuse these days to avoid the tasty tree nut, other than perhaps personal preference. Almonds are everywhere, from snack items to sliced-and-diced ingredients. Aside from Blue Diamond’s marketing efforts with its genesis in the “can-a-week” campaign, the Almond Board of California deserves credit for boosting global almond consumption.
As one who writes about California commodities and what's involved in the production of fruit, fiber, vegetables and nuts, it’s fascinating to find the different ways how the crops we write about are provided to consumers. Again, some of it is widely known and almost expected, but for products that haven’t typically been part of my personal diet it’s fun to find products I've covered from a farming perspective.
For others it’s interesting to learn new ways to incorporate products already in my kitchen pantry, as was the case recently when I interviewed an olive grower and processor. You’ll see that story in an upcoming issue of Western Farm Press.