More about the California Raisin Industry

The Raisin Administrative Committee (RAC) is a federal marketing order, led by 47 growers, packers and a member of the public.  The RAC is directly overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture and was created in 1949 as a result of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937.

For over 25 years the RAC has promoted California Raisins to both the trade and consumer via a wide range of marketing activities.

RAC UK supports the trade with product development and new product ideas to explore the opportunities offered by the increasingly health-conscious attitudes of today’s consumers.

The California Raisin Industry produces an annual total of approximately 300,000 tons, in an area within a 60-mile radius of Fresno, California – known as the central San Joaquin Valley.

Two-thirds of the U.S. production is consumed in the U.S. and Canada, while one-third is exported to nearly 50 countries.  Japan and the United Kingdom are the top two export markets.

 

Where do California Raisins Come From?

It’s a little more complicated than simply saying ‘California’.  The San Joaquin Valley produces 12.8% of the United States’ agricultural production and is often referred to as ‘the salad bowl’ of America.

Seen from space, the San Joaquin is a 240 mile long by 50 mile wide valley lying between the Sierra Mountains and the Western Coastal Ranges.  Around 60 million years ago, the San Joaquin Valley was flooded with ocean water.  However, 2 million years ago the exit to the sea was cut off as sea levels declined and the valley became a fresh water lake.  Sediments then built up over the next generations, the lake became shallower and shallower until it eventually dried up.   The remaining thick layers of nutrient-rich sediments produced soil which is light coloured and rich in potash, resulting in the San Joaquin Valley becoming one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions.

During the summer months, temperatures in the San Joaquin area can reach 44C (110F) and the vines are continually fed by a complex irrigation system of pure mountain water.
This unique combination of quality soil, irrigation and consistent drying conditions all combine to produce the highest quality raisins from California, eaten in over 100 countries worldwide.

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