Greetings and salutations!
This blog post is coming to you live from Monterey, California a mere 3 hours drive from Kingsburg, world headquarters of Sun-Maid Raisin!
I know there are different varietals of grapes, but I never considered there were different varietals of raisins. What I've learned about this week: There are currants (tiny, seedless black raisins), Thompsons (also known as sultanas and make chefs charge an extra $8 on menus), and muscats (very large, sweet black raisins). I know there are more, but those are the ones I sampled at the store.
The main raisin crop in the San Joaquin Valley is made from Thompson Seedless Grapes, which was introduced in 1876 by William Thompson, a Scottish Immigrant living in Sacramento. Golden raisins are made from these, too. The first Sun-Maid plant was located in Fresno, 20 minutes away from the current location in Kingsburg. The air is sweet and ripe with the scent of raisins.
I have to be honest: I don't care for raisins. Their texture is squidgy and I have to be hard-pressed to eat them. I would always give my little box of raisins away if they were in my lunch when I was a kid. I DO know that raisins are fat-free, cholesterol-free, a good source of fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, and other vitamins, too.
I may have to change my stance on raisins though, I found some Jordan raisins and they had samples of them in the store. I nearly ate the whole tray of samples. I felt compelled to buy them. And that's exactly what I did. And look...