- About Us
Sun-dried grapes, or raisins, have been grown and eaten for thousands of years. California is now the world’s largest producer of raisins. Fresno, in the Central San Joaquin Valley, is the center of U.S. raisin production and the birthplace of the industry boom in the 1870′s after a heat wave dried the grape crop on the vine. More than three thousand years ago people were picking grapes and laying them out in the sun to dry—a process that has virtually remained unchanged. Today, most raisins are sun-dried, though some are dried in dehydrators.
What makes Marian Farms’ raisins unique? Marian Farms raisins are made from the very grapes that make their Biodynamic table fruit so popular: delicious, juicy Thompson Seedless grapes. Certified organic safflower oil is lightly sprayed on the raisins to prevent clumping, making for easy pouring and scooping. The attention to detail of Biodynamic agricultural practices, careful handling and quality packing, storage and shipment, serve to produce the sweet tasting raisin our customers have come to expect. Marian Farms raisins have the vital life forces that come from our Biodynamic growing practices.
The Journey of the Raisins
Marian Farm grapes are harvested by hand and placed on paper trays in the open space between the rows of grape vines. The grapes dry slowly in the sun for a period of seven to ten days. When the bunches turn from green to black and the berries’ smooth skins take on the wrinkle of raisins, the trays are rolled into a cigarette configuration by hand. These elongated tubular raisin trays are then allowed to continue drying in direct sunlight for another seven to ten day. The raisins are then separated from the paper and stored in wooden bins. The raisins are then left in the wooden bins to “sweat”. The sweating process, which facilitates the natural movement of moisture between individual raisins, takes from ten days to two weeks. The raisins are then run across a shaker that removes dirt, leaves and stems. The raisins are returned to wooden bins with plastic liners, and transported to the packinghouse for USDA receiving and inspection. Following inspection and grading, the bins are sent to cold storage to await processing.
When scheduled for processing, the bins are returned to the packinghouse. The raisins run through a de-stemmer, an airleg (an air-aspirating cleaning system) to remove substandard raisins, a sizer and a water bath. The stemmed and washed raisins are then passed across a laser “eye” to remove damaged raisins or ones that still have their stem. Certified organic safflower oil is sprayed on the raisins to prevent clumping. They are then poured into a carton, weighed, sealed, ink-coded and stacked on a wooden pallet. Prior to sealing the carton, the USDA inspector takes one last sample to ensure the packaged fruit meets USDA standards. Once the pallet is loaded, it is wrapped in plastic and either shipped out or placed back into cold storage to await future shipment.