As I learned more about raisins, I was excited to discover how closely my philosophy about fueling athletes was aligned with Sun-Maid raisin nutrition and the raisin production process. Here’s some history that I’d like to share with you.
The drying of grapes into raisins has actually been practiced since ancient times. Raisins were produced in Persia and Egypt as early as 2,000 BC, with one of their first mentions being in the Old Testament. Did you know that raisins were highly prized by the ancient Romans, who presented them as prizes for the winners of sporting events? Cool. Raisins = recovery fuel of champions.
From ancient Rome, the practice of drying grapes into raisins spread to other areas in the world with the right mix of sun, soil and water. Once raisins were established as a marketable crop which grew and dried well under the California sun, raisin grape acreage expanded rapidly in the late 1800′s. In 1915, the brand name SUN-MAID was launched. The now famous Sun-Maid Girl trademark was actually inspired by a real person—Lorraine Collett Petersen, who lived in the Fresno, California area where the company began its operations. Life then was simpler, less hectic—and red sunbonnets were the fashion of the day. Can you imagine?
As a cooperative, Sun-Maid Growers of California is owned by family farmers who grow raisin grapes all located within 50 miles of Sun-Maid’s Kingsburg, California headquarters, midway between Los Angeles to the south and San Francisco to the north. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of these wonderful people—it’s what farm to table is all about! In addition to raisins, the San Joaquin Valley also produces some of the best fruits and vegetables in the world, including a wide assortment of grapes, peaches, plums, apples, figs, apricots, blueberries, strawberries and melons. I feel so lucky to be able to buy local.
And there you have it. Simply raisins. Made by Mother Nature. A colorful burst of sweetness on your plate. As a California gal, how could I resist getting the message out to Raisin Your Nutrition!?
For more raisin and Sun-Maid history, download Sun-Maid’s 100th Anniversary Book at www.sunmaid.com/book