Crown Jewels Produce LLC in Fresno, CA, will be featured on the Discovery Channel's "American Farmer" broadcast that will air initially on Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 6:30 a.m. Eastern Standard and Pacific Standard Time, according to a press release from Crown Jewels dated Nov. 30. There will be subsequent airings as well, but dates and times have not yet been specified.
"Crown Jewels was selected by 'American Farmer' to present the bounty of California agriculture and educate consumers across America on where our produce is grown," the release stated.
"We are pleased to have this one-of-a-kind opportunity to present a variety of our produce and our grower-partners to a nationwide audience," Atomic Torosian, managing member, said in the release.
Mr. Torosian told The Produce News in a Dec. 4 interview that the segment features four of Crown Jewels' growers: a pear and apple grower, a pomegranate grower, a cantaloupe grower and a grape grower.
A representative of "American Farmer" initially contacted Mr. Torosian this past winter and asked if he would like to be part of the program. "They had done some research and knew we have some growers that have a lot of history involved in California farming," Mr. Torosian said. "It was an honor and a surprise, and I said, 'Why not. Let's do it.'"
The production crew did interviews with the growers and taped growing, harvesting and packing operations over the course of the summer.
"We included Doug Hemly," president of Greene & Hemly Inc. in Courtland, CA, "and his whole operation," Mr. Torosian said. His family has been farming in the area of the Sacramento River since the mid-1800s. "They did some interviews with Doug and his daughter, Virginia, and his son, Matt."
From there, the production crew visited the Perez Packing Inc. operations in Firebaugh, CA. The Perez family, who were early settlers of the San Joaquin Valley, have been growing cantaloupes since the 1940s, Mr. Torosian said.
"On another day we did some shoots" of pomegranate picking, packing and harvesting with Steve Barsoom in Mendota, whose Sacramento-based farming entity is Eshner, Alexander & Barsoom. "It has been around for a long time," and years ago, the company's pomegranates were packed and marketed by Ito Packing, he said.
The "American Farmer" production crew also interviewed two of Crown Jewels' grape growers, only one of which, Bryan Bedrosian, was selected to be included in the segment, Mr. Torosian said.
Mr. Bedrosian and his family are involved in the raisin business with National Raisin, but he has his own table grape ranches. The production crew "did an interview out in the field and watched them harvest and pack," Mr. Torosian said.
"Then they came back into the office, and we did a little bit of an overview of the sales office," he said. "They got a statement from Wyatt, my son," who is in sales with the company.
Mr. Torosian said he has seen the final cut of the segment, "and it came out very well. It is informative. It basically talks about family and family farming." The focus is mainly on the growers, "the history involved, how they started, what they do," he said. It is "not so much on Crown Jewels International [and] what we do, even though it is mentioned." Rather, it is more about how long the families have been farming and about "passing the torch along" to the younger generations and "the changes they have to make to stay competitive." The segment also highlights "our connection" with "our grower partners" and "how we represent these growers in the marketplace."
Besides being aired on Discovery Channel, the segment will be picked up by other cable channels internationally and be viewed in 40 countries, he said.