POM Wonderful is not just the name of a wonderful fruit company, but Wonderful is actually a variety of pomegranate grown here in Fresno, CA. Catchy name nonetheless.
Myself and 14 other food, health, and lifestyle bloggers attended the Pomegranate harvest tour this week where we visited the 18,000 acre Paramount Farms property full of pomegranates, almonds, and pistachios, oh my!
We drove right up to the small tarmac where the POM jets, the Baron and the King, swooped us up high into the skies above the orchards to see the vast beauty of it all. The plot of solar panels that help to fuel the plant are truly incredible!
After we’d had a chance to see thebig picture, we got down and dirty with General Fresh Cut Fruits Manager, Brad Paris. Brad knows everything and then some about pomegranates.
The pomegranates seem like a hardy fruit, but actually bruise fairly easily and are subject to sunburn and cracking- just like us! Serious quality control is implemented from A-Z to ensure that consumers get only sunburn-free, crack-free, bruise-free perfect little (and big) pomegranates.
After a little repose by the pool, Janel Ovrut, RD of Dine Dish Delish gave us a chat about the miracles of antioxidants found in POM products that fight free-radicals, the abnormal cell-causing agents from big offenders like excess sun, alcohol, and smoke. Pomegranate products also have a strong link to slowing and ceasing the progression of prostate cancer in men. The arils (seeds) contain antioxidants, but the skin of the pomegranate was found to have higher levels of antioxidants and so now they manufacture POMx, which is a super-power antioxidant elixir that is an ingredient in some of their products (coffee, tea, and bars), but not sold separately.
So we saw how the pomegranates are harvested, but now we learn the rest of the process.
Pomegranates are picked from the trees (more like bushes) and loaded into these white bins.
Where they are then labeled and stacked with orchard and batch numbers and then. . . .
Put on a conveyor belt to go inside the factory. . .
Where each one is digitally photographed to rate quality. Whew- stressful to be one of these little crown jewels. The ones that don’t make a high enough quality score to be sold as whole fruit are sent to the juice plant. Oh, but it’s far from over yet.
Now it’s time for hand-on inspection, just in case the cameras missed an angle. And then- bathtime! The fruit is thoroughly washed, dried, waxed, and dried again, stickered and finally inspected by hand just one more time before they get to hop into a pretty big box and shine on the shelves!
The 48 oz. bottles of POM Wonderful juice are made from 45% recycled materials, all the bottles are recyclable, and any water that is not used in the juice manufacturing process is re-used throughout the plant for operations.