What can you do with nearly 6 tons of freshly chopped fruit? You make one very, very large fruit salad.
That's exactly what a team of Fresno State marketing students did Thursday in their attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for biggest fruit salad.
About 30 people that included students, friends and volunteers spent nearly 10 hours at the P-R Farms packinghouse at Willow and Shepherd avenues slicing and dicing about 12,000 pounds of fruit.
They were trying to break the existing record of 8,866 pounds that was set in Peru in 2003.
By Thursday evening, the students said they had beat the record – unofficially – at 10,440 pounds. A makeshift serving bowl – it was actually a 2,500-gallon water tank – was used to hold the fruit while it was weighed on a truck scale.
The salad consisted of sliced peaches, plums, nectarines, apples and Asian pears – all donated by local packinghouses including Kingsburg Orchards and Trinity Fruit Sales.
Nicholas Morales, one of the student organizers, said using the Valley's agricultural bounty was a natural for trying to break a world record.
"We really wanted to do something related to all the things we grow in the Valley and what better thing than tree fruit, something we are leaders in," Morales said.
Morales is a student in Fresno State professor Bill Rice's Strategic Marketing class, which has become well-known for its record-breaking attempts.
Over the years, the students have built huge milk and raisin box containers.
Last year, they were unsuccessful in breaking the record for the world's largest water balloon fight.
"It is a lot of fun doing these things," said Fresno State student Sam Mabanta, who helped slice peaches. "And when someone asks me what I got out of going to Fresno State, I can tell them I broke a world record."
Sylvia Contreras also was proud of her role in the attempt to break a record. She was among nearly two dozen culinary students from Institute of Technology in Clovis that helped cut the fruit.
"It was pretty easy for what we do, but it sure will feel good to be in the Guinness Book of World Records. I will be proud of that," Contreras said. "And it will be good for Fresno."
Morales said the students will be forwarding information about the record attempt, including video, news reports and other documentation, to the Guinness headquarters in England for verification.
As for the salad, the fruit was donated to Poverello House, Fresno Rescue Mission, local charities and nonprofit organizations.
"This is really a win-win situation," said Angel Vasquez, a volunteer. "We are breaking a record and helping to feed the hungry – how good is that?"