Finding Local Food on the California Roadside

California Road Trip Produce

Here in Oregon in the middle of winter, eating local/seasonal is heavy on root vegetables and other things that store well, like potatoes and onions and cabbages. But in California, they’re right in the middle of citrus season, so as soon as I saw the trees I started plotting to acquire some oranges of my own.

California Fruit Depot

We made two fresh produce stops, and a third one for olives.

First was California Fruit Depot, in Edison. It’s right next door to an orange grove-turned-RV park (free oranges if you stay there?). Lots of samples, but they primarily sell oranges, and dates which the employee said are grown to the south of there, in Indio. We bought a bag of Minneola tangelos and two kinds of dates.

Our second stop, on the way back through from Vegas toward Bakersfield, was at Murray Family Farms. They grow a bunch of different things, and the farm store and grounds are nicely set up for visitors, with a small petting zoo and picnic area. We bought Meyer lemons, pistachios, avocados (we hit the tail end of their Zutano crop), and a couple of satsuma oranges. I’ve been snacking on the bag of pistachios all week—it seemed like a splurge at the time, but now I’m wishing we’d bought more, because when this runs out I will be sad.

Our last stop, heading back up I-5 in the rain, was at the Olive Pit in Corning. This is another place with great samples; there’s a couple dozen types of olives and olive oils to try. Corning is apparently “Olive City”, complete with an annual Olive Festival. So if you like olives, this is a good place to stop.

Our route took us through a number of different growing areas, from rice to olives to citrus to rangeland. I really enjoyed being able to stop at even just a few places to taste things, and close the gap between “food that comes from somewhere” and “food that comes from a plant I can see right there”. If you have a little extra time on your own drive, I hope you’ll do the same, whether in California or some other part of the world.

One response to “Finding Local Food on the California Roadside

  1. A stop at the Olive Pit on the way back from the SS1 launch is what got me to /liking/ green olives. I’d always hated them before. But they had some damned fine ones.