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Fresno County Fruit Trail: Rewards You Can Sink Your Teeth Into
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By Dean Kirkland
Published 1 month ago on
May 24, 2024
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The 21st Annual Fresno County Fruit Trail has begun, celebrating local agriculture with a self-guided tour of fruit stands and highlighting Fresno County's critical role in national food production. (GV Wire/Dean Kirkland)

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Ladies and gentlemen, start your taste buds! The 21st Annual Fresno County Fruit Trail has officially kicked off, and it’s more exciting than rain on the right day for a farmer. Picture this: the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the fruit is so fresh you’d think it had just received a pep talk from Tony Robbins.

Dean Kirkland Portrait

Dean Kirkland

Every year, the week before Memorial Day, the fine folks of Fresno County gather to celebrate the grand opening of the Fruit Trail. It’s like the Blossom Trail, but with actual rewards you can sink your teeth into. This self-guided tour lets you navigate through a veritable cornucopia of fruit stands, where you can buy directly from the growers.

Kicking Off in Style

Our festivities began Thursday with Felix Muzquiz, the executive director of the Vineyard Farmers Market. Felix, an individual who clearly knows her fruit from her vegetables, welcomed us to this year’s kickoff.

With a grin that could rival a Cheshire cat, they declared, “So this was the 21st annual Fresno County Fruit Trail kickoff. And we get together every year about this time, the week before Memorial Day, to kick off the Fresno County Fruit Trail. And what it is, it’s like the Blossom Trail but it’s with fruit. And so it’s a self-guided tour. There’s fruit trail maps and it lists all of the fruit stands that you can go to in Fresno County and buy directly from the growers.”

If there’s a more perfect way to spend a day than hopping from fruit stand to fruit stand, sampling nature’s candy, and supporting local farmers, I’ve yet to find it. Felix continued, “Oh gosh. Well, there are no better peaches or apricots. Stone fruit is just the best in the world that grows here in the Valley. They call it the Golden Triangle. That is where the soil conditions are absolutely perfect for growing stone fruit.”

The Fresno County Fruit Trail of 2024 (Fresno County Fruit Trail)

A Fruitful Address

Next up was Ryan Jacobson, executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, a man who can make agricultural statistics sound as thrilling as a Spielberg blockbuster. With the charisma of a TV star and the enthusiasm of a kid in a candy store, Ryan shared, “Good morning, everyone. Just an absolutely spectacularly gorgeous day to open the Fruit Trail. It’s been some amazing weather this year. And so we’re looking forward to all of the incredible bounty that this county is going to produce over the course of the next several months.”

To put it in perspective, if Fresno County were a country, it’d be a global produce superpower. That’s right, folks, our fruit could probably negotiate a peace treaty or two.

Jacobson dropped some knowledge bombs, reminding us just how critical Fresno County is to our nation’s food supply. “According to the 2022 USDA census, California now accounts for 68% of the nation’s total value of fruit, tree nuts, and berries, and 41% of the nation’s vegetables, much of that produced right here in the Valley. In 2022, the agricultural production value in Fresno County totaled $8.095 billion.”

To put it in perspective, if Fresno County were a country, it’d be a global produce superpower. That’s right, folks, our fruit could probably negotiate a peace treaty or two.

Community Spirit in Full Bloom

From the Swedish Festival in Kingsburg to the vibrant offerings at Sweet Girl Farms, there’s always something happening here that’s worth celebrating.

Speaking of Sweet Girl Farms, Lissette Garcia, who wears more hats than a royal wedding, shared her passion for farming and community. “I am representing both Sweet Girl Farms, which is my farm, and also the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce. I am out in Parlier. So if you have anyone going to King’s Canyon out in that direction, send them over to me if they want to get fruit before they head out to the wilderness. That is a great stop.”

If you’re not inspired to support local farmers after hearing Lissette, you might need to check your pulse.

Vendors lined the walk ways at the Fresno County Fruit Trail conference to show off their plentiful harvest. (GV Wire/Dean Kirkland)

A Celebration of Hard Work and Innovation

Karen Pearson from the Sanger Chamber of Commerce brought a global perspective, “The Fruit Trail opening, we need to let people know that the San Joaquin Valley is so amazing. This Fresno County is so amazing. We are so blessed. I have been all over the world, every single continent except for Antarctica, and it is just so amazing to see what we have here.”

Her words reminded everyone just how special our little slice of agricultural heaven truly is. We might take it for granted, but the rest of the world is practically drooling with envy.

The Market Legacy

Muzquiz closed things out with a nod to the history and significance of the Vineyard Farmers Market. “The Vineyard Farmers Market, established in May of 1980, takes pride in offering support and advocacy while providing an outlet for certified producers selling directly to the public. We promote local, seasonal, and sustainably grown produce.”

Felix’s pride in the market is evident, and rightly so. It’s a beacon of community, sustainability, and fresh, delicious produce.

Join the Trail

So, if you’re looking for something to do that’s both delicious and wholesome, grab a map, hit the trail, and savor the flavors of Fresno County. The 21st Annual Fresno County Fruit Trail is more than just a route through orchards; it’s a celebration of the farmers who toil in the sun, the communities that thrive on this land, and the incredible produce that ends up on our tables. For more information, visit the Fresno County Fruit Trail and the Fresno County Farm Bureau.

Remember, folks, life is a lot like a fruit trail: sometimes you have to navigate a few twists and turns, but the rewards are oh-so-sweet.

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