by Terrance Mc Arthur
Our roving food critic Terrance Mc Arthur continues his search for great food in Sanger and the surrounding communities. Check out more Great Food Search here!
Fruit stands, veggie stands, produce stands, whatever you call them, the San Joaquin Valley has lots of them. There are so many, there’s a Fresno Fruit Trail, brother to the springtime Blossom Trail. Some of the businesses I’ve visited are on the official Fruit Trail list, others aren’t, but they all have good stuff. Follow me on a sort-of circle (with a detour) for a fresh-picked adventure.
8175 E. Kings Canyon Rd., Fresno — If you’re heading east on 180, between DeWolf Ave. (where the freeway ends) and Leonard Ave., you’ll see an orange building with white accents off the south side of the highway. Strawberries in season, stone fruits, local honey, watermelon, vegetables…whatever is growing then, they’ll sell it.
Hudson Farms, 4300 S. Academy, Sanger — Heading south out of Sanger, between Central and American Avenues, there’s a metal building on the east side of the road: Hudson Farms. The assortment is ever-changing: corn from Kingsburg, peaches, nectarines, Armenian cucumbers, multiple varieties of tomatoes, and hot peppers that reduced a young man (who grew up in El Salvador and Florida) to flat-on-the-floor status. Not only is the place full of good things to eat, it’s educational. Recipes, information on storage, tips on what’s getting ripe next, and occasional cobbler samples: it’s definitely all good.
12993 E. American Ave at Academy Ave., Sanger — Less than a mile south of Hudson Farms, angled on the northwest corner of Academy and American, is a simple, unassuming stand (often marked with graffiti) that marketed some amazing strawberries, and there’s usually some really good produce, too.
Kao Saechao’s Strawberry Farm, Manning Ave. & McCall Ave., Selma — A longish, white-painted, wooden shed on the northeast corner harbors some of the most amazing produce I’ve ever seen: asparagus to zucchini, eggplant to strawberries, garlic, carrots, and Asian produce that mystifies me. If I’m going from Fresno to Parlier, Reedley, or Orange Cove, I make sure I drive down Manning to snag something to add pizazz to my cooking.
Pao Saephan’s Fresh Strawberries, Reedley — Different sites give different addresses for this place, but you find it on the south side of Manning Avenue where it curves southward to become I Street in Reedley. Friendly, helpful, good strawberries and really good tomatoes.
Blossom Trail Fruit Stand, Sanger
Centerville Fruit Stand, 16155 E Kings Canyon Rd, Centerville — Heading back to Fresno? At the southwest corner of 180 and Oliver Avenue, the heart of the metropolis of Centerville, sits what used to be a filling station. Now, it’s the Centerville Fruit Station, somewhat famous for being featured on a Huell Howser Road Trip program. Huell was taken with the place, and it is still worth a visit. A variety of fruit boxed outside, fresh corn for sale, and I went crazy over their Golden Nugget Tangerines – easy-to-shed rind, juicy pulp, and rich flavor. Sooooooooo good!
These are only a few of the fruit/produce stands in Fresno County. My personal favorites are Hudson Farms in Sanger and Kao Saechao’s in Selma. The thing is, any of the local stands are going to give you fresh, healthy produce and fruit. Go out there and get the good stuff! Happy eating!