The farm-to-table movement sweeping across the country is nothing new to residents of California and the Santa Clarita Valley. We’ve been enjoying the “fruits of the land” for as long as people have lived in the “Golden State.”
California produces the majority of many American fruits, vegetables and nuts we consume as a nation.
Farmers in California produce 99% of artichokes, 99% of walnuts, 97% of kiwis, 97% of plums, 95% of celery, 95% of garlic, 89% of cauliflower, 71% of spinach and 69% of carrots … and that’s just for starters.
Much of this production can be attributed to living in a state with the perfect climate and soil conditions for growing food. However, no other state, or combination of states, can match California’s output per acre.
Lemon yields in California are more than 50% higher than in Arizona. California spinach yields per acre are 60% higher than the national average.
We are fortunate in the SCV to live near areas where locally grown produce and fruit are bountiful. Here is a list of a few alternatives (near and far).
Santa Clarita Certified Farmers
Market at College of the Canyons
Sundays, year-round, rain or shine.
8:30 a.m. to noon
Parking Lot 5, fronting Rockwell Canyon Road
California Certified Farmers’ Markets (CFM’s) were established in 1978, when then-governor Jerry Brown signed legislation known as the Direct Marketing Act. This enabled California farmers to sell their own produce directly to consumers at locations designated by the Department of Agriculture.
In 1993 the city of Santa Clarita invited the Ventura County Certified Farmers Market Association to establish a market in Santa Clarita, thus the Santa Clarita Certified Farmers Market was born.
Every week more than 40 California farmers bring the freshest, vine and tree ripened fruits and vegetables to the SCV. Other California agricultural items offered: Fresh meat products, herbs, honey, eggs, whole and shelled nuts, cheese, olive oil, fruit juices, jams, jellies, cut flowers and potted plants.
Old Town Newhall Farmers Market
Saturdays, rain or shine
8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Parking lot of the Old Town Newhall Library
24500 Main Street, Newhall
This is the market that used to inhabit Main Street in downtown Newhall on Thursdays. It is now Saturday mornings in the Old Town Newhall Library parking lot. California farmers and specialty food purveyors come together each Saturday, rain or shine, to bring you fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables, including organic, baked goods, flowers, herbs, cheeses and prepared foods.
On the road
Daily, hours vary.
Need nopales? Boxes of oranges? Can’t wait for a weekly farmer’s market for your fresh produce? Visit the fruit and vegetable stands that line Highway 126 between the Santa Clarita Valley and Ventura. Want locally sourced honey? You’re in luck!
Here’s a few places along Highway 126 you’ll want to visit, but feel free to stop at others not on this list.
768 E Telegraph Road
It’s the first big red and white striped tent on the left of the freeway between Castaic and Fillmore. Among the fruits and veggies they have nuts, licorice, and dried fruits all freshly packaged and amazing coconut macaroons freshly baked from a nearby shop.
Cornejo’s Produce Stand
768 E Telegraph Road
The second-largest fruit stand on Highway 126 in the Santa Clara River Valley, Cornejo’s carries mostly oranges and strawberries, plus a few vegetables, snacks, nuts, dried fruit, olives and fresh orange juice.
The Loose Caboose
Open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
18492 E. Telegraph Road
Santa Paula 93060
(Just east of Santa Paula).
More gift store than produce stand The Loose Caboose is on the list just because it is so much fun! The store features local fresh produce, eight flavors of local honey and a large variety of jerky, nuts and dried fruit.
Take a relaxing stroll beside the different ponds stocked with a variety of 3”-18” koi, (you can buy a koi for your pond at home, too). You may also want to make your way to the newly constructed aviary and upside down gardens.
Inside you can shop for unique gift items, railroad memorabilia, Christmas decorations, antiques, garden art, fountains, pottery and a large selection of pond and aquatic supplies.
The shop has fruit in the small, open-air storefront section.
And true to its name, there is a real live caboose on site. The historic Fillmore train also makes regular stops.
Bennett’s Honey Farm
Open seven days a week
Monday to Friday 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
Saturday to Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
3176 Honey Lane (Hwy 126), Fillmore 93015
Founded by Red and Ann Bennett and currently owned by Chip and Taydee Vannoy Bennett’s is a family owned operation selling honey produced in Ventura County, home of the best sage and wildflower fields in California.
Bennett’s has Kosher and Organic certificates for their honey and instead of filtering the honey they use a process called “gravity straining” which allows the honey to retain its natural perfect components.
Bennett’s has a honey tasting room and store. Look for the large sign alongside Highway 126.
Littlerock and the Pearblossom Highway
Fruit stands and country markets are bountiful in Littlerock. Just take a short trip up California state route 14 (the Antelope Valley Freeway) to the Pearblossom Highway. When you hit Littlerock, you’ll have hit a bonanza of fresh fruit and produce. Littlerock calls itself “The Fruit Basket of the Antelope Valley” and peaches rule.
A few places to visit include:
36275 87th Street East
(On 87th Street East, between East Avenue T-2 and East Avenue T-4)
Open Monday to Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Before you go, check the Whalley’s website for current operating hours and products. This is a seasonal store so what is available at press time might not be what’s available when you decide to visit.
Established in 1981, Whalley’s is known for fine fruit products. Now open for the 2020 season the location currently offers yellow peaches, nectarines, squash, prunes and jams and jellies.
8202 Pearblossom Highway
Littlerock, CA 93543
Farmers Mart features local produce, local honey, homemade pies and other baked goods.
Charlie Brown Farms
8317 Pearblossom Highway
Littlerock, CA 93543
Charlie Brown Farms is more circus than fruit stand, but I include it in this list just because it is so much fun!
Charlie Brown Farms started out as a fruit stand in 1929. Now located on six acres with one acre of parking, it’s been a landmark on Pearblossom Highway ever since.
The store sells local farm fresh eggs, fresh ostrich and emu eggs and local honey (wildflower, orange, sage, cactus, eucalyptus, alfalfa, buckwheat and more).
In addition, you can’t pass up a Charlie Brown’s milkshake, you can have their famous date milkshake or one of the other 150 flavors.
There is local produce as well as Texas-style BBQ and more than 1,000 kinds of candy including homemade candies, including chocolate-covered grapefruit strips. (I bet you didn’t see that one coming …)
Apples, cherries, peaches are all available at local farms on a seasonal basis. Check out:
Leona Valley, just under an hour from Santa Clarita, is home to 20 cherry orchards. Cherry season is over for the year, but check out these farms next May to find out when the cherries will be ripe.
Leona Valley Cherry Growers
Visit the Leona Valley Cherry Growers Association website to find all the cherry farms in the area. The website offers a nifty map to help you find the farms.