John Rieping/The Madera Tribune
Gabby Lopez, owner of Gabby’s Fruit Basket, waits on a customer at her fruit stand on Avenue 12.
There’s perhaps no better way to support local agriculture than to buy locally grown produce. So the Madera Tribune has scouted the summer highway and byways of Madera County for farm fresh produce stands.
To allow for price comparisons, we note the prices for peaches, tomatoes and onions at each stand we visited in late July.
Charlie’s Fruit Stand
Of those we found, Charlie’s Fruit Stand, 12145 State Route 145, may be the nearest to the city of Madera. Owned by Charlie Mosesian, the 40-year-old stand sells produce by the bucket or basket and honey by the jar. All the produce is grown and packed by Mosesian Vineyards in Madera.
The stand features a bathroom and is open daily, including holidays, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Price check: When we visited, 6-7 pounds of peaches sold for $4.50, up to 5 pounds of tomatoes sold for $4.50 and 6.5 pounds of onions sold for $4.50. Payment can be made by cash or check.
Gabby’s Fruit Basket
Gabby’s Fruit Basket, 32288 Ave. 12, offers a great variety of produce as well as whole edible plants, such as basil and chili peppers, growing in pots for buyers to take home and harvest at will. The Madera Ranchos produce stand is a mixture of those raised by owner Gabby Lopez and those purchased from other growers. All the produce is sustainable and organic.
The six-year-old stand is open 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Price check: When we visited, 6 pounds of peaches sold for $6, 6 pounds of tomatoes sold for $5, and 4 pounds of onions sold for $2. Payment can be made by cash, check, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, JCB and American Express.
Ranchos Fruit Stand
Ranchos Fruit Stand, 33588 Ave. 12, presents farm fresh produce by the basket, plus a few exotic outsiders, such as pineapples. The Ferrer family’s 40-acre pesticide-free farm in Madera Ranchos surrounds the stand, which appeared two years ago in the Tribune’s Salute to Agriculture. All their produce is certified organic.
The stand is open daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Price check: When we visited, about 2 pounds of peaches sold for $3, roughly 2 pounds of tomatoes sold for $3, and no onions were available. Payment can be made with cash.
Valorosie’s Fruit Stand
For 50 years Valorosie’s Fruit Stand, 12285 Road 26 1/2, sells sustainable fruits and vegetables grown by the Valorosie family. Finding the stand can be hard as it lies at the back of a home, but a lone roadside “Fresh Fruit” sign reassures. Her stand was the only one we found that sold produce by weight, rather than by basket or bucket.
The stand is open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Payment should be by cash or check.
Price check: When we visited, fruit sold for $1.50 per pound, onions were a $1 per pound, and tomatoes were $1.50 per pound.
Summer Peck Ranch Fruit Stand, 14860 Highway 41, hardly qualifies for its name. Rather than a roadside stand, it is a full-fledged store catering to tourists on the way to Oakhurst and Yosemite National Park. Produce comes from farms in Madera and Friant, but the “stand” also offers wine tasting, souvenirs, firewood, crafts and free WiFi.
The store is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Credit cards and cash are accepted.
Price check: When we visited, fruit sold for $1.99 per pound and tomatoes were $1.50 per pound. No onions were available.