Fruit stands are ubiquitous in rural Santa Clara County, particularly in the South County communities of Morgan Hill, San Martin, and Gilroy. If you’re driving to Los Angeles, you may not be able to miss the largest of them all, Casa de Fruta, which is just barely inside of Santa Clara County.
Fruit stands and where to find them
f you’re driving to Los Angeles from Santa Clara County using Highway 5, you will turn off of Highway 101 and take Hwy 152 in Gilroy to cut across the Pacheco Pass to get to 5. Almost immediately on 152 you’ll encounter produce stands selling fruit, nuts, artichokes, and all sorts of vegetables, and, of course, garlic!
One of these fruit stands along Highway 152 near Gilroy is the Merry Cherry Fruit Stand. There we have purchased some cherries (naturally!) and pistachios at various times. Here are a couple of photos from there, taken in a May evening, around 6:15 or 6:30, so there are long shadows – but it was fabulous spring weather and very pleasant out. It’s a pretty typical roadside stand and there are many of them in this region.
Please note: some of the produce stands may take cash only, though I suspect it’s changed as technology has improved.
This next photo was taken from the parking area of the Merry Cherry stand. I loved how the shadows looked in the groves of the ploughed field, waiting for the next planting, or perhaps for sprouts to soon appear.
Along and near 101 south of Gilroy
At the southernmost tip of Gilroy, or perhaps just beyond its city limit, there are fruit stands, wine shops, nut stands, and the like – a great chance to buy produce coming into or leaving Gilroy.
One such place is Ralph’s Cherry Hut. On a larger scale, there’s Garlic World, which is a proper store and not just a stand!
Not far from there, Highway 25 leads to Berrylicious Fruit Stand.
Casa de Fruta at the county’s edge
Casa de Fruta is more of a campus than a fruit stand, but if you are heading to Highway 5 it is well worth a pause in the drive. It’s open every day, even in the pouring rain, and in addition to purchasing produce you can pick up gifts, a hot cup of coffee, make use of the bathrooms, or stretch your legs and let the kids enjoy the amusements.
If you want to double up on your reasons to visit Casa de Fruta, this is also the setting for the Renaissance Fair each fall. That usually runs from sometime in September to the middle of October or so, but check their website for the dates, as they do shift a little year to year.
And more in South County
There are more stands in San Martin and Gilroy. If you get the chance, instead of just stopping by a farm stand, I’d HIGHLY recommend a pick-your-own farm at Andy’s Orchard in Morgan Hill.
For people who’ve never been to Santa Clara County (where most of Silicon Valley can be found), or are new to our part of Northern California, it’s a surprise that we still have farmland and fruit stands. We also have vineyards and wineries in various parts of the county, especially the Santa Cruz Mountains and “south county”. These agricultural regions are a reminder us that our whole area was once largely farm based and was then called “the Valley of Heart’s Delight”.
The fruit stands and produce are a fun reason to visit Gilroy and the South County, but they aren’t the only reason! There are fabulous parks, golf courses, wine tasting, shopping, and much more to see, do, and explore there.