Last Father’s Day, mid June 2017, we trekked to South County to do some fruit picking and fruit tasting at Andy’s Orchard in Morgan Hill. I highly recommend it, though the website for Andy’s Orchard says that their cherry harvest has been smaller than usual this year. They are again offering this event on Father’s Day 2018, but do check their website (see link below) to make sure that the tour you want is not sold out.
We walked through the orchard during the earliest available time slot since it was a heat wave weekend. The orchard had all kinds of varieties of cherries (I remember one with a funny name, the Black Republicans), but also pluats, nectarines, and a wide number of stone fruits, too. We were encouraged to taste as we went, and had no trouble complying. Many of us had buckets that we filled (and paid for the fruit later). It was so interesting to try one type of cherry after the next and to learn about how the trees are cared for.
Next was the open air tasting station, where we were able to enjoy and compare a huge number of apricots, peaches, nectarines, pluats, apriums, cherries, etc. Had we known when we walk the orchard how much more food would be there for us, we might all have had a little more restraint. By the time we got to the tasting stations, I was already pretty full and well past the amount of fruit I should have had for that period of time.
Take a look at some of the photos to give you a sense of the vast offerings! What it does not well convey is how delicious the fruit was!
We picked a variety of cherries, many types of which we’d never heard of before.
After that, we headed to a covered area (the shade was much appreciated as it was a toasty day) to check out the fruit tasting stations. Included were plums, pluats, apricots, nectarines, cherries, and all sorts of hybrids that were new to me.
Closeup of one of the fruits offered for tasting. In most cases, the fruit was presented in whole AND pre-sliced for easy munching.
And here’s a shot of the whole fruit and the samples.
The Valley of Heart’s Delight (or Valley of Hearts Delight) is the old moniker or nickname for the Santa Clara Valley, which loosely follows the boundaries of Santa Clara County, the largest city of which is San Jose with one million residents today. This area, together with much of San Mateo County to the north, is better known in recent times as Silicon Valley. Agriculture gave way to high tech, bio tech, and a whole lot of people and homes.
When the first non-native people came to this area, the native people, the Ohlone, were hunter-gatherers who lived in temporary homes which could be moved with the seasons and weather changes. The newcomers wanted to “settle” the land, plant crops, raise cattle and sheep, and pretty much transport everything from the “old world” to the new, including, of course, religion. The California Missions and the Presedios for military sprang up throughout Alta California, to the detriment of the Ohlone people here and tribes elsewhere, in many cases. That said, there were also some good things that happened, so I do not want to paint this whole period as 100% bad.
Eventually logging (Saratoga was a logging town) and wheat became a hugely important crop as it was necessary to feed those immigrating here for gold and a new life. The redwood trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains were often felled for construction in San Francisco, with the logs or wood making their way north via boats docked at Alviso. Mercury, or quicksilver, was discovered south of San Jose and the New Almaden Mine (and Guadalupe Mine) extracted it for use in munitions for the Civil War and to get gold out of the rock into which it was embedded.
When the transcontinental railroad broke through in 1869, however, it was easy and relatively cheap to bring wheat from the Midwest. Meanwhile, fruit, nut trees, vineyards and and vegetables were thriving here: prunes, grapes, citrus of all kinds, cherries, apricots, walnuts, almonds and many more filled the Santa Clara Valley. Prohibition (1919 1933) was hard for the grape farmers and vintners, and many of the wineries ended in ruin. Some continued as they could make sacramental wine, and some smaller ones made it through, too, for either table grapes or for “personal use” wine only.
The valley was so beautiful that there were tour companies which would organized drives or rides to view the blossoms, hopefully at their peak. The Blossom Time Tour Company had it finely tuned to viewing the trees at the height of their blooming, which varied by crop. One tour began in Cupertino, ran through part of Saratoga and Monte Sereno, into Los Gatos over “Blossom Hill” (the tip of which is crossed on Blossom Hill Road close to Union Avenue), down Union Avenue through Cambrian Park, through part of Campbell and back into Cupertino where it had begun.
After World War II, the region saw a huge expansion and many orchards were leveled to create subdivisions in Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, San Jose, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Campbell, Saratoga and throughout the area. Unfortunately, that wasn’t done well in most cases and we have “urban sprawl” with many tract homes and not enough parks in some areas. With younger neighborhoods, like you find in Almaden and Milpitas, the park situation is a little better, and of course there are beautiful old parks dotting the valley – just not enough in some areas.
Christie's International Real Estate Sereno, Los Gatos, CA 95030 408 204-7673 Mary@PopeHandy.com License# 01153805
Clair Handy, Realtor
Christie's International Real Estate Sereno 214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd Los Gatos, CA 95030 ClairHandy@sereno.com License# 02153633
Mary & Clair sell homes throughout Silicon Valley: Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Santa Cruz County. with a special focus on: San Jose, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Campbell, Almaden Valley, Cambrian Park.
Mary Pope-Handy, Realtor ABR, AHWD, CIPS, CRS, SRES Christie's International Real Estate Sereno DRE License #01153805 408-204-7673 firstname.lastname@example.org “Helping nice folks to buy and sell homes in Silicon Valley since 1993”
Clair Handy, Realtor, GREEN Christie's International Real Estate Sereno DRE License #02153633 408-721-6160 email@example.com “Helping nice folks to buy and sell homes in Silicon Valley”
This is the Valley of Heart's Delight blog , covering Silicon Valley real estate - Santa Clara County, San Jose, Los Gatos, Cupertino, and nearby communities in the South Bay Area and lower Peninsula. Find info on neighborhoods, disclosure issues, buyer and seller tips, and housing market conditions in the west valley and most of the county.Please also see my other websites and real estate market statistics site, which are listed in the sidebar, above.
Mary Pope-Handy, Realtor ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES Sereno DRE License #01153805 408-204-7673 firstname.lastname@example.org
“Helping nice folks to buy and sell homes in Silicon Valley since 1993”
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