Sunday, December 30, 2007

Another Stop at Casa de Fruta

We've been meaning to visit our pals Doris & Jen at their new home in Aptos for a while now. After months of talking about it, we decided to do visit over the New Year weekend. But before we get to the Doris & Jen blog entries, we have to write about our favorite roadside fruit stand where we stop every time we go to the Santa Cruz area: Casa de Fruta.

Casa de Fruta, in Hollister, CA. (12/30/2007)
Casa de Fruta, in Hollister, CA. (12/30/2007)

"Fruit stand" is hardly the term for it. Casa de Fruta is really more like a fruit emporium. Seriously. They've got an enormous fruit and vegetable section, an immense dried fruit section, a wide variety of nuts and seeds, an entire wall of olives, salsas and other pickled goods, a candy section, a gift shop and much more. And that's just in the first building!

Casa de Fruta: Home of great dried fruit like this. (12/30/2007)
Casa de Fruta: Home of great dried fruit like this. (12/30/2007)

And keep in mind, the fruit building is just one amid an entire compound of stores and attractions. There's Casa de Coffee, a 24-hour coffee shop and restaurant. Casa de Wine, a wine store and deli. Casa de Sweets , a bakery and coffee place. And while the grownups shop, the kids can entertain themselves by riding the Casa de Carousel and the Casa de Choo Choo narrow-gauge railroad. There's even a Peacock Inn motel, a 300-space RV park and a Chevron gas station on the grounds.

Tim shops the aisles at Casa de Fruta. (12/30/2007)
Tim shops the aisles at Casa de Fruta. (12/30/2007)

Casa de Fruta is located in Hollister, which is in the Pacheco Valley that runs between Monterey and Yosemite. The enterprise began in 1908 when a family of Italian immigrants started a fruit orchard. But things expanded in the 1940s when three young brothers opened a roadside cherry stand. That would eventually expand and grow over the years into the fruit empire that stands today.

Providing great produce for 100 years. (12/30/2007)
Providing great produce for 100 years. (12/30/2007)

We stop there every single time we drive by, usually stopping for a restroom break and a bit of shopping for dry snacks to eat along the road. My favorites are always the dried fruits and the highly-addictive pistachios. Tim goes for the yogurt-covered pretzels. And our travel partners Jon and Amy got a few of their own goodies. It's not the cheapest fruit store in the valley, but the sheer volume of what's available makes it the best place to shop in our humble opinions.

We couldn't not buy the Gourmet "Atomic" Frog Balls. (12/30/2007)
We couldn't not buy the Gourmet "Atomic" Frog Balls. (12/30/2007)

This time we found a new product we hadn't seen before: Gourmet Atomic Frog Balls (spicy dill pickled brussels sprouts — not exactly the type of food you'd want to be eating in an enclosed car on a long drive if you know what I'm saying). We also got a jar of Good and Evil Pickles (pickles, garlic cloves and jalapeno peppers all pickled together). We haven't cracked open either jar yet, but if you want to try them the next time you visit, let us know.

4 comments:

beastandbean said...

Wow, I am all about trying those f-ing frog balls! They sound delicious! Make sure and save me some of those bad boys...

Doris said...

Hey, I missed out on trying the frogballs for some reason. For me Casa de Fruta signifies that we're "almost" home from Dinuba.

Ginger said...

I remember years ago there was a man who worked there who was known as the "Cup Flipper". He was an older guy who would come up to your table with a cup and a saucer and flip the cup back and forth. He even handed out buttons that said something like "I Saw the Cup Flipper". I have one in a drawer somewhere. :-)

It was very entertaining, and he even went on The David Letterman Show. I read online that he is now retired.

James said...

LOL! I know exactly what you're talking about because the restaurant has a large painting of the cup flipper talking about how he broke the world record of cup flipping, etc.

Man, how I wish I had been able to see him in his day and witness this cup flipping in person! ;)