Casa de Fruta

In Hollister, California on CA-152 is Casa de Fruta.  This little place has been in the same spot since 1908 and has grown much since Joe and I have been coming here over the past 20 years.  This is a family place with things for everyone to do and enjoy.  There is a 24 hour restaurant named Casa de Restaurant, a wine shop named Casa de Wine, a coffee house named Casa de Sweets, and of course the fruit stand named Casa de Fruta.  There is Casa de Choo Choo where you get on a small gauge train that takes you on a 1/2 hour ride, a carousel for the children to ride, a small playground with monkey bars and lots of other climbing structures to gets the kinks worked out of the kids from all the travelling.

We usually come from I-5 and take the CA-152 Los Banos exit.  It is about 25 miles from I-5 going east.  The road is through Pacheco Pass and it is steep and winding.  The grade is 7% downhill one way and uphill the other.  According to Joe, this means that for every 100 feet travelled you go down (or up) 7 feet.  Makes for an exciting ride downhill.  They have improved this road quite a bit since the last time we were through here.  It used to be two lane.  One lane going east and one lane going west.  There was a passing lane each way at the steep parts of the hills for slower traffic.  Our trip yesterday was on 4 lane – 2 lanes each way.  What a difference that was.  A 20 mile length used to take two hours plus and yesterday it was about 30 minutes.

Pacheco Pass

This is now a four lane road.  Used to be only two.  Heavy truck traffic is on this road because Gilroy is near here and they are the Garlic Capitol of California.  Lots of other vegetables and fruits are hauled by trucks over this road.

Loaded down as they often are made this stretch of road really difficult to travel with their slow speeds.

You can’t see it in this picture but this is one of the 7% grade hills we were going down with tons of curves.  White knuckle riding for me that is for sure.

Casa de Fruta

Casa de Restaurant

Casa de Wine

Casa de Sweets

Casa de Choo Choo

The Carousel

Ancient and antique farm equipment

Steel Wheel John Deere

The fruit stand

Bulk dried fruit

Dried fruit baskets

Bulk beans, peas, and lentils

Pan for gold

If you want to try your luck at finding gold Casa de Fruta will help you part with your money.  You go to the fruit stand or Casa de Sweets and purchase a linen bag of dirt take it to the big water wheel and dump your bag of dirt in a screen then let the water run over it at the water wheel and shake your booty and the screen until you find gold.

We used to let the kids do this each time we stopped here with them on our way to Disneyland.  The cost of the dirt was outweighed by the entertainment value we received from our 7 kids.

“She got more than me”, or “Stop shaking it so hard you’re getting me all wet”, and the delightful tune of “Move over you are taking up my space”, then there was the heartfelt “I’m going to find gold before you do so there (tongue stuck out for emphasis)”.  There was a lot of hollering and scolding each other but there was always laughter along with all the other racket.  There was always at least two kids that were not quite ready to go and they were sure they had a dud bag and wanted to try another.

This trip with just Joe and I was not the same.  Echoes of the children were in my ears as we wandered around the grounds.  Long ago memories of them all running from one place to another, playing tag out in the huge parking lot, playing hide and seek behind all the huge trees, asking for bread to feed the ducks, the clammer of voices raised when they all wanted to ride the train.  The plaintive “Please, oh please Daddy” from each of the kids when they wanted something.

This was the very first time we left without buying anything except our dinner at the restaurant.  Not the same at all.  Oh well, it was peaceful and restful as we walked about with no demands on us to be somewhere in a hurry.  A leisurely afternoon.

You can check out the website of Casa de Fruta.  They do mail orders for dried fruits, nuts, beans, lentils, peas, and they even ship produce.  If you are going to be in their vicinity it is worth a stop.  If anyone you know has a fascination with old vehicles and farming equipment this is the place to see it all.  Rusted, dented, and derelict it all is but you can certainly see what they used to use in farming long ago.


About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

10 responses to “Casa de Fruta

  • Maureen Mathis

    Thanks for sharing your feelings about remembering the kids’ sounds and how different it made your visit. My kids are getting older (19,16 and 13), so their sounds have changed, but I’m trying to savor them because I know they’ll only be memories very soon. But then, we can look forward to the sounds of grandchildren! AND we’ll get to give them back when they’ve worn us out! Yay for that!

    Enjoy this break in your schedule! When are you coming home? I miss seeing your face! Do we have any more store interviews coming to You Tube?

    • Message In A Fold

      Thank you Maureen. When our kids were younger they nearly drove me mad with all the racket they made. Squabbling, tattling, laughing, the constant chatter. Trying to keep up with them was a challenge sometimes when we were away from home on these long trips. Now when we go to places we shared with the kids both Joe and I find the places lacking something. That something is our kids. It is more poignant because we don’t live close to them and getting the family all together is quite a bit of a chore. We do get it done occasionally and when we do then it is fun. Grown up versions of the squabbling, tattling, laughing, and constant chatter. It is so funny listening to their stories about the visits to places when they were younger.

      As far as the next instalment of scrapbook stores, I don’t have a clue. There were none in the Red Bluff area and there are tons of them down in the LA area. I’m on the lookout for another store. I might be able to do a quick one here – with no notice before hand – but probably not. I will get another scrapbook store interview going soon. Especially since I’m in a better frame of mind for it now.

      Home? What is that? I think we will make a hit and run at it next week. I can’t think or plan too far in advance. Only until I know for sure where we will be at any given time. So for the next couple days I’m just going to just go with the flow and relax. It will be soon enough before we get going on the next round of on the road.

      I saw your cards on Facebook. Girl…you’ve got talent there. I loved seeing them. Sounds like you get a bunch made then take them to your local coffee shop and they get bought off the shelf quickly. Good for you!!

      Love you Big Sis, have a fantastic week.

  • Shelly

    What a neat sounding place. I’m telling you Leslie You have a gift here I am always rivited to your posts you are so descriptive and imformative. You could really be a tour guide 🙂 I’m glad you and Joe had a restful day. Thanks sharing your experiences with me.


    • Message In A Fold

      I forgot to mention there is a small hotel and RV parking area at Casa de Fruta so you can stay over and enjoy the place a bit more. The hotel rooms are RUSTIC and they charge for the charm of it. The RV parking is more in line with what other places charge plus the RV spots are nestled in a tree grove so there is tons of shade.

      I’m glad you find my blatherings informative and descriptive. Maybe when you and your family go on a vacation west you might be able to stop and experience this place yourself. It really is a great place to stop and stretch your legs after a long day of being cooped up in a vehicle.

      Hope all is well at your home now, things have settled back down to normal and bath time is back to being the way it used to be.

  • Lynn Claridge

    Aahhh Leslie your day sounded tranquil and relaxing; I know you missed the sound of your children but you and Joe needed the time out to chill and what lovely memories to savour anyway.
    The Casa de Fruta sounds idyllic. I don’t think I would have enjoyed the journey there though with such steep gradients, that would have been white knuckle time for me too and the brakes sure would have been smoking!!!! Actually there would have been a hole in the floor on the passenger side where I would have tried to apply the brakes!

    Enjoy the rest of your chill time.
    Love and hugs
    Lynn x

    • Message In A Fold

      The first time I went with Joe down those hills I liked to have broke my arms hanging on to the seat. By the time we got to the bottom and on flat land you would have thought I ran the whole way I was breathing so hard. The people here are so used to driving these roads they zip around you and weave in and out of traffic.

      Tranquil and relaxing about sums up our couple hours spent at Casa de Fruta. It was fun wandering the paths and being in familiar surroundings. Just the thing we needed for jangled nerves and letting go of stress, even though the trip down was a bit of a fright. We’ve been able to enjoy our down time and get some much needed rest.
      Love and hugs,

  • Nancy

    Hi Leslie,
    Remember me? lol I know it’s been a long time! I finally had a chance to catch up on things and your blog was one of those things! I just read everything I’ve missed. Wow…you’be been busy! Sounds like you’re in a better frame of mind now and that’s a good thing! We’ve had a lot going on but it’s all settled down here too. I’ll be around now for a pep talk if it’s needed! haha So watch for it!
    Be safe!

    • Message In A Fold

      Hey, too busy for me? What’s up with that?! – Not really 🙂 (or as our kids would say “Just Kidding” which would drive Joe mad)

      I’m glad to hear that your life has settled down and you are back on track. I guess everyone gets a dose of stress now and again. Some of us deal with it in a not so lady like fashion. When I need a pep talk in the future I will holler at you 🙂 We’ve had a few days off now without having to get up early and beat down the road. Just that is enough to ease the stress. Things are getting back to normal in our lives and it is a welcome thing.

      I’m hoping for a bit more time so I can check out your blog and see what you are doing with your Scripture Challenges. I really need to put a reference in my blog about your blog so people can see the awesome work you do.

      Talk to you later —- Leslie

      • Nancy

        I know, I know! Hard to believe I was THAT busy, right? lol Let’s see…my daughter’s University Convocation, my father-in-law’s estate farm auction (which my husband spent the last 6 months preparing for), our 25th anniversary, another graduation, company coming and going…just a few things like that! There should be a couple of new things on my blog since you’ve been there. I’ve started another new challenge as well, so I have some 2 page 12 X 12 layouts added. I’d love to hear what you think!

      • Message In A Fold

        I’ve been to your blog. Love your new entries. Your work is really fantastic.

        You’ve been busy busy. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your Father-In-Law. I hope the farm auction went well, especially after all the work your husband did in getting it set up. Happy 25th Anniversary to you and your hubby. Where has the time gone? I guess our children are our meters in that. Watching them grow and become adults, looking back on the days when they were little and you were chasing them all around keeping them from putting things in their mouths and out of trouble. I have come to believe that raising our children has been a privilege – not a right – a privilege. So congratulations on the graduations also.

        What it is that Tigger says? TTFN – Ta ta for now.

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