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Family-owned fruit stand becomes popular tourist destination

Travel along the Pacheco Pass Highway near Hollister and you can't miss a star attraction just off the road - a fruit stand with few rivals.



Travel along the Pacheco Pass Highway near Hollister and you can't miss a star attraction just off the road - a fruit stand with few rivals. Casa de Fruta is the most visible part of a multi-faceted family farm that began nearly 100 years ago.

Casa de Fruta is a real, live American success story that blossomed from the roots of an immigrant Italian family. Since 1908 when the original ancestors planted the first orchards in the Pacheco Valley, Casa de Fruta has grown into a diversified operation encompassing a variety of business ventures. In the 1940s brothers George, Joseph and Eugene Zanger opened a cherry stand on the Pacheco Pass Highway. Encouraged by their mother Clara, the young entrepreneurs expanded, and over time the business grew from a small roadside cherry stand to eventually what it is today - a multifaceted resort destination for visitors from all over the country. The two remaining brothers, Joseph and Eugene, along with their families, now operate the company.

Nearly 3 million travelers stop here every year and are well taken care of, as the area has a lot to offer-- a restaurant, fruit stand, wine shop, as well as several gift shops that feature nuts, candy, dried fruit and fine meats and cheeses. The destination is great for families as well, with a petting zoo, train, picnic area and playground to entertain kids of all ages.

But at the center of the business is the 500 acres of crops where most of the products come from. In addition, a Salinas-area farm provides 30,000 pounds of chopped cactus leaves that are dried daily in an innovative trial program utilizing their prune dryers. The end product is used as an ingredient in a nutrition supplement.

For more information, visit www.casadefruta.com.


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