Locally Grown Strawberries in Redlands
April 24, 2012 1 Comment
I have written about local agriculture before (Growing and Selling Crops and Agricultural Products in the Inland Empire , Front Yard Fruit Stands in Redlands). I have fond memories of strawberries from a farm in Highland, which no longer exists, Hamamura Farms. Hamamura’s was at 28214 E. Third Street in Highland in the mid-1960s, and I remember visiting last in 1990, though its exact location escapes me. The Highland Area Historical Society says that in 1952:
Ruth and Ronald Hamamura, and children Dennis, Roger, and Roy, arrived
from Honolulu, Hawaii, and purchased their East Third Street property.
They built a large glass green house for an exotic plant nursery. A
disastrous freeze that winter killed most of their unprotected stock.
Ronald went to work for Sears for fifteen years. The Hamamura’s had 10
acres, but no water, so they leased 15 acres from the Rozemas, their
neighbors to the west. In 1960, the Hamamuras sank a well on their own
ten acres and have since become outstanding strawberry producers in the
area. Also grown are Maui style onions and vegetables.
Roy Hamamura returned to Hawaii and grew strawberries in Maui. Hamamura’s ceased to exist in the 1990s, but local strawberries are still available in Mentone and Redlands.
You can still get locally grown strawberries in Redlands. One such place is Jacinto Farms, which grows strawberries in Mentone and sells them at their two stores: the original at 2108 Mentone Boulevard, Mentone, CA and the (somewhat (January 27, 2012)) new location in Redlands, 1269 Brookside Avenue, in Redlands.
The Redlands location is a good example of adaptive reuse: it is a former gas station on Brookside, not too far from a Mobil station, and just down the road from the Stater Bros. on Alabama Street. When I was Assistant City Attorney, residents on Magnolia were rightly complaining about the former gas station being vandalized, so it is good that it went from neighborhood eyesore to a place to buy local produce.
Jacinto Farms produces the citrus that Redlands and Mentone is famous for, but also has other seasonal fruits and vegetables. Expect to pay Market Night prices, and they are conventionally grown, but the fruit is fresh and produced less than four miles away, according to the Jacinto Farms website.
I’ve eaten the strawberries from the Redlands “stand” three times, most recently about fifteen minutes ago. They are much better than the imported (either from Oxnard or Mexico) strawberries that Stater Bros. had as a loss-leader recently. If you pass by on Brookside, take a look. Right now, in addition to oranges, strawberries and avocados, they have lettuce, small artichokes, and onions, among other produce. Though they are open until 6:30 p.m., the selection of non-oranges and avocados is much better at around noon.