I was born in Fresno and grew up here, as did my husband and my parents. I'm thrilled to be raising my young son here too! I've gone away for school and spent brief periods in other parts of California, but have always ended up homesick for my hometown.
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Something momentous happened last week.
Spring has sprung here in the Valley. As anyone who’s been in Fresno for longer than a season knows, spring is brief but blissful. It’s imperative to get out and enjoy it while it’s here!
And one of the best, time-honored ways to mark this short season is to check out the Blossom Trail.
This is prime time to experience the trees in bloom, as well as to witness the fruitful orange orchards before the last of the trees are stripped.
Orange trees are pretty easy to identify, but if you’re interested in being able to tell a pear tree from a plum tree, here’s a handy guide from Kingsburg Orchards that will help you identify trees by their blooms.
Where to Start Your Trip
I think the advice to start off at Simonian’s is pretty solid. If you’ve never been to this unique farm in Fresno before, you are in for a real treat. FresYes has written about Simonian Farms before—it really is something you should make a point to visit.
It was a bright and breezy day when I was there, and there was plenty to look at outside. Check out the retro signage and amazing collections of antique farm vehicles and other equipment on display. (I have it on good authority that a vintage tractor from my Auntie Goldie’s Madera Ranch is out there somewhere!)
Duck into the General Store for the old-timey ambiance of days gone by, where you can sample and purchase rows of local products straight from the tree, hive, flock—you name it. They even carry Fresno State ice cream and eggs from local chickens in the refrigerated case.
If the blooms are too much for you right now, it’s also a great stop in the fall, when they have their Pumpkin Patch going on. Oh, and don’t forget to look up—it’s a Central Valley-centric feast for the eyes everywhere inside as well as out.
On the Trail
Back in the car, it was a simple matter of turning a corner and we were on the official Blossom Trail. Following the signs is a piece of cake, although the map came in handy when I occasionally veered off course. (Hey, it happens.)
It was amazing to drive past dark trees loaded with cottony pink and white drifts of blossoms, flanked by groves still studded with bright oranges. With the snow-capped mountains as a backdrop, it was like being in a wholesome, agricultural fairytale. And I wasn’t alone in my quest. As I pulled over frequently to take pictures, I saw others doing the same.
Reminder: these are working ag areas. While I didn’t encounter anything out of the ordinary, online reviews mention barking farm dogs, so beware. I just did my best to be respectful, and stuck to the shoulder as much as possible so as not to trespass or disturb anything. Even sticking to that policy, I managed to grab some gorgeous photos!
When you’ve soaked up as much springtime magic as you can, you may be in need of refreshment. In keeping with the spirit of the day, I decided to check out the Blossom Trail Café in Sanger.
If you’re looking for unpretentious, solid coffee shop/diner fare, the Café will be right up your alley. The menu is surprisingly diverse, and breakfast sounded good, so I tried out the Monterrey Omelette. Not fancy, but so good; a piping-hot omelette with melty cheese, authentic guacamole, and perfectly crisp bacon. And great service, even though they were super busy.
Blossom Trail Tips
Traveling the Blossom Trail is definitely a winner of a way to celebrate a break in all the wonderful rain we’ve been having. Here are some tips for having a great day:
• Check out the Fresno County Blossom Trail website in advance. Blossom time is brief, so in order to optimally plan your trek, you’ll want to check updates. The time between the end of February and the later part of March is the best time to go.
• Consult your weather app. You want to see these beauties in full sun, and those country roads can get scary in the rain, anyway.
• Start at Simonian Farms. Take the time to look around and maybe even buy something while you’re there!
• Follow the Google map of the trail. In fact, you’ll want to study it ahead of time so you have a sense of where you’re going. You definitely do not want to be looking at your phone while driving.
• Be respectful of private property. The Blossom Trail is something the public can enjoy, but the blooms are on trees that belong to actual people, so make sure to respect their owners.
• Grab a bite at the Blossom Trail Café. You want the full experience, right?
• Enjoy one of the events planned to celebrate the trail. FresYes writer Sarah compiled a list of races, rides, tours, and festivals happening along the Blossom Trail in the next month.