Local News

The Downtown Report: Early February Edition

Mystery Building

Many industries and endeavors dominated this part of Southern California before it eventually became known as Orange County, and the “second gold rush” took off after farmers started planting oranges and walnuts. Among them were drilling oil wells, raising sheep, hogs, and ostriches, and tapping artisan springs on the Bastanchury Ranch. Most of our farms have given way to homes, schools, parks, an airport, and commercial buildings, yet some of our agricultural history remains.

Those of you who wonder about our Wednesday Certified Farmers Market, well it’s still around at the downtown Community Center at 340 W Commonwealth Avenue from 8:30am to 12:30pm. It’s a bit hidden from view but head to the back parking lot. Vendors and Farmers come from far and wide so check it out, you will find many items that are not found in markets. The Farmers Market at our Downtown Plaza will return on April 7 from 4 to 8pm as part of the popular Fullerton Market.

Back to the building. This wooden structure is of particular interest, given the amazing rustic look and location next to Railroad tracks, which was of critical importance in the success of many agricultural pursuits since produce was shipped by rail. It did not appear that much was going on at the Walnut Avenue location but a sign on the side of the building read OC Produce and that company was tracked down to an office in Irvine. They confirmed they will return to Fullerton by mid February but numerous attempts at more details were fruitless. We’ll will keep shaking the tree and find out exactly when they will return.

Berry Report

The time is not nigh, it is now. First stop, Berumen Farm (on Associated Rd.), currently selling some of the best strawberries this produce fanatic has ever had, no foolin’. Is this Fullerton’s last remaining farm? They grow more than strawberries and wow, Maui onions that are shockingly large and excellent. I have never had this kind of success growing onions, and as you can see, it takes two hands to hold one.

Berumen Farm produce stand on Associated Rd.

Dolores at Berumen Farm.

Sadly, the produce stand on Dale and Malvern appears to be shuttered. There used to be a farm right there and the stand remained open by trucking produce in after the homes and small man-made lake were developed on the acreage. I’ll keep my eye on this place—it’s a shame to see it (with the exception of the empty stand, a vintage produce wagon, and the sign) gone.

This produce stand on Dale and Malvern is not currently open.

Community Gardens

The pandemic created a surge in backyard gardens, a trend that continues. A couple of years back, Glenn Georgieff, who brought us Day of Music, hatched the idea of community gardens while we were tossing ideas around in my kitchen. The first location could be the perennially vacant lot near Walgreens off Wilshire and Raymond, but that did not pan out. A variety of other locations were spotted as well, but time marches on and of course, the project has been slowed by COVID. Yet the idea is still alive and hope springs eternal to provide garden space to those who may not have a back yard but want to try their hand at creating a mini-farm. In case you wondered, community plots are not currently available at the Fullerton Arboretum.

Jensen and Jensen

Robert Jensen suggested I contact Jensen Hallstrom regarding my pursuit of Fullerton farming news. Of course, Jensen and I had collaborated on collecting data and photos on Coyote Hills and the loss of trees when Kimberly-Clark left town, and there is so much info, this story will be two parts at least. For now, we present this historical photo of the world’s largest orange orchard provided by Jensen H via the Fullerton History room with details provided by Walt Johnson for our photo quiz, plus one I don’t recall ever seeing of Sunny Hills Ranch, which was right across Spadra (now Harbor) from where St. Jude is now.

Food News

Interesting to hear Hidalgo’s Cocina & Cocteles is now offering a business lunch and that they will open the restaurant up for meetings, presentations, etc. I was just taking to a friend who I have not seen in years who is a supplier to many restaurants. We were discussing the innovative ideas some have come up with during COVID and this is a another good one. You know how to Google to find them for more info.

Changes

For many years, Nathan and I produced the appropriately named “Imperial Ball” at the Imperial Ballroom on Commonwealth. Of course, the many world-renowned musicians made it a big success, plus the ballroom itself was an inspiration because it was the environment the musical artists and enthusiasts crave but don’t often find. Early on we discovered that Buddy Holly played there for Leo Fender, but for most of its existence, it was a ballroom and was just sitting there not being used, although downstairs was always busy. Ah yes, the Williams Company—Levi’s, and backpacking gear. The place to go for both. The Ball eventually moved on to a larger venue but it’s sad to know the CF Dance Academy announced their closing date of January 30. They were scheduled to offer classes as part of the city of Fullerton “Fullerton Connect Spring Fun for Everyone” program so be advised that part of the program has been cancelled. It’s too amazing of a place to stay vacant so hopefully another business will see the opportunity and make something good happen.

Photo Quiz

The road on the bottom is Brea Boulevard, and the Elks Lodge would be on the far left, just out of the frame. Running through the middle is Spadra, heading north to where St. Jude would eventually be built. The hill to the right of the gully? Hillcrest Park would end up there. Can you name the street that is there now? Send answer to Mike at AllMedia@sbcglobal.net.

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5 replies »

  1. I’ve lived my entire life visiting the fruit stand on Malvern and Dale, but the last time I stopped by the owners said some really terrible things about Mexicans. I’m glad they’re not open and I hope they’ve left Fullerton for good.

  2. The building at the top is Western Marketing’s place only one of two packing houses left. I have always wondered why Brea Blvd isn’t referred to as Spadra Road. It went to Spadra from Anaheim probably before there was even a Fullerton.. What is now Harbor north of the Y went to La Habra and then Whittier.

  3. Just to let you know — Berumen Farm strawberries and produce are found at the Fullerton Certified Farmers’ Market on Wednesday mornings.

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