Just off the blacktop in Dairyville, CA sits Julia’s Fruit Stand, a friendly farm market where the aroma of vine-ripened tomatoes and juicy peaches welcomes visitors from Memorial Day through Halloween.
Kathy and James Brandt originally opened Julia’s Fruit Stand with the intention of selling extra produce from their home garden to fund their daughter’s education. With farming in their blood, James farms walnuts and prunes with his father and Kathy’s grandfather moved to the area in 1945 to farm, working their own land was a natural choice. The Brandts painted red and white signs – that can be seen along Highway 99E as you approach the farm – repurposed an outbuilding into a storefront and named the stand after their first daughter who was one year old at the time.
Julia’s Fruit Stand was born in the spring of 2001. With careful cultivation, the small family farm has blossomed into a huge success, allowing the Brandts to fund all three daughters’ educations.
Julia, 13, Jayne, 11, and Jordan, 7, all help around the farm. In fact, customers can purchase t-shirts named after each daughter and her respective interest in the farm: Julia’s Fruit Stand, Jayne’s Garden and Jordan’s Peaches.
Though the Brandt family is involved in the day-to-day farm activities, which includes managing 10 acres of peaches and 3 lush gardens, they understand that having good help is what makes their farm a success. Julia’s employs 12 high school and college students who do the picking, man the Dairyville stand and greet eager customers at local farmers markets.
The Brandt family offers a variety of picked-daily produce at their quaint roadside stand: tomatoes, peaches, apricots, nectarines, okra, Red Candy and Yellow Candy onions, Ambrosia cantaloupe, and Crimson Red and Crimson Sweet watermelons as well as a wide variety of cucumbers and squash. Pumpkins are available in the fall.
During growing season when the Brandts harvest a whopping 100,000 pounds of tomatoes, market goers will find an abundance of Julia’s heirloom tomatoes at farmers markets in Redding, Anderson, Burney and Yreka. Flavorful varieties like Cherokee Purple, Valencia, Lemon Boy, Green Zebra, Red Zebra, Black Prince, Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Brandywine and Chocolate Cherry fill their booth with a rainbow of color.
And Julia’s continues to branch out providing fresh-from-the-vine fruits and vegetables to local restaurants like Moonstone Bistro and The Savory Spoon in Redding, and La Grange Café in Weaverville.
Though planting, tending and harvesting can be daunting tasks, the Brandts continue to farm their land. Why? They believe in providing healthy and tasty food to the community, and they want their children to learn that hard work and determination are keys to success.
Follow the red and white signs to Julia’s Fruit Stand located at 11475 Hwy 99E in Dairyville, or pick up your juicy tomatoes at several North State farmers market locations.
For more information, call (530) 354-4775.