Maggiore is a name synonymous with U-pick cherries in East County, and for good reason. Along with the Nunn and Seko families, the Maggiore’s helped pioneer the phenomenon that today sees more than 180,000 fresh fruit lovers swarming to area farms each year. It’s safe to say a lot has changed over the 35 years or so that they’ve been at it.
“We used to U-pick on Balfour Road, right where the Chevron station is now,” said Mark Maggiore. ”Not much picking goes on there now.”
Today the family runs both Maggiore Cherry Ranch (Harvest Time Member #5) and Maggiore Ranches (Member #8). “It’s a good life. It’s hard work, and it can be inconsistent as far as the fruit goes, but I love working with the trees, the vegetables and the people. It’s always a challenge until the season begins and it all happens.”
And the best part of it all?
“The kids. When they come out of the orchard with a bag of cherries in their hands, cherries all over their faces, and looking like they just think it’s the best thing in the whole world.”
Mark thinks May 11 will be opening day for Brooks cherries this year, with Coral Champagne coming in right behind. As with all U-pick farms, it’s best to call to check availability before heading out.
Maggiore Cherry Ranch is on Walnut Boulevard in Brentwood, a half-mile south of Balfour Road. Maggiore Ranches is on Camino Diablo in Byron, a half-mile east of Vasco Road. You can check on the status of both farms by calling (925) 634-4176.