By February 4, 2024 0 Comments Read More →

BigView – Almond Beauty & Tasty Treats

By Chris Murphy

It’s Almond Blossom season and people from all over the world will be coming to the Modesto area to enjoy one of natures most beautiful scenes. Just like cherry blossoms in Japan or Washington DC, or the turning of the leaves in New England, a similar experience can be found here in our backyard. As by magic, thousands and thousands of acres turn white or light pink with almond blossoms. There are some darker pink peach and cherry blossoms mixed in too, but you can drive, ride or walk for hours checking out this natural wonder. There are millions of trees and the views are amazing.

Since this is Modesto USA and home of American Graffiti and the under-construction Graffiti USA Museum, Visit Modesto has put together a great Almond Blossom “Cruise”. This cruise has been capturing the attention of travel guides from around the world. When visitors get here, they can visit great places like Rodin Family Fruit Stand to begin your travels. Some of these tours you can do on your own, and Visit Modesto has a couple of pre-planned tours and even a luxury coach tour where you can enjoy while someone else drives.

You can download a map for the Almond Blossom Cruise and go at your own pace and do your thing. There are great restaurants, parks, cafes, and bars along the way so you can enjoy the parts you want.

The easiest place to start is from downtown Modesto. You have two choices, there is a west side tour through Wood Colony where you can explore an orchard at Richard’s Ranch and maybe even do a painting.

If you head north, you can visit Stewart and Jaspar in McHenry Village (see more below) on your way to Rodin Farms Fruit Stand on Claribel Road and Oakdale. You can really get a feel about what is going to happen in their orchards and the abundance of their produce stand and even walk in the orchard and get some selfies. Note, let’s make sure that the Rodin Fruit Stand gets preserved in the wake of the North Valley Corridor project.

Visit Modesto also has an audio tour and a special Modesto Symphony soundtrack you can enjoy while you drive and explore. There is even an AP for the Almond Blossom Cruise.

Next on the Cruise is Oakdale California to Oakdale Cheese. Great pit stop and tasty treats.

From there, go to the 50s Road House at Knights Ferry. Take the scenic way along Rodden Rd to Orange Blossom Road into Knights Ferry and check out the historic covered bridge and the general store. Stop off and enjoy some good classic food and drink at the Road House.

Head back in to Oakdale on Highway 12, then head south out of town on Albers to the Oakdale Waterford Highway. There are blossoms all along the way.

When you reach Highway 132 (The John Muir Highway), go east to Roberts Ferry. There are many viewings along the way and enjoy snacks at the Roberts Ferry Store.

Then head back into Modesto. Along the way you will find Sciabica Olive Oil Company at 2150 Yosemite and also enjoy the Track 424 brewery.

You will then find yourself back in Downtown Modesto, where many fun watering holes and restaurants will make a great place to relax.

Tasty Treats
One of our local favorites for almond treats can be found at Stewart and Jaspar. Produced at their family farms on the West Side near Patterson, these faves can be enjoyed at their beautiful showcase store in McHenry Village. Make a point to stop by, taste some of the almond treats, do some wine tasting, relax for a bit, and even pick up a gift basket or two or three. One of our favorite items blends two of our areas native treats, apricots AND almonds. Grab a bag and it will be gone before you get home, whereever that may be.
1700 McHenry Ave, Modesto 209-577-6887

When you finish your cruise, take time to relax in downtown Modesto. You can enjoy a movie, a show at the Gallo Center, State Theatre or the Prospect Theatre. There are many places offering live music and great place to have dinner, many with almond specialties. An essential stop is the Rodin Farmer’s Market at 10th and J Streets where you can finish with the same family you started with. They offer almond treats of almost any kind and even have honey roasted almond butter, gift baskets and items to take along with you and they have fresh produce, juices and salads to complete your day. Marie Rodin and her team will take good care of you.
Rodin Ranch Farmer’s Market
1001 10th St. Modesto 209-577-2334

If you are in the area on the last weekend in February, visit the Ripon Almond Blossom Festive from the 22nd to the 25th. Since 1962, this has been one of the areas best almond blossom celebrations, with music, parade, baking competition, food vendors, fun, rides, a fun run, a diaper derby and even a Miss Almond Blossom. Check it out at

Magic or Nature? Or both?
It all starts with the pollinators. Without these hard-working bees, this amazing blossom show would not happen and produce fruit and nuts. That’s why you see the boxes of bees everywhere in the early spring. Bees are increasingly at risk as our climate changes, and we need to protect this ecosystem. Modesto has a Pollinator Festival in the LaLoma Native Garden on April 13 where you can learn about these helpful creatures. Also, check out the Pollinator Mural by Phil Murillo at 10th & J Street at the Goat Bar and Gril. Help your own eco system and get some native local honey at Rodin Market downtown at 10th and J or at the Modesto Certified Farmer’s Market, Thursday and Saturdays, 8 am – 1 pm 16th St between, H and I.

You Can Cruise Your Classic Car too.
On February 24th, 10AM-2PM, Join in on the Classic Car Cruise. This cruise starts at Rodin Farms, and tour out to Oakdale, Knights Ferry, via Orange Blossom. Classic Cars will also be on display at all 3 Agriculture stops along the Almond Blossom Cruise. It will be a great way to enjoy our Graffiti spirit while you check out the amond blossoms.

Blossom note: Remember, this is nature and the blossoms may be a bit early or a bit late and if there are really hard rains, the view may not be as great.

Learn more at:
Almond Board of California:<>
The Almond Blossom Cruise:<>
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About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.