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   About Casa de Fruta - PACHECO PASS

The fertile Pacheco Pass area, which now hosts Casa de Fruta, was, for centuries, the home of the Ausaymus Indians. These Indians lived peacefully off the land and used a natural artesian spring which they called "Bright Bubbling" as a year-round source of fresh water. This spring and its location would prove to be important in the years to come.

A path was carved into the area by Indians who traveled from the coast or the San Joaquin Valley to trade. After the establishment of the California Missions, the trail was also used by the Mission Padres to travel to the San Joaquin Valley to attempt to convert the Indians in Central California. Military forces also traveled the trail.

The discovery of gold in 1848 meant great changes to the area now known as Pacheco Pass. It became the main travel route from coastal California to the mines. This increased traffic led to the utilization of the area's rich soil to cultivate fruit trees and vineyards. The land also hosted cattle, sheep, horses and chickens.

How some current local landmarks got their names:

  • Pacheco Pass
    Named for Don Francisco Perez Pacheco, who's land grant from Mexico covered an area from San Juan Bautista to Gilroy and to the present-day Casa de Fruta and beyond.

  • Los Banos
    Originally a spot along the San Joaquin River where Father Arroyo enjoyed bathing (Los Banos del Padre Arroyo).

  • San Luis Reservoir
    Originally a lovely pool of water found by Lt. Gabriel Moraga of the San Francisco Presidio. He dedicated the area to Saint Aloysisus which in Spanish translates into San Luis Gonzaga.

  • Soap Lake
    Salt that was gathered from the shores of this lake (between Gilroy and Casa de Fruta) was sold to the military. The salt was used as an ingredient to make soap.

  • Bell Station
    Tavern established along Pacheco Pass when it was a toll road in the 1860's. When Lafayette F. Bell purchased it, it became known as Bell Station.

  • Casa de Fruta
    In English it means House of Fruit. In 1908 the first orchards were planted by the Great Uncles of the Clara Zanger family.


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Significant Dates in Casa de Fruta History:


1908 Our Great Uncle Joseph Bisceglia, on a trip to purchase draft horses, is impressed with the towering mustard growing wild near the old Pacheco Bridge. Plants first Orchard in Pacheco Valley.
1938 Clara Bisceglia Cribari Zanger inherited twenty (20) acres of cherry trees in the Pacheco Valley.
1943 Clara's three teenaged sons open up a cherry stand on Pacheco Pass Highway.
1940's -50's The orchard operation develops and expands to include prunes, walnuts, apricots, pears and cherries. Meanwhile, they expand to seven (7) seasonal cherry stands in Southern Santa Clara Valley.
July 18, 1967   A one-hundred and four (104) seat, 24-hour Restaurant opens near the busiest Cherry stand.
1968 Gift Shop and Chevron Station open; White deer/Buffalo area added. Children's playground a treat for children and their parents.
1970 Casa de Burger (Hamburger Stand) and ninety-nine (99) space R.V. Park open.
1971 Shell Service Station opens.
1977 Fourteen (14) room Inn at Casa de Fruta opens.
1980 Country Store opens.
1982 Country Park opens for picnics, family reunions and corporate events.
1990 First Casa de Fruta Orchard Outlet opens at Valley Fair Shopping Center in San Jose.

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Casa de Fruta - Food Baskets and Gifts - From Our California Orchards to You Since 1908
From Our California Orchards to You Since 1908.
10021 Pacheco Pass Highway, Hollister CA 95023 USA
Mail Order: 800-543-1702 Business Office: 408-842-7282 FAX: 408-842-0248