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Orange grove celebrates La Verne's roots

Marie Kelly and her grandson, Justin Boultwood, were among many from the La Verne community at Heritage Park Saturday for the opportunity to pick oranges for purchase. The event marks the ninth year that the park has hosted orange picking for the community. The orange groves will be open every Saturday until March 20 for those who may want to go orange picking this spring. / photo by Christopher Guzman

Marie Kelly and her grandson, Justin Boultwood, were among many from the La Verne community at Heritage Park Saturday for the opportunity to pick oranges for purchase. The event marks the ninth year that the park has hosted orange picking for the community. The orange groves will be open every Saturday until March 20 for those who may want to go orange picking this spring. / photo by Christopher Guzman

Rachel Smith
Staff Writer

It’s orange picking time at Heritage Park in La Verne. Families, schools and people from the surrounding communities can come out to the orange groves at Heritage Park every Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from January through March to enjoy a taste of La Verne’s finest oranges.

The park is located on 5001 Via De Mansion.

Ron Baur, vice president of the La Verne Heritage Foundation, was happy to admit that Saturdays have been crowded and people need to get to the groves before the orange picking time is up.

“Oranges run out usually by end of March or the bees come and take over,” Baur said.

Preserving the orange groves and keeping the orange picking history alive is the Heritage Foundation’s main goal.

It has been running since 1985.

It is made up of hard-working, dedicated volunteers from the La Verne community.

These individuals give their time and talents to ensure the history of La Verne’s orange groves live on for future generations to taste.

“The oranges taste great and the price is right,” said Kasey Kilkenny, a mother from Chino.

Each bag of oranges can be purchased for just $5.

Baur said on average 200 bags of oranges are sold each Saturday.

Families can enjoy a fun Saturday and tasty treat without breaking the bank.

Heritage Park will also host the Spring Squeeze this March.

Spring Squeeze is an opportunity for local school children to experience sweet orange treats, tractor rides, and hands on history lessons about the orange groves.

If there are enough volunteers on the day of a field trip, the children will also receive a tour of the Weber House.

It is one of the oldest homes in La Verne, built in the late 1880s.

It was also the home of long time La Verne resident John Weber.

Robin Molina, President of the La Verne Heritage Foundation, said the children would have plenty of opportunity to learn exactly how the ranchers worked on the orange groves back in the early 1900s.

Molina also said the Foundation hosts a pumpkin patch in October and a Christmas tree lot during December.

So be sure to check the Heritage Foundations Web site for all the dates and times for the upcoming events.
Volunteers are always needed at the oranges groves of Heritage Park.

Community members interested in volunteering for the La Verne Heritage Foundation, can call Robin Molina at 909-593-2862, or visit www.laverneheritage.org.

Rachel Smith can be reached at rachel.smith@laverne.edu.

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