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Family fun is fruitful at Heritage Park

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Adam Young and his sons Branden and Ryan Young experienced for the first time picking their own oranges at Heritage Park in La Verne on Feb. 11. Heritage Park will offer orange picking until March. / photo by Cassandra Egan

Mariela Patron
Staff Writer

Families and friends got a taste of the past when they came together to be part of La Verne’s orange picking tradition in one of the city’s oldest preserved groves Saturday at Heritage Park.

For only $5 per bag, parents found the orange grove a great place to bring their children and show them something new.

“We made this a family event and also invited some friends,” Paulina Orantes from Cypress said. “We love to explore and see what California has to offer.”

Orange picking was an enjoyable experience for adults and children.

“This is fun; I am loving this,” Isaac Acosta, Orantes’ 10-year-old son said.

Some members of the Mom’s Club, which brings stay at home moms together and organizes field trips and activities for the organization, brought their children orange picking and made the grove busy with running children.

Heritage Park is also a place for visitors to reminisce and be taken back to a different era.

Heritage Park is four acres and is site to the early 1900s citrus grove, along with the Weber House, which has been preserved in its original 1880s state.

“It’s like going back in time,” Kathy Briggs, who grew up on a dairy, said. “We are farmers at heart.”

The La Verne oranges also brought people visiting from other states a chance to take a taste of California back to their hometown.

“We are going to take some back home if we don’t eat them first,” Irene Sparks from Vancouver, Washington, said.

Most people left Heritage Park with at least two bags of oranges and said they were thinking about different ways to make the oranges useful.

Although most pickers were planning on just eating the oranges or squeezing them into juice, other people were planning on making them into jam or looking for other types of orange recipes.

“We are planning to throw them at the neighbors,” Richard Briggs, who grew up on a grove, said.

Although most orange pickers on Saturday were first time visitors, some keep coming back for the quality of the fruit.

Sofia Lopez has been coming to pick Heritage Park’s oranges for five years.

“They don’t compare to the store bought ones, these are so sweet,” Lopez said.

The grove includes navel and valencia oranges, which are better for making into juice.

The orchard also includes grapefruit trees and one lemon tree.

Other than picking oranges, visitors were also able to receive a free tour of the Weber House, one of the oldest houses in La Verne.

The Heritage Foundation is in charge of protecting the half acre citrus ranch whose preservation was threatened in 1984 along with the Weber House.

The Model A Ford Club, which preserves Model A Ford cars built from 1928 to 1931, was also visiting the grove.

The club brought their cars and exhibited them next to the orange grove for any visitors who were interested in taking pictures or learning more about the vehicles.

The Heritage Foundation orange picking event began Jan. 7 and will continue every Saturday through mid-March.

Membership for the Heritage Foundation is open for anybody who is interested in preserving La Verne’s history.

Mariela Patron can be reached at

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