The Fruit Trees of Stanford

Did you know that prior to becoming “Silicon Valley” the Bay Area used to be called “The Valley of Heart’s Delight?” Apparently, it got this name because of all of the fruit orchards in the area. In the 1930s, San Jose, which is just south of Palo Alto, was the world’s largest cannery and dried fruit packing center. El Camino Real (a major highway through Palo Alto that connects San Diego with San Francisco) used to a a dirt road line with orchard trees between Palo Alto and San Jose.

Although there aren’t many orchards left in the immediate area, fruit trees are not infrequently seen. The plum and peach season seems to have just ended, and we’re starting to get into pears and apples. Fall is coming! But some citrus (like lemons) are also ripe, which confuses me.

There’s a map of Stanford’s campus that identifies all of the fruit trees in the area. When Nate visited me, we tried to find as many as we could.

At firs we weren’t having much luck…the campus was pretty, but the first few fruit trees we tried to find weren’t where the map said they would be.

And then, we found our first citrus trees!

The photo above is of a citrus tree in a small cluster of them that were marked on the map. I believe this may have been an orange.

After that, we found tons of fruit trees! Mostly citrus trees, to be honest. Lots of lemons, limes, oranges, and pomelos.

But also some interesting ones, like kumquats

….and Buddha’s hand.

I also found some volunteer tomato plants that had sprung up next to a community garden. They didn’t seem to be well-cared for, so I decided to harvest the tomatoes. Yum yum!

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