Beloved Fresno strawberry stand open but hidden by road construction
Kao’s Strawberry Farm is on the corner of West Shaw and Grantland avenues, where it has been doing business for six years.
But when Nancy Saetern’s family went to open their seasonal strawberry stand in March, they found themselves stranded.
“It’s bad enough because a lot of people don’t know we’re open and have been open for about a month.” – Nancy Saetern
Instead of normal road traffic, family members encountered piles of dirt, earthmovers and road closure signs.
“It’s bad enough because a lot of people don’t know that we are open and have been open for about a month,” said Saetern, whose parents own the stand.
“My dad was like, we’ve got to keep this going as best we can. And we’re just trying to make so many vegetables and fruits for everyone. “
Long term shutdown
So what is going on?
Shaw Avenue between Hayes Avenue and Tisha Avenue will be closed until June 22 for improvements to allow residential construction, according to City Hall.
Meanwhile, the strawberry season peaks before ending in May.
In a Facebook post on March 16, the booth wrote: “Recently they closed the 4 roads that lead to our booth, so there’s a chance we won’t open tomorrow unless they open one. street.
The post caught the attention of Fresno City Council member Mike Karbassi, whose Northwest District encompasses the region. The city opened up a way for traffic to pass.
“Originally there were closures both ways,” Karbassi said. “When the city found out, we reached out to their contractors and said, ‘We have to have some sort of access.’ “
Karbassi also said the detour signs were confusing, so he asked the public works department to clarify them.
How to get there
Saetern says the best way to get to the booth is from the north. She says if anyone is taking Hwy 99, get off at Herndon and head towards Grantland.
Grantland “will bring you straight to us,” Saetern says.
The stand is open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.
2020 was a banner season
Saetern says the booth has had a good 2020 despite the pandemic.
“COVID actually brought us more customers because no one really wanted to shop in-store,” Saetern said.
To combat the construction block, Saetern posts on Facebook, Instagram and Nextdoor to let people know they’re open. However, she estimates that the booth’s activity is down by 50%.
Parents came from Laos
Saetern says his parents came to Fresno from Laos after leaving refugee camps in the 1970s.
“In the beginning, they were actually helping other strawberry growers,” Saetern says. “After my parents had their own funds, they decided to start their own farm and this is the one we have now.
The farm is just behind the stand.
The future of the Kao strawberry farm
There are several subdivisions that develop around the farm.
GVWire asked Saetern if she and her family intended to retire from farming with so many houses encroaching on all sides.
“I’m not too sure about future plans, but I like the fact that there will be more homes around us because that equates to more business,” she replied.