Meet the Aguilars. They're the founding family and current owners of Mandarin Hill Orchards, and they've accumulated more than 70 years of storied history on the land where their groves lie. They've battled tree diseases, sudden frosts, and the ravages of time by combining new technologies with age-old farming techniques, never favoring one too much over the other. Their labor has resulted in a delicious crop of citrus, which they'll happily share with visitors to their foothills farm.
But a visit to Mandarin Hill is about more than just the fruit itself. Visitors are also treated to demonstrations of how the farmers pick each orange by hand to ensure ripeness and flavor. Tom Aguilar, the current head farmer, discusses how he led the charge to graft seedlings onto aging mandarin trees, helping to preserve plants that first emerged from seeds back in the 1880s. He also points out the photoelectric solar panels that line the property and keep the farm sustainable and energy-efficient. To the family, each tale of hardship overcome or innovation adopted makes the fruit of their labor taste a little sweeter, a feeling they hope their visitors take away with them.
Bushnells Landscape Industries boasts a vast array of décor for outdoor spaces and gardening tools, as well as flowers and plants, 90% of which are grown on-site. Shoppers can browse the nursery garden and green thumb through locally grown annuals ($3.98 each; three for $10.50) to add a splash of color to black-and-white front yards that were built in the 1950s. As 5-gallon hybrid roses ($27.98 each), 7-inch tapered candles ($4.50 each), or Cretan hand-thrown pottery ($75+) await to brighten porches, patios, and yards, thick-leaved succulents and spiny cacti ($4.98–$25.98) dissuade undiscerning vegetarians from devouring entire gardens.
Patriot Farms is a full-service equine training, boarding and rehabilitation facility. We take pride in offering year-round riding lessons for students of all ages and levels, Hunter/ Jumper Training, equine rehab, summer camps, celebration parties and superb, complete care for horses.
Every October, the quiet vegetables fields at Bastiao Farms come alive with the laughter and shrieks of the annual Halloween festival. On one side of the grounds, a motor-powered train makes its way through the haunted corn maze, a massive, growing labyrinth supplemented by three additional corn and hay-bale mazes plus a Halloween-themed pumpkin patch. In other areas of the grounds, children and adults alike can navigate historically engaging sights that include a one-room schoolhouse and a scaled-down Wild West town featuring wooden saloons, storefronts, inns, and a covered wagon that secretly dreams of becoming a hardtop.
Since 1974, Leone Equestrians has saddled students upon gentle steeds amid the six arenas, pastures, and professional all-weather footing of its show stable. Drawing from years of international horse-show experience, professional instructors guide students of all experience levels through hunter and jumper techniques, providing students with an alternative travel method to mule-pulled shopping carts. Students learn to groom, saddle, and care for their horses, and may linger in the stable outside of class times to witness staff members exercising the noble beasts. Students should prepare for lessons with helmets, long pants, and heeled boots, and abstain from wearing loose jewelry or cumbersome chain-mail veils.