MODESTO — At the heart of California’s Central Valley, agricultural hub Modesto blushes with petals each February.
Millions of tiny white and pink flowers fill branches of almond trees in anticipation of the year’s coming harvests. The tourism office, Visit Modesto, eagerly awaits and prepares for visiting petal-peepers from around the world.
For the fourth year, visitors can explore the self-guided Almond Blossom Cruise, an “agri-tourism” driving tour through the region, supporting local farms, businesses and attractions, marrying agriculture with tourism.
The Visit Modesto team leveraged their relationships with the Almond Board of California, area landmarks and a bevy of local growers and producers to create the Almond Blossom Cruise.
Showing off the best of the region, the route is packed with gorgeous views and encourages stops at farm stands, scenic bridges and local restaurants. A downloadable audio tour for purchase supplements the tour, highlighting the history of the region, interesting facts about Modesto-native celebrities and agricultural tidbits. While most of the orchards are best viewed from the car, a few farms provide a closer look at the trees from their fruit stands; only two allow picnicking and walking through the orchard.
Visit Modesto CEO Todd Aaronson sees the season as an opportunity for both visitors and locals to celebrate the agricultural culture of Modesto.
“The Central Valley produces over 80% of the world’s almonds, Aaronson said. “ The Almond Blossom Cruise and audio tour allow visitors to immerse themselves in regional agriculture in a unique and enjoyable way. Blossom season provides plenty of ‘Insta-worthy’ moments and opportunities to bring home local specialties. At the end of the day, though, it’s the appreciation for our farmers and agricultural bounties that cruisers go home with as the most valuable souvenir.”
The almond trees typically bloom between the first week of February and mid-March, depending on the weather patterns of the season. The Visit Modesto team provides petal forecasting on their website along with travel information to see the blossoms.
See AlmondBlossomCruise.com for more information along with instructions for purchasing the audio tour.