Tulare County is one of the top agriculture-producing counties in the world, providing more than 83 countries with the staples of a healthy diet. It’s also home to the World Ag Expo. The industrious and hardworking people of this rich agricultural land invite you to experience the “Bread Basket of the World.”
As the heart of the most productive agricultural area in the nation, Tulare County harvests more than 240 different crops and is one of the top dairy producers in the world. Many of our crops are irrigated by snowmelt and waters from the Sierra Nevada.
In early spring, the countryside is vibrant with blossoming fruit trees and wildflowers, while the sweet aroma of orange blossoms fills the air. Our farmers supply markets around the world with fresh produce.
Fall brings bright colors of yellow cornstalks, pumpkin patches and gourd fields. Leaves on the fruit trees and vines turn variations of green, gold, orange and red.
Winter’s cool air helps produce the sweetest oranges in the world. Acres of ripe navel oranges on dark green trees appear to be decorated for the holidays.
Rolling foothills, large cattle ranches and the majestic peaks of the snowcapped Sierra Nevada form a spectacular backdrop.
Fruit stands dot country roads spring through fall, and farmers markets and taste tours are available throughout the Central Valley. The taste of just-picked local produce is deliciously unforgettable.
Tulare County is rich in history. When the county was established in 1852, early settlers found a wild and beautiful land with great potential. The high country provided water, timber and a place to escape the summer heat. The valley floor provided abundant game and rich soil for crops and cattle grazing — all the ingredients to start a new life. Since its beginning, the county has witnessed so much history, including the arrival of the railroad, mining of precious metals, discovery of the giant sequoia trees and the proliferation of irrigation canals – all coming together to create an amazing, countywide history classroom.
Woodlake Botanical Gardens – The first garden of its kind in California, this 13-acre facility near Bravo Lake showcases our region’s rich heritage of citrus, nut and rose cultivation. With more than one mile of gardens, visitors can stroll, bike or use a wheelchair to explore. Visit during peak bloom in April and May to enjoy intoxicating fragrances, and May through July for berries, nuts and fruits. Don’t miss the citrus, exotic fruit and nut orchards, annual and perennial crops, rock and cactus garden, and over two thousand roses acknowledging the rich history of rose hybridizing and propagation in the Central Valley. The Botanical Garden gates are open 8 a.m. to noon, Wednesdays through Sundays. The Rose Garden portion is accessible all year. Admission is free.
Lake Kaweah – is located on the Kaweah River near Lemon Cove and Three Rivers. At normal levels, it has a surface area of 3 square mailes. It is in the foothills below Sequoia National Park and the Sierra Nevada range. High mountains provide a beautiful backdrop for fishing and boating at this popular recreating area, located on the main southern route into Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. For more information and camping reservations, visit www.recreation.gov.
Success Lake and Richard L. Schafer Dam – Located about 8 miles east of Porterville, it is open year-round with 104 total camping and RV sites, many with electric hookups and water. Success Lake also has 1,400 acres of multipurpose wild land with recreation opportunities such as hunting, horseback riding, day hiking, backpacking and bird watching. The lake is ideal for swimming, fishing, motorized and non-motorized boating, waterskiing and jet skiing. Hunting is allowed in accordance with all state Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations and seasons. For more information and to book a campsite, go to www.recreation.gov.
Mooney Grove Park – As the first county park in California and home to enormous oak trees that Visalia has worked hard to preserve and protect, Mooney Grove Park is the perfect place for a family picnic or game of disc golf. Surround yourself with nature and enjoy walking around the grounds. At the park entrance, visit the historic “End of the Trail” statue, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Take a stroll around the lagoon and tour the Tulare County Museum of Farm Labor and Agriculture, which features one of the largest Native American basket collections in California.
Dry Creek Preserve – The first example of an ecologically based aggregate mine reclamation in Tulare County, this fully restored 152-acre nature preserve provides critical habitat for an increasing number of resident and migratory birds, and supports native species such as the great blue heron, the bald eagle and mule deer. When spring arrives, the preserve welcomes visitors with a stunning display of wildflowers. Located just outside of Lemon Cove a short distance off Highway 198, don’t miss a great opportunity to stretch your legs and enjoy the scenery. Open daily from fall into spring, and only on weekends in summer due to fire danger.
Pixley Wildlife Refuge – As home to more than a dozen species of mammals and reptiles, and habitat for waterfowl and grassland bird species, this refuge is the perfect place to watch nature come alive. Take a relaxing walk along the 1.5-mile trail, lined with interpretive stations, or observe the sandhill cranes roosting in the wetlands from September to January, where more than 6,000 have been spotted at one time.
Fun Fact: In 1878, respected Porterville educator Anna Mills reached the top of 14,505-foot Mount Whitney, earning her the distinction of being the first woman to summit the tallest mountain in the Continental U.S. This feat was achieved despite the challenge of having an impaired leg.
She went on to become a founding member of the Visalia-based Mount Whitney Club, whose ranks were joined by conservationist John Muir. A 12,064-foot peak just south of Mount Whitney is named Mount Anna Mills in her honor.
Known for the annual World Ag Expo and California Antique Farm Equipment Show, the 260-acre Tulare facility is also home to the AgVentures! Learning Center, Harvest Festival, equestrian events and other special activities. Designed to promote California’s agriculture industry, it has 2.6 million square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibit space. For information, visit InternationalAgriCenter.com.
AgVentures! Learning Center
Located at Tulare’s International Agri-Center, this is a place where ag becomes more than just fields and farmers — it’s you and me and the food we eat (and the clothes we wear). The center features multiple ag-related displays with interactive, hands-on activities for all ages. For information, call (559) 688-1030 or visit IacAgVentures.org.
McKellar Family Farms
McKellar Family Farms provides visitors with an interactive wagon ride experience on the 100-acre citrus farm. See, touch, taste and smell some of California’s juiciest gems. Tours available with 24-hour advance reservation.
Taste the Valley the way the locals do. Bravo Farms started as a small gas station and café in Traver and, over the years, grew into a mini-Knott’s Berry Farm, according to the L.A. Times. Watch professionals make hand-crafted cheese and proceed through the tour to taste for yourself. Purchase goodies at The Shoppe and indulge in an ice cream treat. Call ahead for the cheese-making schedule.
Naylor Family Organic Farm
The organic farm and farm stay in Dinuba add to the agricultural ambience of the Central Valley. This unique getaway and “farm to fork” experience is patterned after European-style farm stays where guests are invited into the host’s home. Two spacious bedrooms with private baths are open to guests, and breakfast is prepared and served by the Naylors each morning. They have opened their farm to tours and direct sales of their tree-ripened organic peaches and nectarines, as well as other stone fruit in season.
Bari Olive Oil
A family-owned farm and mill near Dinuba, Bari has been producing award-winning olive oils from locally grown olives for 75 years. Visit the on-site tasting room, which also offers olive oil soaps, books and craft crates. Learn about the history, production and uses of olive oil on a tour of the mill.
Rosa Brothers Milk Company
This family-owned creamery in Tulare started in 2012 as a means of processing milk from their own dairy. Tours are by reservation only, geared toward kids and adults, and run seasonally from early spring to late fall. Cost is $6 per person, with free admission for kids 2 and under. Visitors can see the milk-bottling and ice cream-making process, and have the chance to purchase the freshest milk and ice cream in the Valley, as well as other local treats.
Naturally Nuts In Visalia offers freshly roasted nuts , dried fruit, gift baskets, sugar-free chocolates, olives, soups, local honey, olive oil, handmade caramel pecan logs, handmade nut butters and even their own handmade granola. Looking for an easy way to return home with some of the most tantalizing tastes of Tulare County? This stop is a must.
Fun Facts: Tulare County’s $7.2 billion farm economy is the no. 3 agricultural economy in the United States. 2017 statistics showed that Tulare County was home to more than 200 dairy farms, with a combined total of 380,000 cows. The average dairy size was between 1,800 and 2,000 cows. In many areas of the county, there are more cows than people. In 2019 there were 120 diff erent commodities, over 45 of which were valued at over $1 million. The county’s top ten crops in descending order by cash value are: Milk, Cattle, Navel Oranges, Table Grapes Pistachios, Silage Corn, Nectarines, Alfalfa Hay, Peaches, and Valencia Oranges.