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Bates Nut Farm Helps Community Take A Crack At Farm Life

Photo Courtesy Bates Nut Farm

One hundred is an important number to the Bates Nut Farm. Bates, which covers 100 acres of land in California’s San Diego County just north of Escondido, has been around for more than 100 years. It all began in 1921 when Gilbert and Beatrice Bates launched the farm where they grew walnuts, raised their five sons, and tended to various barnyard animals and other farm life. 

Photo Courtesy Bates Nut Farm

As with most things that have been around for more than a hundred years, changes have occurred over a century. The Nut Farm is no longer a “nut farm,” per se. Walnut growing stopped some time back; however, Bates now roasts, packages, and sells a wide selection of nuts from around the globe on its property. 

Bates’s more than 5,000-square-foot retail space not only sells a variety of nuts, from pecans to pignolias, but also homemade fudge and other sweets.

The candy counter alone is more than 25 feet long! Bates’ store carries an array of items, ranging from home and garden accessories to candles, collectibles, books, and cards. It uses the farm’s original barn, providing the charming air of an old-fashioned general store. 

Photo Courtesy Bates Nut Farm

However, one thing that has remained the same about the Bates Nut Farm is that it is still a family affair. In fact, it is still a Bates family affair, with their fourth and fifth generations currently running operations there. They are justifiably proud of their family’s farm and farming in general. 

The farm regularly offers educational group tours that shed some light on what a nut farm is all about. Self-guided tours, including the farm’s Family Zoo, are also popular and highlight the operation’s mission to inform youngsters about the agriculture world. Similarly, Bates hosts a “Celebrating Farm Life” and Youth Day event that offers educational presentations and a history of Bates Nut Farm with an interactive “Life of a Pumpkin” module.

Pumpkins represent a big deal at the Bates farm. For over three decades, it has hosted a hugely popular pumpkin patch that has hailed as “undoubtedly one of the best in the city.” Typically open daily from mid-September through the end of October, the Pumpkin Patch naturally offers a vast selection of pumpkins, squashes, and gourds, but there are other autumnal attractions, like hayrides, a straw maze, a petting corral, games, live music, and food vendors. 

Photo Courtesy Bates Nut Farm

Throughout the year, the Bates Nut Farm presents a healthy list of events, from seasonal celebrations to arts & crafts markets, dog shows, and community “yard sales.” The farm also is a popular spot for organizations to offer community-minded events. 

For example, the Solana Center For Environmental Innovation has come to the Bates Nut Farm to do a vermicomposting workshop and a rain barrel pick-up event in recent years. San Diego Gas & Electric holds its annual Wildfire Safety Fair at Bates. Among 2024’s events is a Family Farm Expo that salutes small farms and spotlights how they help people create a closer connection to nature. 

Photo Courtesy Bates Nut Farm 

As a family that has worked the land for a century, the Bates clan knows the significance of valuing the earth and positively maintaining the planet. They demonstrate this respect through their programs and events, which they present for the public to experience.

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