E. Waldo Ward & Son has been packing and selling small-batch jellies, marmalade, syrups, pickles and relishes from a farm in Sierra Madre since 1918. The Ward family still sells its products from a tiny room above the barn and gives free tours of its largely unchanged packing house and orchards. What's left of the original acreage, purchased in 1891, is located in a charming old neighborhood, and as you enter the driveway it hits you that you're at a real working farm. You half expect Auntie Em to appear on the porch shaking her apron. The outbuildings, cooking and canning rooms are full of old-timey equipment, and you'll see the desk where they devise recipes for private-label companies. We all love artisanal products like those at farmers markets, but there's something about tasting fruit from the trees where your jam was made that is thrilling and evocative of Southern California's farming history.
Credit: Suzy Beal