Spot­light Shines On Lo­cal Rodin Farms

The Oakdale Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By AU­TUMN NEAL Leader Cor­re­spon­dent

Rodin Farms has been a fam­ily af­fair since the 1940s, when An­toinette Rodin’s grand­par­ents ob­tained the lo­cal ranch. They con­tin­ued to farm, and An­toinette’s fa­ther took over the land to farm and fol­lowed in their foot­steps. At age 18, An­toinette Rodin opened the renowned Rodin Farms Fruit Stand, lo­cated on the border area be­tween Modesto and River­bank.

How­ever, though the fruit stand is sur­rounded by Rodin farm lands, that’s not where their lo­ca­tions stop.

“My sis­ter has a store in downtown Modesto; it’s called Rodin Ranch and it’s re­ally cute,” An­toinette Rodin shared. “And we do var­i­ous farm­ers mar­kets in the Bay Area – San Fran­cisco, Pleasan­ton, Saratoga, Moun­tain View... ”

While they may be lo­cated in more pop­u­lous cities, they are also sure to have a spot at the Oak­dale Farmer’s Mar­ket on Wed­nes­day nights. Usu­ally, em­ploy­ees from Rodin Farms help man­age the stand, such as at the July 18 event when Shayann Trent, Devin Odom, and Lorin Odom worked the mar­ket.

“A lot of our fruit is from our farms,” Trent shared, “our peaches and nec­tarines and plums are all picked at our farms that are right in front or right be­hind the stand.”

The mar­ket fea­tures fruits, al­mond but­ter, dried chips, and var­i­ous nuts for cus­tomers. Trent shared that she uses the straw­ber­ries from Rodin Farms ev­ery morn­ing in her smooth­ies and the em­ploy­ees some­times even in­dulge in some of the sam­ples in be­tween cus­tomers.

Devin and Lorin Odom helped pass around free nec­tarine sam­ples to mar­ket go­ers in Oak­dale re­cently, to let them see for them­selves just how sweet the fruits tasted.

“Right now, we’re in the heart of the sea­son, ev­ery­thing’s sweet,” Rodin re­ported. “July is peak sea­son and right now yel­low nec­tarines are so sweet that they taste like candy.”

Sum­mer­time is the best for the fresh fruits that Rodin Farms is so fa­mous for, and as fall comes around, the farm will start to tran­si­tion into selling pumpkins. In the winter sea­son, they fea­ture Christ­mas trees. Al­to­gether, they prove to be a year-round es­tab­lish­ment, fea­tur­ing al­mond but­ter, li­corice, hon­eys, and can­dies through­out the year.

This wide va­ri­ety of pro­duce is a big step from what An­toinette Rodin ini­tially sold when she first started the fruit stand some 26 years ago. Then, she mainly fea­tured the peaches from her fam­ily’s or­chards. Since, they’ve planted plenty more trees to fea­ture a mass as­sort­ment of fruits and nuts while also selling other lo­cal farm­ers’ pro­duce.

“I guess the fruit stand is kind of a part of me now,” Rodin ex­pressed. “I can’t imag­ine do­ing any­thing else: I love putting the fruit on dis­play, I love sam­pling it, I love selling it, I love farm­ing, I love be­ing out­side.”

She con­firmed that she al­ways knew that she wanted to farm since she was young, and her sons share her dreams. Her old­est, An­thony, goes to farm­ers mar­kets for Rodin Farms, and her other sons, Vito and Ju­nior, are in­volved in farm­ing while An­toinette holds out the hope that maybe her youngest, Sonny, will want to have a stand.

Rodin hopes to in­flu­ence not just her sons but also fu­ture farm­ers and has even pre­sented Ag Busi­ness Sem­i­nars for high school­ers.

The Rodin Farms Fruit Stand is on the cor­ner of Clari­bel and Oak­dale roads, across the in­ter­sec­tion from Cross­roads Shop­ping Cen­ter in River­bank. Prod­ucts are also avail­able for pur­chase at www.rod­in­farms.com and lo­cal farmer’s mar­kets.

AU­TUMN NEAL/THE LEADER

Belle and Cin­derella, from Pre­miere Princess Par­ties, found their way to the Rodin Farms stand at the Farmer’s Mar­ket in Oak­dale re­cently and picked out peaches fit for roy­alty.

AU­TUMN NEAL/THE LEADER

Devin Odom hands out sam­ples of nec­tarines to po­ten­tial cus­tomers like young Emma Lin­ne­man and her mom, Melissa Howard. Rodin Farms has a fruit stand at the Wed­nes­day night Farmer’s Mar­ket in Oak­dale.

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