Fresh watermelons, cantaloupes, nectarines, peaches galore and more are the order of warm summer days at Perry's Market in Manteca. At this time of the year though, the starring role goes to the season's colorful gourd — pumpkin.
The store is what greets passersby and visitors, but the real surprise is the pumpkin patch in the back where young and young once can indulge themselves visually, and into a variety of photo-shoot opportunities. For the third year in a row, since the market opened on the west side of Highway 99, has become a summer and fall attraction that lasts through the end of October. It opens the last part of spring, just before the onset of summer.
Each year has introduced new products, like fresh-baked pies — apple, strawberry, apricot, peach - you name it, popcorn, fresh vegetables, homemade jams and jellies, and coffee.
They keep growing every year, said Rob Perry who is not just part of the younger generation in the family that owns and operates the business but is also one of the store's best customers, especially the pies whose fruit ingredients are easily evident in the weight of the boxed desserts alone.
Vintage black and white photographs show the family patriarchs who started the Perry family business. One picture shows the late George Perry in a photograph with the title, Pumpkin King, bestowed to him years ago by People Magazine in a cover story.
The Perry & Sons is the largest pumpkin broker on the West Coast as well as being a major distributor of watermelons, squash, and various melons. More than 80 percent of the pumpkins that end up being sold in connection with Halloween are grown in the fields around Manteca.
The late George Perry, along with other pumpkin growers, is credited with starting the Manteca Pumpkin Fair a half century ago,
The market is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Perry's Market is located at 13881 CA-99, Manteca, CA 95336, between Lathrop and French Camp roads. For more information, call (209) 249-2400.