If you drive out Country Road 32b, you’ll pass fields of knee high grass, plowing tractors and a field of strawberries.
Just beyond, on the fringes of Davis, you’ll come across The Yolo Fruit Stand -known to locals for its variety, quality and low prices. The stand is a family-owned business that supplies a wide selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, nuts, honey, eggs, coffee, smoothies, tortillas, wines and other specialty foods to Yolo County.
Maria Tsousis owns the stand with her husband and her family often comes in to lend a helping hand with the business.
Tsousis emigrated from Greece over 30 years ago, and while she’s only owned the stand for three years, her husband has been in the produce business for 30 years.
“People think ‘stand’ and they think it might have a small selection, but then people come in and see all their choices and they like that,” Tsousis said.
Variety is something that Tsousis is very proud of. From peeled garlic to caramel cashew cranberry trail mix to 100 percent squeezed fruit juice, the stand has something for every taste bud.
Tsousis also makes it a point to sell Persian, Italian and Greek foods.
“I cover all the cultures because I have different people come in,” she said.
The wide selection of fruits and vegetables are often locally grown. Farms from Lodi, Dixon, Stockton, Woodland and Davis all provide products for her stand.
“People like that the fruits and the veggies are local,” Tsousis said. “Whatever’s seasonal is local.”
Because Tsousis likes to provide her customers with a choice, she sells both organic and non-organic fruits and vegetables. She also aims to keep prices low for her customers by providing 10 percent off coupons.
Tsousis said even as the owner of the stand, she likes to work the cashier to get to know her customers better.
“The same customers come in … I recognize their faces,” she said. Tsousis teaches high school math and helps out at the stand after school. Treating people with respect is a big part of both her jobs and her life.
“One connects to the other, just like math,” Tsousis said. “You start from the bottom and are nice to workers and customers and that’s how you build a business.”
One regular customer, Chi Chien, a recent Ph.D. graduate from UC Davis, brings his family to shop at the local stand.
Chien called the products “fresh and cheap” and appreciates the agricultural variety.
“We have compared a couple of these [stands], and I think this is the best one,” Chien said.
Chien isn’t the only one who brings his family with him to the fruit stand. Hong Yong Zhang, an employee at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento brings in his wife and daughter.
“I like to shop here for the fresh produce and the lower prices,” Zhang said.
Jaclyn Golemohammadi, a senior nutritional biochemistry major, comes to shop once a week.
“I buy a lot of produce and when I go to Safeway or the Nugget, it’s really expensive. It adds up really quickly,” Golemohammadi said. “But here, I get great deals on a lot of produce and it’s awesome.”
The Yolo Fruit Stand is about 6.3 miles away from campus and can be seen from Interstate 80 toward Sacramento.
Tsousis’ favorite part of owning Yolo Fruit Stand is hearing happy customers.
“If I talk to the customers or I walk around and I hear someone say ‘It’s amazing’ or ‘I can’t believe it,’ ” Tsousis said. “That’s what makes me happy; that’s what keeps me going.”
KATIE DARFLER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.