Villa del Sol Sweet Cherry Farms

  Villa del Sol Sweet Cherry Farms - Leona Valley, California.

Villa del Sol is a 25 acre working cherry farm started by the Shafer family in 1999. We are located at the intersection of Elizabeth Lake Road and Godde Hill Road in the lovely Leona Valley, California.  Just 1 hour northeast of Los Angeles, take the Palmdale Boulevard Exit off of the 14 Freeway and head west! Villa del Sol is the "first cherry stop" on the right. (map)

We specifically chose this location for many reasons. For optimum fruit taste and texture, terrain and climate are very important. The orchard cascades down a south facing slope that allows the sunshine to gently warm the ground, preventing freezing of the delicate fruit in the spring. Warm air is filtered through the trees which is needed for an optimum crop.

In the Beginning

In the spring of 2001, we planted almost 4000 bare root sweet cherry trees--five varieties: Bing, Rainier, Early Burlat, Brooks and Tulare, all on the Mahaleb rootstock. We did a lot of research in order to try to do everything right. First we had the soil tested to determine what soil amendments it needed. The tests determined that we needed 21 tons of nitrogen (steer manure) and 3 tons of gypsum. After the nutrients were spread throughout the field, we "slip plowed" the entire field (a process of turning the soil down to a depth of about five feet) to give the roots ease in growing.


We take every step possible to produce the best fruit in the region. We have contracted with a biologist to do leaf analysis throughout the year. In order to keep trees at their healthiest and producing the sweetest cherries possible, nutrients are precisely fed to the trees through the fertigation system. This means every tree is evenly treated through the watering process.


To adequately pollinate a cherry orchard, agriculturists recommend having 3 bee hives per acre. At the moment, Villa del Sol hosts 50 honey bee hives to gently pollinate the tender blossoms of the trees. Native honey is purported to be beneficial to those suffering from allergies. We will be offering our own private honey label in our store during regularly scheduled farm hours.

Villa del Sol will be offering cherries as well as the farm experience to its customers. The farm itself is the main attraction with sprawling fields, a picnic area, open skies and plenty of old-fashioned hospitality. Our family would like to offer a way for everyone to experience a "u-pick" cherry farm and enjoy the benefits of its bounty

Note: There are no bees on the premises during picking season. Hives are taken off-site to forage alfalfa blossoms during picking season.

Not all bees are bad.
Some are very gentle and
very fun to watch.

They love to drink nectar from flowers and if you don't disturb them you can enjoy watching them up close and personal.

As long as you don't bug them, they won't bug you!

Going into the flower

Loading up all the pollen
she can carry.

Capturing pollen
all over her body



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6989 Elizabeth Lake Road Leona Valley, CA 93551 Tel (661) 270-1356
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