Offbeat L.A.: Kitsch Overload – Charlie Brown Farms in Littlerock, CA

Dinosaurs roam at Charlie Brown Farms (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Dinosaurs roam at Charlie Brown Farms (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

The Antelope Valley (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

The Antelope Valley (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

The Antelope Valley, an hour or so east on the 14 freeway in northern Los Angeles County, can be a bizarre place. Sundried mile upon sundried mile of pale desert, prickly and forlorn joshua trees, strange little towns and wide open vistas. People who choose to live in the desert often do so to get away from civilization, but there are others who really don’t have much of a choice. Here you will encounter the unconventional and odd… people with strange hobbies, unusual occupations and owners of trippy lawn ornaments. You will meet eccentrics and rule breakers and artists who are heat and drought resistant.

Charlie Brown Farms in Littlerock, CA (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Charlie Brown Farms in Littlerock, CA (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

On Pearblossom Highway in the parched and dusty town of Littlerock, population 1,700, you will find a fun and tacky roadside attraction called Charlie Brown Farms. Opened in 1929 as a fruit stand named Sweets, it has evolved and exploded into a kingdom of kitsch, a wonderland of weirdness. Almost like a stand at the County Fair it touts food items that are almost a dare. Deep fried oreos, meat-on-a-stick, funnel cakes, fresh ostrich eggs ($29.75 each), a fudge bar, chocolate covered bacon, over 150 different milkshake flavors, 150 kinds of jerky (including alligator, elk and rattlesnake) and… drumroll, please… it is home to the World’s Largest Slab of Jerky.

Anyone want to buy a lawn ornament? (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Anyone want to buy a lawn ornament? (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Bought in 1975 by current owner Jackie Hallgren and renamed Charlie Brown Farms, this little old fruit stand, as if given a boost of growth serum in some vintage science-fiction thriller, began its metamorphosis into something quite different. Now encompassing 6-acres, it is a sprawling, seemingly endless maze of more than twenty rooms of outlandish collectibles. These include oversized statues of dinosaurs, sharks and a lawn-sized Eiffel Tower. Searching for that elusive Elvis plaster cast? Look no further. How about a visit to the Village of Gnomes or the particularly creepy, multi-roomed House of Dolls? A room filled with faux stained glass wind chimes? Got it. A life-sized Betty Boop? Check.

Have a good knight! (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Have a good knight! (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Whatever you’re looking for, providing it makes somebody’s eyes roll somewhere, you can more than likely find it here. Although the produce now takes up only a tiny portion of the store, this fruit stand is as nutty as it comes. So, if you find yourself crossing the barren Antelope Valley and are looking for a most surreal oasis, well then you’re in for a treat…

Charlie Brown Farms: 8317 Pearblossom Highway, Littlerock, CA 93543; (661) 944-2606. Hours: 8am – 8pm, 7 days a week.

 

 

Originally published June 17, 2014 at The Los Angeles Beat

About Nikki Kreuzer

Nikki Kreuzer has been a Los Angeles resident for more than half of her life. When not working her day job in the film & TV industry, she spends her time over many obsessions, mainly music, art and exploring the oddities of the city she adores. So far she has written 100 Offbeat L.A. articles, which she started in 2013 while writing for The Los Angeles Beat. She has also been published in the LA Weekly, Oddee.com, Twist Magazine, Strobe and Not For Hire. Nikki is also is a mosaic artist, working actor and published photographer. As part of the band Nikki & Candy, she plays bass, sings and is co-writer. Find Nikki & Candy music on iTunes, Amazon, YouTube and other music sites. Nikki is currently working on her first novel. Please "like" the Offbeat L.A. Facebook page! For more Offbeat L.A. photos & adventures follow @Lunabeat on Instagram.
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