As parents, we spend our days begging kiddos not to pick things, “Don’t pick your nose! Don’t pick on your sister! Don’t pick up Mommy’s rosé!” So it‘s fun finally treating them to something they can pick for a change — BERRIES! With berry season in full swing, we’ve rounded up 6 SoCal farms where kids can do all the picking they want, without a single parental complaint in sight.

photo: Underwood Family Farms via Facebook

Underwood Family Farms
Chances are your kids are already familiar with Underwood Family Farms as it’s one of the most popular spots for school field trips. But with berry season at both the Moorpark and Somis locations running from Mar. through the end of the summer, your family has plenty of time to take advantage of some fab strawberry picking fun. Pull wagons are available on site to transport your haul (or tired little one) as you make your way along the rows of plants.

While you’re on site, be sure to swing by the Animal Center where tykes can visit with farm animals, see the Chicken House, climb the haystack and play in the sandbox. There are even an animal shows and pony rides available to younger guests (at the Moorpark location).

Hours: Strawberry picking is available at the Moorpark farm through Jul. and the Somis farm location through Aug. Both locales are open daily from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Cost: Farm admission is $3 per person on weekdays and $6 per person on weekends. Anything you pick during your farm visit is priced per pound.

Underwood Family Farms
3370 Sunset Valley Rd.
Moorpark
805-529-3690

5696 E. Los Angeles Ave.
Somis
805-386-4660
Online: underwoodfamilyfarms.com

photo: Tanaka Family Farms via Facebook

Tanaka Farms
Since 1940, Tanaka Farms has produced some of the sweetest strawberries in SoCal. Today, families can jump in on the fun by taking a strawberry tour that includes a one-hour wagon ride around the farm where you’ll learn a little history and science about how their fruits and veggies grow so beautifully. The final stop of the tour gives you a chance to pick and enjoy berries straight from the strawberry patch.

If you’d rather skip the tour, but still want to pick berries, stop by the Strawberry Garden behind the market stand, and the cashier will give you a basket to pick and fill for $5 per pound. FYI: You’ll have to wait to sample them until later as this part of the farm is not a “pick and eat” area. Also, due to the limited amount of strawberry plants in the garden, please call ahead to make sure it’s open that day and has enough berries for picking.

Tip: Make sure to wear plenty of sunscreen, a hat, comfy shoes that can get grimy — no sandals, flip-flops, open-toed shoes or high heels. Also, bring your own water or you can buy bottled at the farm for $2 a pop.

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Hours: Strawberry season runs through Jun. with tours every half hour from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (No reservations are needed during the weekend). On weekdays, reservations are required for all available time slots with the exception of 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. which allow walk-ons. Email Tanaka Farms to check tour times and book a reservation.

Cost: Tours are $18 per person while kids 2 and under are free. A one-pound basket of berries is included.

Tanaka Farms
5380 ¾ University Dr.
Irvine
949-653-2100 ext. 204
Online: tanakafarms.com

photo: Murray Family Farms via Facebook

Murray Family Farms
A bit of a trek from LA but well worth the day trip to Bakersfield as there are tons for tots to do in addition to picking delicious berries. After your littles explore the strawberry fields, be sure to check out the farm’s petting zoo filled with adorable critters or swing by the peacock hutch and Aviary to observe hundreds of tropical birds and chickens.

And who says sledding is just for winter? The farm’s Mount Murray Slide N Ride’s synthetic grass hill invites tykes to toboggan on cardboard sleds. If your kiddos have any energy left (and who are we kidding, they will) they’ll love jumping on the farm’s giant bounce pillow or play a rousing game of barnyard ball toss. If you visit on weekends, you can also take tractor and wagon rides, shoot corn cobs out of the Colonel Murray Corn Cannons, as well as enjoy all of the above activities.

Hours: Now through May, weekdays noon – 6 p.m. and weekends 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Cost: Mon, – Fri. runs $6.99 per person (ages 3 and under are free). Sat. – Sun. runs $8.99 per person, $3.99 for little-aged 1-3 and kids under 1 are free. Strawberry picking costs $3 per pint and $8 for 3 pints and is only available with farm admission.

Murray Family Farms
6700 General Beale Rd.
Bakersfield
661-330-0100
Online: murrayfamilyfarms.com

photo: McGrath Family Farm via Facebook

McGrath Family Farm
If organic strawberries are important to your family, McGrath Family Farm is the place to go. A certified organic farm that grows its berries without the use of pesticides, strawberries are not just out of this world tasty, but good-for-you too. Flowers are also grown on site to encourage bee pollination, so be sure to grab a beautiful bunch before heading home.

Hours: Strawberry picking is available through Jul. 4 and the farm is open daily from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Cost: $10 entry fee per person and strawberries cost $3 per pound.

McGrath Family Farm
1012 W. Ventura Blvd.
Camarillo
805-983-0333
Online: mcgrathfamilyfarm.com

photo: Carlsbad Strawberry Company by Minh B. via Yelp

Plan a Berry Picking Weekend

If you feel like heading out of town for the weekend, but would love to sneak in a berry picking trip along the way, these two spots are the total bombdiggity:

Carlsbad Strawberry Company
Almost every parent with Ninjago obsessed tykes immediately associates Carlsbad with Legoland. But it also has some fantastic berry picking nearby at the Carlsbad Strawberry Company as well. So why not do both!

Play & Stay at: Check out the Legoland Hotel or the brand new Legoland Castle Hotel opening this spring. If you’d rather play in the ocean, there are plenty of stunning beachside hotels to choose from. And don’t forget to pop by The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch while you’re down that way — they’re gorgeous and tons of fun for little ones!

When: Through Jul., guests can go strawberry picking from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. We highly recommend calling before you head down there though to double check that they have berry picking that day.

Carlsbad Strawberry Company
Cannon Road & Paseo del Norte
Carlsbad
760-603-9608
Online: carlsbadstrawberrycompany.com

photo: Riley’s Farm by Sheila A. via Yelp

Riley’s Farm
Known as our absolute fave place for apple picking, Riley’s Farm is also perfect for strawberry picking in both spring and summer. So head there now to load up on berries and remember to come back in the fall for apples!

Tip: For slightly tarter berries, pick early in the spring or wait until summer when the sweetness really kicks in.

Play and Stay at: Palm Springs is only 25 minutes away down the 10 freeway and makes a swell spot to hang your hat for the weekend and work in a little extra fun in the sun.

When: Call Riley’s Farm for berry picking availability — usually runs May — Aug. on Sat. from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Riley’s Farm
12261 S. Oak Glen Rd.
Oak Glen
909-797-7534
Online: rileysfarm.com

What’s your fave berry picking spot? Did we leave out any hidden gems? Let us know in the comments below!

–Meghan Rose & Jennifer O’Brien

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