If your kids think berries are born into those little plastic containers, it’s high time you take them to pick their own straight off the vine. The Bay Area climate is perfect for growing strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and the oh-so-sweet olalliberries, and plenty of picture perfect farms welcome pickers of all ages to come in and help themselves. Nothing screams summer more than the taste of just-picked berries—and the best part? No need to pack a snack!
Drive south to Watsonville where the berries are a-plenty! Gizdich Ranch has ample parking right by the berries – perfect for the littles who don’t want to walk too far to the fun. Strawberry season is open now. Check the website for the opening days for olallieberries, raspberries and blackberries. Arrive early in the morning for the biggest selection and bring your own containers for picking. Before you head home, check out the bake shop where they offer a dozen pie options, berry popsicles and even sandwiches for those looking to lunch at the indoor or outdoor picnic tables. Don’t forget to come back in the fall for apple picking!
Hours: daily, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
55 Peckham Rd.
Bacchini’s Fruit Tree
Head 60 miles east from San Francisco to Brentwood where you can find Bacchini’s Fruit Tree, a fruit stand and u-pick farm that has been open since 1945. Blackberry and olallieberry picking is expected to start in June, or try your hand at picking delicious apriums (a cross between an apricot and a plum). Parking can be tricky so arrive as close to the 8am u-pick opening as possible.
Hours: daily, 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
2010 Walnut Blvd.
Photo: Tom’s Berry Ranch
Also in Brentwood is Pease Ranch where you can find u-pick berries and cherries. Pease Ranch is exclusively u-pick (no farm stand) and offers blackberries, loganberries, boysenberries and olallieberries. Bring a lunch to enjoy in the shaded picnic area. You may even see some chickens or a tortoise roaming the grounds.
Hours: Thurs., Fri. and Sat. 8 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sun. 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
25175 Marsh Creek Rd.
Open on Saturdays and Sundays only, Coastways Ranch can be found on scenic Highway 1 in Pescadero. They offer u-pick strawberries at a beautiful coastal location (which can get windy so make sure you bring a jacket). If you are driving south from Half Moon Bay, the entrance is on the left just past Ano Nuevo State Park. Come back in the winter for kiwi picking!
Hours: Sat. and Sun., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
640 Highway 1
Swanton Berry Farm
Keep heading south from Coastways Ranch and you will hit Swanton Berry Farm in Davenport. Swanton Berry Farm is open every day for u-pick and also has a great farm stand where you can buy pies, chocolate covered strawberries and other treats. Plus, free jam samples! Strawberries are available now and later on in the summer you can also pick olallieberries, blackberries and tayberries. Bring cash because payment is by cash-only honor system.
Hours: daily, 8 a.m.–8 p.m.
25 Swanton Rd.
Located in Portola Valley, Webb Ranch is open for u-pick berries on Wednesdays and Saturdays starting June 10th. There is a $4 per person entrance fee (unless you are 4 and under or 65+ in which case you get in free). Blackberries, boysenberries, raspberries and olallieberries are available but call ahead to see what the picking is like. Little ones will enjoy a picnic on the lawn or a jump in the (free!) bouncy house.
Hours: Wed. and Sat., 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
2720 Alpine Rd.
Portola Valley, Ca
Do you have a favorite berry picking location? Let us know in the comments below!
All photos by the author unless otherwise noted