There’s nothing that screams summer more than a warm-off-the-vine strawberry that has been kissed by the sun. With farms a-plenty and berries ripe for the picking, all you need to do is choose your spot from the list below, pack the water and sunscreen and get your little ones out there to work for their feast. The berries are waiting for you!
photo: lenesi via pixabay
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 opens May 4. 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 (go a la mode, of course), 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.
Crystal Bay Farm
This organic farm is located just around the corner from scenic Sunset State Beach. Head to Crystal Bay Farm for sweet strawberries ($4/lb.) in the spring and raspberries in June or July ($7/lb.). There is a $2/person entrance fee.
Hours: Wednesdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
40 Zils Road
photo: Kate Loweth
This spot in San Jose has been a pumpkin patch for a number of years but recently upped its game to offer strawberries, cherries and other organic fruits and veggies at its farmstand. When the timing is right, you can head back to pick your own strawberries and ride the tractor out to pick blackberries. Call ahead or check their website as u-pick availability varies. After your farm visit, head to nearby Martial Cottle Park to play on the farm-themed playground.
Hours: Fri.-Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
5283 Snell Ave.
San Jose, CA
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 late May, or try your hand at picking delicious apricots and loquats. Parking can be tricky so arrive as close to the 8 a.m. u-pick opening as possible.
Hours: Daily as available, 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
2010 Walnut Blvd.
The Berry Best
Berry Best Family Farm offers U-pick and picked strawberries, olallieberries, boysenberries and four different varieties of berry-delicious blackberries. They also have an on-site farmstand with locally-produced veggies for sale.
Hours: Daily as fruit is available, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
7450 Balfour Rd.
Blue House Farm
Located between Half Moon Bay and Pescadero is this lovely u-pick farm that offers a farmstand and strawberry picking on the honor system. Strawberry picking opens May 11. Come back in the fall to snag your pumpkins!
Hours: Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
950 La Honda Road
San Gregorio, CA
photo: Kate Loweth
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. Bring cash as they don’t accept credit cards. They have not yet opened for the season, check website for opening date.
Hours: Wed.-Fri., 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat.-Sun., 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. May close early if ripe fruit runs out.
25175 Marsh Creek Rd.
This family-run farm produces cherries, apricots and peaches available for picking throughout the summer. The farm takes up four locations in Brentwood, so check their website for currently availability and directions to the location where picking is available. Grab some farm-fresh honey while you are there!
Hours: varies depending on availability, see website
Four locations in Brentwood, CA
photo: Kate Loweth
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 Año Nuevo State Park.
Hours: Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
640 Highway 1
photo: Shani Heckman via flickr
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 to pick now and later on in the summer you can also pick olallieberries, blackberries and tayberries. Payment is by cash or check only.
Hours: daily, 8 a.m.–6:30 p.m.
25 Swanton Rd.
Located in Portola Valley, Webb Ranch still has a TBD opening date. There is a $4/person entrance fee (unless you are four and under or 65+ in which case you get in free), and fruit is $5.50/lb. to take home (but they do encourage you to eat all you can in the field) . Blackberries and raspberries may also be available for picking. Little ones will enjoy a picnic on the lawn or a jump in the (free!) bouncy house. Bonus: all berries are CCOF organic!
Hours: Tues., Thurs. and Sat., 8 a.m.–1 p.m. (as available)
2720 Alpine Rd.
Portola Valley, CA
photo: Kate Loweth
Live Earth Farm
This Watsonville farm offers u-pick opportunities when its fields have an abundance of product (they mostly grow to supply their CSA and farmer’s market customers). May brings strawberry picking and in June, blackberries. Check their website before you go or follow them on Facebook as dates can move or be cancelled depending on availability. They open for the season May 18-19, stop by for picking and tractor rides!
Hours: check website
1275 Green Valley Road
photo: Stephanie Albert via pixabay
If blueberries are your weakness then you will have to drive a little farther to get your u-pick on. Jessop Farms is located in the Central Valley just past Manteca and they offer blueberry u-pick from mid-May through early July (as supplies last) as well as strawberries. Kids will love exploring the koi pond, playing on the putt putt green and grabbing a picnic lunch under the trees.
Hours: Mon.-Sat., 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
21386 S. Murphy Rd.
Editor’s note: The availability of berries can vary from week to week. Check the website or call before you head out to ensure there is enough pick-able produce. Try to arrive first thing in the morning when the temps are low and the berries are most plentiful.