How sweet it is to celebrate spring with a bounty of succulent, ripe berries! Take your little sprouts to one of the following nearby farms to pick their own strawberries and blueberries and to meet local farmers, learn how food grows and is harvested, take a farm tour and have some fun in the sun! Read on for the details.
Kenny's Strawberry Farm
Looking for fields of juicy red strawberries? Then this is your farm! We are berry pleased to say that Farmer Kenny’s main crop is strawberries. Hunt for the biggest red berries your littles can find. Bring a picnic lunch and you’ll find shaded tables where you can relax and eat after picking berries in the fields.
Bonus! Kenny's Farm also grows delicious blackberries from Apr.-Jun. Find them in the farm store.
Strawberry season: now-July
Hours: Wed.-Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
953 Rainbow Valley Blvd.
Fallbrook, CA 92028
Fun, organized, and educational, Tanaka Farm’s strawberry tours are a sweet way to spend the afternoon. Cruise the 30-acres on the hour-long wagon ride. Stop to pick, wash and eat fresh produce, learn about farm methods, the farm’s history and finish the tour by picking a pound of fresh, ripe juicy strawberries. There are plenty of tour times to choose from and for some you can just show up and walk-on.
Good to know: Arrive 15 min. before the tour.
Strawberry season: now-June
Tours: Check their website for current tour times before your visit.
Cost: $18/person; free for kids under age 2
5380 3/4 University Dr.
Carlsbad Strawberry Company
Located in Carlsbad, this third generation, family run U-pick farm is one of the oldest in San Diego County––they've been growing strawberries here for over half a century. Go for the ocean view, cool breezes and bountiful strawberries. If you walk a little further down the row, you may find even juicier red ones. Littles will have a good time and when you're finished picking, head to the Carlsbad Premium Outlets for shopping and good eats.
Good to know: Arrive before 3 p.m. to pick strawberries. U-Pick is open on a "limited basis" so call before making the trip. Picking strawberries here is on the pricier side. They charge by the bucket and for each person picking.
Strawberry season: now-July; as long as strawberries are available
Hours: Daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: A large bucket of U-pick strawberries costs $22
1000 Cannon Rd.
The Ecology Center
South Coast Farms is now The Ecology Center. They offer U-pick strawberry foraging during some of their weekend community harvests. Their U-pick schedule is contingent on strawberry availability, but they're expecting to have an amazing season and hoping to offer U-pick every weekend. Be sure to visit their website to see when strawberry picking is scheduled.
Good to know: Bring your own reusable containers and bags to hold your strawberry harvest. Pack a picnic to enjoy with your family after you pick berries, but they request you leave single use plastic items at home.
Strawberry season: now-June
Hours: Check website for U-pick days.
32701 Alipaz St.
San Juan Capistrano, CA
Temecula Berry Company
Like a bolt from the blue, 9-acres of blueberries will be ripe for the picking soon (in May)! This family-owned and operated farm in Temecula is a berry gorgeous destination. Pick a bucket full of blueberries, check out the farm animals and you’ve got a memorable afternoon. The blueberry-picking season is short, so the earlier in the season you get there, the better the pickings. Come early or later in the day, as it gets hot in the valley.
There are plenty of fun, kid-friendly activities on the Farm including Muffin Monday, where the first four dozen visitors get warm blueberry muffins, Nana's storytime on a hay bale Tuesdays at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m., a Chicken Show each day at 4 p.m. and Movie Night on Fridays: May 25 (Ferdinand), June 1 (Despicable Me 3) and June 8 (The Incredibles). On these nights the farm and boutique will stay open until 8 p.m. for U-pick blueberries. Movie starts at 8 p.m. and it's suggested you arrive at 6:30 p.m. to set up your chairs. A local food truck will be there for you to buy dinner.
Good to know: Farm accepts cash or checks only.
Blueberry season: May-June; check website
Hours: Daily, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (last entrance to the farm is at 5:30 p.m.)
Cost: $6/pint (container is included)
39700 Cantrell Rd.
Tips to Have a Sweet Berry Picking Experience:
- Wear a hat and sunscreen and pack sunglasses for sensitive eyes.
- Wear close-toed, comfortable shoes (you’ll be walking through dirt paths on the farms).
- Always call the farm before you visit to confirm their hours and whether there are enough berries left for picking.
- Arrive when the farm opens to get the cream of the crop and to pick the fruit in cooler temps.
- Only pick strawberries that are fully red and ripe, and pick them by pulling on the stem, not the berry.
- Take along some baby wipes to clean sticky hands and faces.
- Take your camera for plenty of cute photo ops.
- Once you’re home, don’t wash the berries until you’re ready to eat them (otherwise they spoil more quickly).
––Nikki Walsh & Beth Shea