Talk about farm to table! We’ve rounded up the 6 best u-pick farms near Los Angeles where kids can pick their own in-season fruit, sampling and tasting encouraged, of course.
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 and must-attend festive events like Christmas, Halloween and Easter. But starting in this month 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.
Hours: Open daily from 9a.m. - 5p.m.
Cost: Farm admission is $5 per person on weekdays and $8 per person on weekends. Anything you pick during your farm visit is priced per pound.
Good to know: Prices go up from Mar. 21 to Apr. 13, during the farm's Springtime Festival.
Underwood Family Farms
3370 Sunset Valley Rd.
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.
Hours: Strawberry season runs through the end of May with tours every half hour from 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. No reservations are required during the weekend.
Cost: Tours are $18 per person; kids 2 and under are free.
5380 ¾ University Dr.
949-653-2100 ext. 204
Murray Family Farms
Well worth the day trip to Bakersfield, this farm has 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: Weekends 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Cost: Mon.-Fri. $8.99 per person; Sat.–Sun. runs $10.99 per person, $5.99 for little-aged 1-3 and kids under 1 are free. Strawberry picking costs $3 per pint, available with farm admission.
6700 General Beale Rd.
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: Open daily from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Cost: $10 entry fee per person and strawberries cost around $3 per pound.
1012 W. Ventura Blvd.
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?
Stay at the Legoland Hotel or the newer Legoland Castle Hotel. 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—the flowers are gorgeous and tons of fun for little ones!
When: Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, strawberry picking is available through Jul. though we highly recommend calling before you head down there though to double check that they have berry picking that day.
Cannon Road & Paseo del Norte
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! For slightly tarter berries, pick early in the spring or wait until summer when the sweetness really kicks in.
Good to Know: Palm Springs is only 25 minutes away 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 but usually runs from May-Aug.
12261 S. Oak Glen Rd.
Feature image via Pixabay.
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–Meghan Rose, Jennifer O’Brien & Andie Huber