Red, juicy and bursting with flavor, August is prime raspberry season in Los Angeles. Pop them in your mouth right out of the basket or cook them up – this is the fruit you should be eating this month. We’ll tell you where to find them and what you can do with them (besides eating them fresh from the basket) that will particularly please your picky eaters.
photo credit: Liz West via Creative Commons
Raspberries can be tough to grow in LA, because they don’t like our hot summer days. And we’ve had a lot of them this year! But they do grow in a few places, and for a short window in August, they’re perfect, plump and super sweet. Berries that have to travel long distances are never as tasty (they’re picked early and ripen off the vine, which doesn’t let the full flavor develop) which is we’re picking them as the fruit of the month – even fruit-phobic kids love fresh, sweet berries. (If you’re not able to find raspberries, look for blackberries or boysenberries, which do better in our climate.)
photo credit: Jeremy Austin via Creative Commons
Raspberries aren’t just red – they come in black, purple, or golden varieties, too. (Black raspberries are not blackberries – in fact there are 200 different kinds of raspberries.) Raspberries are a member of the rose family and are full of fiber and vitamin C and also add folate and vitamin E to your diet. Delectable and good for you, they’re the perfect late summer snack for kids any time of the day.
photo credit: Dean Michaud via Creative Commons
The easiest way to get local berries is your neighborhood Farmer’s Market — or if you have a hankering to introduce the kids to a lesser known variety, like the golden raspberry, you can head to one of the big markets like the Hollywood Farmers Market on Sundays or the Santa Monica Farmers Market on Saturdays and Wednesdays. The most fun (and educational) way is to pick them yourself. Here are our two fave spots for picking – be careful of prickles!
Both locations of Underwood Farms have u-pick raspberry patches, but for berry picking with little ones, the less crowded Somis farm is easier. Some late blueberries, blackberries and strawberries might be available for picking, too. For an extra kid treat, don’t forget to bring quarters to get food to feed the animals.
U-pick is available daily from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
5696 E Los Angeles Ave., Somis
Riley’s Farm in Oak Glen
At Riley’s Farm, the u-pick raspberry patch is such a hit that they’ve quadrupled their crop to 2 full acres. They’re currently picking and plan to have the fields open through September. Depending on when you visit you may also be able to pick watermelon and strawberries and even some early apples and pears. While it’s a bit of a drive for a daytrip (though completely do-able, as several of our staff can personally attest), it makes a perfect stop on the way home from a weekend in Palm Springs.
U-pick is available Tues. – Sat.
12261 S. Oak Glen Rd., Oak Glen
photo credit: Liz via Creative Commons
These beauties really don’t last long – both because you’ll gobble them up and because they’re highly perishable. Don’t wash them until you’re ready to eat, just store them on a paper towel on a plate and cover with plastic. If you do happen to pick or buy extras, you can wash, dry and lay them on a cookie sheet, with the berries not touching. Freeze them separately, and then put them in freezer bags. These will make awesome smoothies all winter long.
photo credit: Tide & Thyme
Sure kids will eat them by the tub-full, warm from the sun. But here are some of our favorite ways to sneak them into every meal of the day:
- These breakfast muffins (above) start the day off on a sweet note.
- Speaking of starting the day off right, this smoothie gets greens into kids and makes a fantastic breakfast or snack.
- Mini-chips make these raspberry pops look like the inside of a watermelon, only twice as cold and delicious.
- We promised you every meal, right? This salad is so sweet and tasty, kids will gobble it up. Toss on some chicken, or turn it into a wrap for a full meal.
- This fruit and nut couscous salad is not only a tasty dinner on a hot night, it’s perfect for packing in back to school lunches. Try substituting quinoa for the couscous for an extra healthy version.
Kid Fun Fact
Kids love blowing raspberries, so stick out your tongue and go “pbbbbbth.”
What’s your favorite fruit or veggie that Angelenos can pick and eat in August? We’d love to know in the comment section.