Which fruit picking farms in California are the best for u-pick outings this summer?

Which fruit picking farms in California are the best for u-pick outings this summer?
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Fruit picking farms for u-pick strawberries (and other berries!) in a California summer speckle the state. There’s just nothing like popping a warm berry plucked among the leaves into your mouth. Whether you’re craving a handful of u-pick strawberries, a basket of blueberries or a bush of raspberries, these Cali fruit picking farms have you covered.

Farms have adopted new picking protocols this summer due to COVID-19. Masks and new sanitary precautions may be required. But never fear! You’ll still get the chance to run around rows of berries wearing your favorite farmers market outfit. Pick out a paisley bandanna and a summer dress or adorable overalls, slather yourself with sunscreen and don’t forget to bring some swanky sunglasses.

Now that July and August have come along, so too have blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, nectarines and more. Plan out your summer dessert recipes (preferably pie with handmade crust), and take your friends and family over to these charming u-pick farms throughout California for the best summer fruit picking.

Bacchini’s Fruit Tree – Brentwood

60 miles east from San Francisco lies Brentwood, which hosts some of the best u-pick farms in the state. Founded in 1945, Bacchini’s Fruit Tree is a family operated fruit stand and fruit picking farm. Most come for the blackberry and olallieberry picking, but many love to hunt for apricots and loquats.

Kids will love the bushes and low hanging fruit. Everything but raw honey is currently sold out, and they only operate during May and June for berry picking, but keep it on your list for next year. Reservations are US$5

Swanton Berry Farm – Davenport

Founded in 1983 by Jim Cochran, Swanton Berry Farm is the first certified organic strawberry farm in California. They are committed to ethical farming and they ensure that employees are properly represented. Swanton Berry Farm became the first organic farm in the country to sign a contract with the United Farm Workers in 1998.

Come here for ripe berries, scrumptious jams and baked goods that no other farm could rival with this level of ethical operation. Stanton Berry Farms swears you can taste the difference in their berries because of their practices.

They also set up a farm stand where they sell treats like pies and chocolate-covered strawberries. You can enjoy u-pick strawberries as early as May and olallieberries and blackberries are available later on in the summer. Payment is by cash or check only.

Gizdich Ranch – Watsonville

Watsonville delivers on the fruit picking game. Gizdich Ranch has a ton of parking right by the fields of berries, and it’s well organized so that you don’t lose your kids among the vines. Check the website for berry availability, including the opening days for u-pick raspberries, olallieberries and blackberries. Make sure to arrive early to pluck the ripest selection.

The ranch does not provide containers for picking, so bring your aesthetic baskets or ruin the experience with ugly Tupperware. The choice is yours. Don’t skip out on the bake shop. Always bring home a pie, and then bake a pie with the berries you picked. You’ll most likely be disappointed in comparison to Gizdich Ranch’s pie, but you can’t beat the act of baking a pie in summer. Be sure to return in the Fall for apple picking.

Duckworth Family Farm – Sebastopol

Though June is the premier month to visit Duckworth Family Farm, the chickens, sheep, cows and horses alone are worth the trip. Come for the certified organic blueberries and stay for the farm animals.

Don’t leave without their fresh blueberry ice cream. You’ll have nightmares about that mistake for years to come. If your stomach can’t take the creamy dairy then purchase the dairy-free sorbetto. Come support this small family farm in Sebastopol.

Carlsbad Strawberry Company – Carlsbad

For more than 50 years, Carlsbad Strawberry Company has provided Southern California with the ripest and sweetest strawberries. Skip work and make this your new 9-5, just make sure to bring plenty of water since it can get hot out here.

They have donated more than 150,000 lbs. of produce to families across North County San Diego since March, feeding around 750 families with fresh produce each week. Strawberries and community outreach defines this Carlsbad business. They work with local schools, churches, nonprofits and more. Strawberry fields forever.

Tanaka Farms – Irvine

The only place in Southern California that could possibly rival Carlsbad Strawberry Company is Tanaka Farms, often lauded as a must-visit farm on the West Coast. Founded by a Japanese family, this farm values education and responsible farming.

Come pick your own strawberries or take a tour on the weekend. Prices vary for u-pick and educational activities. It’s considered very family friendly, and if you’re too tired to do your own fruit picking, Tanaka Farms has curbside pickup available.

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