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Great U-Pick Farms in California

Great U-Pick Farms in California

Enjoy the best of California’s berries, apples, mandarin oranges, and more at these local farms

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Strawberries, apples, pluots, and oranges abound at California farms—especially for anyone willing to pick their own. Many family farms around the Golden State offer u-pick opportunities where you can pluck your own berries off the vine and then browse the jams, baked goods, or ciders in the farm store. It’s all-ages family fun—and it also gives you a firsthand look at California’s incredible farming community, which produces more than a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts.

Before You Go

The process varies from farm to farm: Sometimes the operators will hand you a pre-paid bucket that you can fill, or you use a bag or basket and then pay by the weight. Some farms also offer hay mazes, wagon rides, or jam-making workshops to round out the day.

Keep in mind that many u-pick farms grow a variety of crops—and some years, harvest time for a specific crop may come a little early, late, or sometimes not at all. Check the farm’s website—or their social media pages—to get the latest on what will be ripe when you visit. Also, check whether you need to reserve your spot ahead of time so that you’ll have plenty of room (and fruit) to yourself.

Wear a hat and comfy shoes, then plan your own harvest outing at one of these farms, listed by season.

Tanaka Farms, Irvine

Peak months: February–June
Combine berry and veggie picking and a wagon ride in Irvine, where this farm’s u-pick arrangement includes a ride around the farm, with stops to pick a seasonal veggie—including zucchini, kale, or onions—as well as a bucket of strawberries. The Orange County farm also typically offers later-summer melon tours and a fall pumpkin patch.

Carlsbad Strawberry Company, Carlsbad

Peak months: February–July
Pick your own strawberries, then walk the sunflower maze at this Carlsbad farm that’s just a few blocks from LEGOLAND California. The San Diego County farm is also close to the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch, which blooms with ranunculus flowers from March until May.

Kenny’s Strawberry Farm, Fallbrook

Peak months: March–July
They grow sweet, hearty strawberries in these family-friendly fields in east San Diego County. Autumn brings pumpkin-patch fun, including tractor rides and a petting zoo.

Temecula Berry Company, Temecula

Peak months: May–June
The Inland Empire town may be mostly known for its winemaking grapes, but this family farm is all about the blueberries. Buy a small, medium, or large container, then fill it to your heart’s content, with only one rule: no eating in the field.

Villa del Sol, Leona Valley

Peak months: May–July
Pick from five varieties of sweet cherries—Bing, Rainier, Early Burlat, Brooks, and Tulare—at this orchard located about an hour north of Los Angeles off State Route 14. While you’re there, pick up a jar of the farm’s raw honey.

Riverdance Farms, Livingston

Peak months: May–July
Come during the summer to this Central Valley farm—located about 25 miles south of Modesto—for blueberries, blackberries, and elderberries; check its Facebook page for specific dates. The farm also holds regular events, such as the U-Pick and Gather Weekend around Memorial Day, which features camping and live music.

Mountain Brook Ranch, Clovis

Peak months: May–September
Check the website for this Clovis farm to see what’s ready for picking: Look for cherries in early summer followed by boysenberries and apricots in late summer. Come in early fall for strawberries and pomegranates.

Swanton Berry Farm, Davenport

Peak months: May–September
Harvest your own organic strawberries at this farm in Santa Cruz County. Depending on the season, you might also pick olallieberries or some of the farm’s other unique fruits, including tayberries and loganberries. Or cut to the chase and enjoy its house-made jams and shortcakes. Nearby in Watsonville, Gizdich Ranch offers summer strawberries, olallieberries, and boysenberries as well as apples in September. Live Earth Farm’s u-pick calendar offers a wide variety of options including pumpkins and poblano peppers.

Sunshine’s Farm Stand, Fresno

Peak months: May–October
This family farm in Fresno specializes in Asian vegetables, available at their farm stand, but you can also pick strawberries from May to July. Or pick your own pumpkin in September and October.

Earthseed Farm, Sebastopol

Peak months: May–November
Sonoma County is rich with u-pick options, but you can’t go wrong picking the sweet and rare Gravenstein apple, which grows almost exclusively in this area and is most available in August. This solar-powered farm—which also embraces Afro Indigenous farming practices to help protect the local ecosystem—offers plenty of other produce throughout summer and autumn, including ​plums and pluots in July; various apples throughout fall; and persimmons and pineapple guava in November.

Edenberry Farm, Lakeport

Peak months: June–August
Deepen your berry expertise at this Lake County farm that grows three different types of raspberries and two types of blackberries—both happily thornless.

Julian Farm & Orchard, Julian

Peak months: June–October
The San Diego County town of Julian is famous for its apple pie but if you want to start with the basics, pick your own apples during September at a variety of local farms, such as Peacefield Orchard, Crosscut Farm and Orchard, and Apples and Art Orchards.

Julian Farm & Orchard offers a nearly year-round calendar of options: strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries throughout June, July, and August; sunflowers and flowers in July and August; apples in September; and pumpkins in September and October.

Amber Oaks Berry Farm, Auburn

Peak months: June–November
Pick blackberries, boysenberries, tomatoes, and kiwis at this farm in Auburn, with the ripe crops changing from June and all through fall. In November, come for pre-picked bags of Placer County’s famous mandarin oranges.

Apple Hill, El Dorado County

Peak months: June–November
Pick up apples, pumpkins, baked goods, and lavender at more than 50 farms and ranches in this section of El Dorado County. Summer means blueberry-picking season at Rainbow Orchards, lavender-picking at Bluestone Meadow, and anything from blackberries to tomatoes at 24 Carrot Farm.

To pick apples during early fall, choose from farms including Denver Dan’s, Sloan Winters Mountain Orchard & Garden, and Windmiller Farm.

Noble Orchards, Paradise

Peak months: July–March
Something is in season nearly year-round at this Butte County family farm. Come for cherries, peaches, pluots, and nectarines from July through September. Look for 17 varieties of apples—including Pink Lady, Fuji, Gala, and heirloom—from September through March. Check its Facebook page to learn what’s in season.

Apple Hill Ranch, Bishop

Peak months: August–November
Pick peaches, Asian pears, and Gala apples at this farm in Bishop. Check its Facebook page for news of cider parties, too, when you can fill your own jars with the Inyo County farm’s seasonal juice.

Andreotti Family Farms, Half Moon Bay

Peak Months: September–October
This family farm in San Mateo County used to focus on artichokes in its early days (it was founded in 1926) but now grows a variety of winter veggies as well as sunflowers. During autumn, pick flowers and browse the gourds (like Wolf, Howden, or Sugar Pie pumpkins), or walk the corn maze. Check the farm’s web site for picking weekends, farm-to-table luncheons, or other special events.

SLO Creek Farms, San Luis Obispo

Peak months: September–November
Take your basket to San Luis Obispo County’s SLO Creek Farms from September through November and pick your way across 40 acres of organic apples, as well as u-pick carrots and pumpkins. Celebrate afterward with some of the farm’s hard cider or apple brandy. For an even longer season, head to nearby Gopher Glen Organic Apple Orchard, which offers 112 organic apple varieties for picking between July and December.

Sunset Ridge Fine Fruits, Newcastle

Peak months: November–February
From November to January, the Placer County foothills are a hotbed for Satsuma mandarins, the easy-to-peel “zipper fruits.” Staff will offer you a bucket and tips on how to pick them (bring some clippers if you have them).

To fully celebrate the fruit, head to the nearby Gold Country Fairgrounds the weekend before Thanksgiving for the Mountain Mandarin Festival featuring live music, crafts, and lots of mandarin orange–themed treats. Come back to Sunset Ridge in January and February to pick navel oranges and Tango mandarins.

Underwood Family Farms, Ventura County

Peak months: Year-round
Berries are just the beginning at this duo of Ventura County farms near Camarillo. Use a basket or even a pull-wagon to pick from the current selection of crops: At Somis, that means tangerines and blackberries; in Moorpark, expect to find fava beans, sunflowers, and summer squash. Come to Ventura County in autumn to tour up to 20 farms during the annual Ventura County Farm Day.

More Farming Adventures

Visiting a u-pick farm is a fun way to appreciate the vast scope of California‘s agricultural offerings. To experience more of California’s farming community, consider these farm tours, farm stays, don’t-miss farmers’ markets, and the California Heartland road trip.

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