Summertime means summer fruit! Nothing beats fresh ripe juicy fruit on a warm summer day. Unfortunately, supermarkets don’t often have the freshest or tastiest fruit and farmer’s markets can be too expensive or very inconvenient. What to do for your summer fruit fix? Why not try a “pick your own” farm? In such an urban setting as San Francisco, you can often forget that the City by the Bay is also situated so very close to some of the nation’s richest farmland. What could be more satisfying than wandering around orchards and fields selecting the ripest fruit right form the source! Make a day of it! Pack a picnic! Bring friends and family! Channel your inner farmer and get pickin’!
If you live in San Francisco proper or on the Peninsula, your closest and best bets for pick your own are along Highway 1, just south of Half Moon Bay. There are plenty of farms in the East Bay out near Brentwood, but this article will focus on the farms closer to San Francisco. For other Northern California pick your own farms, please visit http://pickyourown.org/CAsanfran.htm. When planning a visit to any of these farms, please check their website or call ahead to make sure that there is fruit available. Some farms can be picked clean very quickly!
Phipps County Store and Farm is located at 2700 Pescadero Rd., in Pescadero; their phone number is (650) 879-0787. Phipps has “u-pick” strawberries in late May & June, boysenberries and olallieberries are ripe and ready for picking from around the beginning of July through the end of July. All dates are depending on seasonal weather patterns, so please check ahead if you have your heart set on .making olallieberry scones for breakfast! The berries are all about $2.00 per pound plus $3.00 entrance fee for those aged 5-59, but again, check ahead for current prices. Phipps also has a county store that sells beans, jams, spices, honey, candles, cookbooks and much more. They also have a barnyard with rabbits, geese, goat and other farm friends! Be sure to check out their website at www.phippscountry.com.
Webb Ranch is probably the closes to San Francisco and is located at 2720 Alpine Rd. in Portola Valley; their phone number is 650 854-5417. Starting in late May, Webb Ranch offers delicious strawberries and starting in early June, there will be raspberries, loganberries, blackberries (Olallie and Butte) and boysenberries. In addition to their fruit offerings, there also is five flower varieties: sunflowers, alstroemerias, Sweet Williams, lavender, and daisies; three herbs: rosemary, basil, and cilantro; and two medical plants: St. John’s Wart and Feverfew – all picked by you! There are also pony and hay rids for the kids (and the kid in you!). Look on their website www.webbranchfarm.com for all the details.
Swanton Berry Farm has two ranches that are open seasonally to the public. Both are along Highway 1. The Farm Stand is the site of their u-pick strawberry fields and Coastways Ranch is the site of their u-pick kiwis and olallieberry fields. Both of these locations are approximately 1.5 hours south of San Francisco. The Farm Stand is approximately 10 minutes north of Santa Cruz and Coastways is approximately 20 minutes. Strawberries are available from May and June, olallieberries are available from June and the kiwi fields open in November. Most fruit costs about $1.50 per pound. Please call them in advance to confirm availability. Their farm stand is open all year, so if you just don’t feel like picking, stop by and get already picked strawberries along with other treats! Please check out their website www.swantonberryfarm.com for all the juicy details.