One of our summer rituals since moving to California is to go fruit picking in the months of May & June. The joy of picking a bright red cherry or a juicy berry from the tree or a bush and letting it go straight into your mouth cannot be explained. It must be tasted. And you will surprise yourself with how many fruits you can eat in a day!
We especially enjoy strawberry picking and cherry picking. This year we also added blueberry picking to our list. If you haven't been to a fruit picking farm before, remember to wear comfortable shoes and take a hat with you.
The following are the farms we typically visit. They are organized and have reasonable prices. Though they may not be organic certified, they use responsible pest management solutions and we love the taste of their fruits. You can go straight to the field, park near the dust parking lot, get a container from the little stand, pick to your heart's content (of course, you will taste them as you pick) and pay by pound at the little stand after you are done. There is no charge for admission or parking. Most of these farms also have a picnic area and a place where they sell already picked fruits, pies, jams etc.
Season: May - July
Location: Gizdich Ranch, 55 Peckham Rd, Watsonville, California
Picking Tips: This is easy, pick big and bright red strawberries.
Season: Mid May - Mid June
Location: Nunn Better Farms, 2777 Sellers Avenue, Brentwood, California
Picking Tips: They have both black and red cherries. Try both and pick the ones you like better. Look for heavy, firm cherries with a shiny skin and fresh stem.
Season: Mid-May to Early July
Location: Jessop Farms, 21386 Murphy Road, Ripon, California
Picking Tips: Select plump, full blueberries with a light gray-blue color. A berry with any hint of red isn't fully ripened. Do not wash berries until just before eating as they tend to become mushy otherwise.
Happy fruit picking everyone!
PS: Fruit picking can be exciting and addictive ;) One of our friends ended up picking 49 lbs of cherries last time they went to the farm! What do you do if that happens with you, you ask? Well, you can always try your hand at making jams & jellies or simply invite us over :)