Where to Pick Berries Near LA
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Spring is finally in full bloom, as the edges of summer are hinting over the hills. While Memorial Day Weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, summer solstice doesn’t actually occur until about a month from now. To honest, I feel I was kind of cheated out of my first LA spring thanks to COVID-19. (Totally understand there are bigger things at play and I am a brat for thinking that.) I am excited to finally begin experiencing some of the best things about living in Los Angeles though! One of my favorite things is its proximity. i can get to a beach or a mountain in less than 15 minutes. I can also arrive at a farm in less than an hour. When I lived in Dallas, I was able to find some farms that were relatively close, but those were few and far between. The bulk of the farms were hours away. Side note if you are looking for some DFW recs, we picked blueberries here and apples here. We bought fresh peaches here.
Keep reading for where to pick near LA and tips for when you visit!
Last fall, we were able to go apple picking near LA and it was one of my favorite memories. I can still taste the apple cider donuts! As soon as spring arrived and things let up regarding Coronavirus, my husband and I decided to go pick some berries! We timed it right so we could pick both strawberries AND blueberries. Strawberry season begins in March, but blueberry season doesn’t begin until May. We went May 24th and there were still plenty of strawberries to pick! Blueberries too!
We picked at Underwood Family Farms in Somis, California.
It’s less than an hour from our apartment in West LA and was so worth the drive. There’s a $3 per person entrance fee, but I’d happily pay it again to support a family run farm. (side note - they take cash and card) Honestly, we are planning on going back in June and July for raspberries and blackberries! We picked almost a pound of blueberries ($5.29 a lb) and little over 4 pounds of strawberries ($2.29 a lb). In addition to the berries, we bought some kale, avocados, and other produce from their market. They also offer hayrides and have a little goat area, which is great if you’re wanting to bring kids!
If you want to try out another farm, Riley’s Farm is great! That is where we picked apples. Ultimately, we didn’t go back there because they were selling out of berries on Friday afternoons and weren’t even open week days like Underwood! They keep an allotment for each week, so there’s enough to go around, but we just couldn’t make it up there that early on Friday. Note their u-pick Strawberry season starts mid May, not March like Underwood. It’s also over double the drive time for us, so Underwood just made since. I’d recommend both though!
TIPS FOR PICKING BERRIES
Wear bug spray. They aren’t bothersome, but the bugs and bees do exist. You are down and dirty with the plants aka all the buggies habitats.
Wear pants and closed toed shoes. Again, you are in the plants, so this is my preference. I’ve picked before in shorts and 100% prefer pants.
Wear sunscreen. It is sunny. Be smart!
Bring water. It is warm, especially when you are hunkering down picking! When we got back to our car, I was thirstier than I thought I’d be. They do have water to purchase there if you forget yours!
Go early. This is preference, but we got there about 15 minutes after they opened at 9 am. In the spring and summer they are open until 6 pm. In the fall and winter they close at 5.
Just bring yourself. Meaning, you don’t have to bring something to pick with. They have bags and cartons for you to utilize.
***Also note that they do require masks right now due to COVID-19. I slipped mine off for a second for these photos. Anyone over 2 is required to have one on.
So now you have these berries… what to do with them?! Honestly they are fantastic just to snack on. If you want some recipe recs, I love this blueberry pie. Make sure to make the pie crust per her recommendation. You won’t be sorry! I aIso really like these blueberry muffins. f you want something a little more simple, I love serving up a big bowl of fresh fruit and homemade whipped cream! I gave my whipped cream recipe at the bottom of this post. One of my recent favorite things is making jam. It goes perfectly with Nick’s homemade bread! So far I’ve just used this recipe and IT IS GREAT. I’ve been tempted to make my own “poptarts”, but haven’t committed to that yet. Hah!
Have any berry recipes I should try?! I am trying to create a Frosé recipe and will for sure be using some for that. Let me know if you have any berry tips or a place you love to pick from. I wish I could find a place to pick cherries! I want to do that so badly!! A lot of places are closed right now, but I’m hoping to try out Rolling Thunder Cherry Ranch in June. Regardless of if you can pick them yourself, now is a great time to buy cherries and berries at the store. They are in season and oh so good!! ENJOY.
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