Strawberries for Elle

I just finished reading “Blueberries for Sal” for the fourth time in about as many hours, so you have my daughter, Ellery, to thank for the inspiration for today’s post. Unlike Little Sal and Little Bear, we don’t have a Blueberry Hill in Santa Cruz where we can forage and feast on blueberries to our heart’s delight, but we do have several excellent you-pick berry farms to enjoy and get a similar experience (minus swapping your children for a bear cub).

Ellery and her cousin picking strawberries at Swanton last summer

Here are a couple of tried-and-true options for you-pick farms in Santa Cruz County; please feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments!

Gizdich Ranch

The original “Pik-yor-sef” spot around, Gizdich Ranch has been running their you-pick operation for decades. They offer strawberries, olallieberries, boysenberries, and raspberries. Though not yet up-to-date for the 2016 season, they have a handy website with price and availability status on each berry. I am told that strawberries will start May 1st. The price for strawberries is still to-be-determined but last year they were $1.75 a pound. Olallieberries will be in June, with other berries to follow. You can bring your own containers to put your berries in, or purchase one there for $1.

Swanton Berry Farm

If organic berries are your jam (not sorry for obligatory berry pun!), head over to one of Swanton Berry Farm’s two locations for your pick of strawberries, olallieberries, or blackberries. Strawberries start in May, with olallieberries and blackberries following in June and July, respectively. Check their website or give them a call for hours, location, and availability.

Prevedelli Farm

Ok, this option is not a you-pick farm but you can contact them and go buy your berries straight from their farm or catch them at several farmer’s markets in the area. So why did I include them on the list? Loganberries! Much more rare than olallieberries, loganberries are so fragile that you’ll never see them in a store. Nick Prevedelli tells me they are a little more tart than sweet compared to the other berries they grow, and also make excellent jam. Their season starts in June and you can find them at these farmer’s markets.  Also check their website for more on the other berries they grow and contact info if you want to go buy your berries on the farm.

Loganberries from Prevedelli Farm, photo courtesy Nick Prevedelli
Olallieberries from Prevedelli Farm, photo courtesy Nick Prevedelli
Olallieberries at Prevedelli Farm, photo courtesy Nick Prevedelli


Happy berry hunting!

–Katie Hansen

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