It’s nearly summer and the Central Valley is living up to its abundant agricultural reputation. The blossoms we celebrated in February have given way to a plethora of produce.
You can find a delicious variety of produce this time of year at your local farmers market or farm stands. However, if you’re looking for a unique and tasty way to keep the kids (or yourself) busy, there are a few places you can go to pick it yourself.
Now is the time to get picking and gather your share of our local bounty. Each fruit has its peak season, giving you a chance to enjoy a variety of vitamin-rich treats all summer long. Remember: when you’re planning a trip to pick your own, wear close-toed shoes, slather on some sunblock, and pack gloves for prickly varieties like blackberries.
There’s a lot of juicy produce to be picked down in Dinuba. Naylor Organics consists of 40 acres of apricots, peaches, plums, and nectarines and has been organic since the 80s. And, if a day trip seems too draining, they offer the unique option of staying on their farm overnight with the promise of fresh orange juice and muffins in the morning.
38918 Road 64
Rancho Notso Grande
This spot is located in Hanford so consider making a day of it and stopping by Superior Dairy. You could even time your trip to coincide with Hanford’s free Concert in the Park events (more info here). Hanford is such a cool little town, it’s worth a visit even if you don’t like fruit.
Rancho Notso Grande is a U-Pick and farm stand for the whole family. In addition to fruit, they sell local goodies like honey, wine, and soap (to name a few items). Even if picking your own isn’t your thing, this place is still worth a visit because you can purchase them already picked.
Rancho Notso Grande
11961 Excelsior Ave.
Open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Call for more info at (559) 269-1152.
Ranch Notso Grande Facebook page is here
Genesis Organic Farm (and Discovery Gardens)
This U-Pick is also located in Hanford and is by appointment only. I am sorry to say that cherry season has ended, but there’s always a new fruit around the corner here in the Valley.
If you’re feeling especially ambitious you can also join Discovery Gardens, which is run by the same people. If you enroll in the program, you’re given 80 square feet of prepared soil to garden, and seeds, plants and materials. Although there’s no guarantee you’ll actually grow something, your odds are good because weekly gardening classes are also offered. As an additional bonus, members get a special price for the U-Pick farm.
Genesis Organic Farm
7595 Central Valley Highway
By appointment only, call (559) 852-7901.
To be added to their email list for fruit picking updates, check their website here.
Mountain Brook Ranch
Cherries, boysenberries, and other heavenly fruits grace this mountain ranch, which is just a short hop up Auberry Road for those in FresYes.
If you’re not up for an afternoon of berry picking, you can purchase already-picked produce here as well. The farm stand often sells out by afternoon, so a morning trip is your best bet if you want to purchase. Also, like all farming endeavors, things depend on the weather. If your heart is set on a specific fruit, or if you just want to make sure you don’t leave empty-handed, be sure to call ahead.
Right now boysenberries are ripe, so grab a bucket and your grandma’s pie crust recipe.
Mountain Brook Ranch
17971 Auberry Rd
Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday (but call to make sure the fruit is cooperating first)
Call for more info at (559) 299-8141.
Mountain Brook Ranch Facebook page is here.
If you find yourself heading north this summer, consider an RSVP to Riverdance Farm’s U Pick in Livingston. Here, depending on the time of the year, you can pick anything from lavender and oat hay to cherries and berries.
Call ahead to set up a time and to find out what’s available for picking. Currently the U Picks are by appointment only, but every year they have a U-Pick Festival to celebrate the peak picking season.
Two Sisters U-Pick Apricots
Okay, so, this spot is already closed for the year. What can I say? In my defense, its season opened May 28, so you have to be quick! Fruit waits for no man.
I am including Two Sisters anyway because it’s a fabulous local spot with rave reviews and you’ll want to mark your calendar for next season. This U-Pick specializes in apricots and is only open for a few weeks a year. You don’t want to miss your window next year, so keep an eye on their Facebook page and mark your calendar for “around Memorial Day.”
Two Sisters is cash-only and prices are about $20 for a 1/2 bag. A family business, Two Sisters shares over 200 trees with the public on their farm in Easton every year.
Two Sisters U-Pick Apricots (closed for the year as of June 5)
583 W. Lincoln
Follow them on Facebook here.
So there’s a few options for the inner farmer in you. If you have a secret U-Pick spot I didn’t cover, be sure to drop it in the comments. Have a fabulous, fruit-filled summer and be sure to send me a slice of all the pie you make!
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