Strawberries are plump, red, juicy fruits that are high in vitamin C, folic acid and antioxidants. The state of California harvests more than 10 million pints of strawberries a day during peak season. Strawberry picking can be a pleasant way to enjoy a sunny day. Several farms throughout the state of California allow you to do just that.
San Diego Area
The Carlsbad Strawberry Company (carlsbadstrawberry.com) is located in Carlsbad, which is just north of San Diego. This 80-acre farm has been cultivating strawberries since 1948. Though strawberries are seasonal, the farm grows strawberries year-round. "U-Pick" strawberry picking is available from January through July, when the strawberries are harvested. The strawberries grown here are also sold at nearby farmer's markets. At the time of publication, rates for Carlsbad Strawberry Company's strawberry picking were $8.50 for a small bucket and $17 for a large bucket.
Los Angeles Area
Harvest Time (harvest4you.com), in Brentwood, allows visitors to pick many varieties of fruits and vegetables, including strawberries. Strawberry picking is available from April through October. Tanaka Farms (tanakafarms.com), in Irvine, produces organic produce. The farm offers Strawberry Tours during the months of April, May and June. The half-hour tour includes a wagon ride through the strawberry patch, where you can fill a 1-lb. basket of fresh strawberries to take home.
Murray Family Farms (murrayfamilyfarms.com) in Bakersfield is a 360-acre farm that offers visitors "U-Pick" strawberry picking during the months of April and May for $2.99 per pound, at the time of this publication. The farm also features picnic areas and a petting zoo. Gizdich Ranch (gizdich-ranch.com) in Watsonville, near Santa Cruz, offers "Pik Yor Self" strawberry picking between May and July. Fresh strawberry pies, shortcakes and jams are available for sale in the farm's gift shop.
California Strawberry Festival
If strawberry picking is not enough, head to the California Strawberry Festival (strawberry-fest.org), which takes place each May in Oxnard. The festival features live entertainment, vendors, cooking demonstrations, children's rides, pie-eating contests and hundreds of exhibits. The event features an endless assortment of strawberry foods and beverages, including everything from chocolate-covered strawberries to strawberry pizza. Proceeds from the festival benefit more than 20 area charities.
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