Ruby-red strawberry juice drips down your chin and your hands are sticky and stained purple with blackberries. It’s the joy of summer, when fresh fruit not only flourishes but can be savored right from the garden at roadside stands or from u-pick farms. Then, as the beloved Gravenstein ripens in late July, you can pick apples in and around Sebastopol. Here are a few favorite spots for picking berries and other fruit.
Boysenberries, Blackberries and Raspberries — Kokopelli Farm, Sebastopol
This organic farm, owned and operated by Shepherd Bliss, is nearing 30 years in business. The farm welcomes berry pickers by appointment only and also has an onsite farm stand. Call 707-829-8185 to make an appointment. The best time for berry picking is in the morning, that’s when the berries taste the best, says farmer Shepherd. Children over 15 are welcome. If you’d like to spend more time on the farm, they are currently looking for farmhands.
Blackberries, Raspberries, Plums, Pluots, Apples — Earthseed Farm, Sebastopol
This 14-acre solar-powered organic farm and orchard in Sebastopol is operated in accordance with Afro Indigenous permaculture principles. It welcomes berry and fruit pickers by appointment on select Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (find upcoming u-pick dates on the farm’s website). An entry fee of $25 helps support the farm and berries are paid for by the pound. Plums, pluots, blackberries and apples are currently available. 3175 Sullivan Road, Sebastopol, 707-829-0617, earthseedfarm.org.
Raspberries — Boring Farm, Sebastopol
This family-friendly, certified organic red raspberry u-pick farm welcomes berry pickers on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Reserve a parking spot in advance (click here) and check the farm’s Facebook page for the latest info. There is plenty of space for a post berry picking picnic by the ponds. 4200 Canfield Road, Sebastopol.
Strawberries, Herbs and Flowers — Green Valley Community Farm, Sebastopol
This Sebastopol farm offers a special membership program that allows members to pick flowers and herbs from June through October and strawberries for as many weeks as the plants produce fruit. The farm grows over 50 varieties of flowers, as well as marjoram, oregano, thyme, basil, cilantro, parsley, chives, Vietnamese coriander, shiso, perilla, tarragon and sage. 13024 Green Valley Road, Sebastopol, greenvalleycommunityfarm.org.
Strawberries — Farmer Lao’s Strawberry Stand, Sebastopol
Easier than U-pick, but just as fresh: Lao Saetern’s wood shack brims with baskets of super-sweet, glistening, gorgeous strawberries he personally farms. Expect long lines and, sometimes, rationing of the precious nibbles to one basket per person. Highway 12 just west of Duer Road, Sebastopol.
Strawberries — Watmaugh Strawberries, Sonoma
Another popular stop for strawberries, this farm stand on Arnold Dr at W Watmaugh Road, just south of the town of Sonoma, sells just-picked berries that are ripe all the way through and still warm from the sun. Check their Facebook page for hours of operation.
Blueberries — Duckworth Family Farm, Sebastopol
This Sebastopol farm is open for u-pick blueberries in June — their season lasts only 7 weekends so make sure to contact the farm beforehand as the growing season varies each year. Reservations, made online, are required. 2950 Canfield Road, Sebastopol, 707-829-7999, duckworthfarmblueberries.com.
Apples — Chileno Valley Ranch, Petaluma
Mike and Sally Gale bought this Petaluma ranch in 1993 and have since planted 400 apple trees. They welcome apple pickers from September 5 by appointment (reservations open August 15). Guests are required to wear masks and practice social distancing. Honey, lavender and baked goods will be available to purchase. $10 entry fee per family, apples are $2 per lb. 5105 Chileno Valley Road, Petaluma, 707-765-6664, mikeandsallygalebeefranch.com.
Golden Delicious and Roman Beauties — Apple-A-Day Ratzlaff Ranch, Sebastopol
This family-run farm in Sebastopol grows apples and pears and makes apple juice. U-pick of Golden Delicious and Roman Beauties is offered in September and October and Gravensteins are available for purchase when in season (from late July). Visit website for updates:. 13128 Occidental Road, Sebastopol, 707-823-0538, appleadayranch.com.
Apples — Happy Apples Farm, Healdsburg
This small organic family farm grows zinfandel and more than 20 different types of apples. Open for u-pick apple picking by appointment from August 15 to October 30. Varieties include Red Gravenstein, Surprise, Sparkle, Pink Permains, Mac Mystery, Courtlands, Crispin, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Winter Banana and Romes. 8605 Westside Road, Healdsburg, 707-331-9506.
Apples — Casari Ranch, Sonoma Coast
This coastal ranch specializes in guided equine experiences, organic wool bedding and home goods and also offers farm retreats, tours and u-pick apple picking by appointment in their heirloom apple orchard. Their u-pick will open first week of September, and will be open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m by appointment. Email [email protected] to make a reservation and for directions.
By: Sonoma Magazine Staff
Kaila Bohler contributed to this article.