Where in Orange County, California to find pick your own farms and orchards for fruit, vegetables, pumpkins and canning & freezing instructions!
This month's notes: September 2015: Strawberries and blueberries each have a very brief season; don't miss them: See your state's crop availability calendar for more specific dates of upcoming crops. And see our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals, such as strawberry festivals and blueberry festivals. Organic farms are identified in green! Also make your own ice cream - see How to make ice cream and ice cream making equipment and manuals.) Have fun, eat healthier and better tasting, and save money by picking your own locally grown fruit and vegetables, and then using our easy canning and freezing directions!
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- To see the pick-your-own farms and orchards for this area, click here or scroll down the page
- Crop availability / harvest calendar
- Farm markets, roadside stands, local meat, milk, eggs, local honey, horse riding, farm B&B's etc.
- To find pumpkin patches, corn mazes and other Halloween activities, click here.
- To find choose and cut-your-own Christmas tree farms, click here.
I'm always looking for suggestions of more farms and events to add and feedback about any you have visited, so if you encounter any, just click on the preceding link, as appropriate! And if you have a farm and want to add it or correct the information, please click on the link to "add my farm".
Remember: ALWAYS call (or follow the link to the farm's own website, if the name is a blue link) to confirm the information before you go! They may close, run out or change events, times, etc. without notifying me!
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South Coast Farms - ORGANIC, strawberries - usually just 1 day a
32701 Alipaz Street, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675. Phone: 949-661-9381. Open: See their website for for hours and availability. Primarily, this is a farmstand and CSA. Call to ask them about the 1-day PYO; you have to call; they don't do email or don't appear to post it on their website. Directions: See their website for directions. Payment: Cash, only. (UPDATED: April 26, 2015, JBS) (UPDATED: May 25, 2014, from their website) (ADDED: July 02, 2010, suggested by a visitor)
Comments from a visitor on July 16, 2011: "The ONLY pyo crops offered are: Strawberries, and only at the end of the season, for one day. This year (2011), it was Sunday, July 11th. They also have a pumpkin patch, fresh apple cider and crafts for Hallowe'en. "
Comments from a visitor on July 02, 2010: "Apparently they grow everything organic. They also have a CSA program. I have only been there once, but I am going back to pick strawberries this weekend! $1.25 a pound for organic strawberries! That's a great deal in this neck o'the woods!"
Tanaka Farms - strawberries,
5380 3/4 University Drive, Irvine, California 92612. Phone: 949-653-2100. Fax: 949-653-9050. Email: Tanaka Farms - Strawberries, pumpkins and other vegetables and fruits. Corn maze. Guided wagon ride around the farm
5380 3/4 University Drive, Irvine, CA, 92612. Phone: 949-653-2100 or 949-653-9050. Email: TanakaFarms@aol.com. Open: There are strawberry U-pick tours in the Spring and vegetable u-pick tours in the summer; U- Pick Tour times will be posted on our website when available. Directions: 2 miles north of I-5 and I-405 interchange, take I-405 to University Dr - South to Strawberry Farms Rd on corner. Click here for a map to our farm. and another map is here. Strawberry tours: This is a guided tour around the farm that takes approximately one hour on a tractor- pulled wagon. You will see how fruits & vegetables grow and sample many of those that are in season. The last stop on this tour is in the strawberry patch will you be able to pick and eat strawberries! Each person will take home a one (1) pound basket of strawberries! How Does It Work? Weekday school tours and group tours are available by reservation only. No reservations are needed for our weekend tours unless the group is large. Please arrive 25 minutes before to check in and receive instructions. Make Strawberry Tour reservations by calling (949) 653-2100 ext. 204 with the name, phone number, date, the time you wish to attend, the number of adults, children, and children ages 2 years old and under who will be attending. A confirmation will be sent to you by email.Harvest items TBD. (Will not include strawberries.) Vegetable U-pick harvest tours: What Is a Harvest Tour? This is a FREE, guided wagon ride around the farm, where you will be able to pick your own fresh fruits and vegetables in the fields! This tour takes 45 min to 1 1/4 hours. Remember to wear closed-toed shoes as you will be walking through the fields! How Does It Work? This tour is seasonal and generally runs during the off-season. No reservations are necessary; simply arrive 15-20 min previous to the start of the tour so you don't miss the tractor. Vegetable picking is seasonal and based on availability, but U-Pick produce may include: carrots, tomatoes, beets, baby bok choy, lettuce, kale, butternut squash and more. It's a surprise every day! Pay for what you've picked at the end of your tour. Group rates are available call for details. We also have CSA fundraiser available. (UPDATED: April 26, 2015, JBS) (UPDATED: May 25, 2014, from their website) (UPDATED: July 06, 2008)
Comments from a visitor on April 15, 2011: "Further clarification on the "U-Pic" part of the farm. For $15, you get to ride on the tractor, get a tour of the many fruits and vegetables on the farm, and a ONE POUND basket for you to fill up with strawberries."
Comments from a visitor on March 27, 2011: "Tanaka Farms has a CSA program through Farm2Table Connect. There is no membership fee, you only pay for the box of fruits/vegetables. The large box is $30 and the small is $20. They will also donate a portion from each box to participating schools. Visit this website for more info. "
Comments from a visitor on August 8, 2008: "I took my husband & son to Tanaka Farms for their "Pick-your-own- strawberries" we went on a guided wagon tour that included several stops to taste fresh picked produce from their farm, we then had 15 minutes to pick and eat as many strawberries as we could. Our 1 1/2 year old son LOVED it. Sure they were the most expensive basket of strawberries ($13 per basket) my husband or I had ever purchased, but those pictures were priceless !! They also offer a Watermelon tour which we intend to go do as well."
Farmer's Markets, Farm Stands and Roadside Stands, Etc.
unless they are also listed above)
Village at Orange / Sprouts Farmer's Market- Wide variety of
seasonal fruits and vegetables
1500 E Village Way #2279, Orange, CA 92865. Phone: (714) 464-1060. Open: Thursdays, 9 am to 1 pm (rain or shine). Directions: between Katella & Lincoln on Tustin Street; Call for directions. Payment: Cash, only..More Information. Affiliated with Orange County Farm Bureau Sponsored Certified Farmers' Markets. California certified farmers' markets are the real thing - places where genuine farmers sell fruits, nuts and vegetables directly to the public. Every farmer who sells at a certified market is inspected by the county agricultural commissioner to make sure he/she actually grows the commodity being sold.
(ADDED: March 27, 2011, suggested by a visitor)
Comments from a visitor on March 27, 2011: "Have not been to this Farmer's Market, but I work nearby and always see it in the East parking of what used to be the "Orange Mall" which is now called the "Village of Orange" or something like that. Don't know payment options, just know the day of week and hours."
Local Honey Sources:
Backyard Bees - Honey (retail), Honey (wholesale), Buckwheat
honey, Eucalyptus honey, Orange blossom honey, Wildflower honey, Comb
honey, Raw honeys, Ultrafiltered honey, Other honey products, Tours,
Honey from hives on the farm, birthday parties
2216 N Flower St, Santa Ana, CA 92706. Phone: 8004766105. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Open: Contact for availability. Directions: Payment: Cash, Check, Debit cards, Visa/MasterCard. Click here for our Facebook page. Honey is a combination of california natives and ornamentals available in Orange County. Our honey comes from hives that are kept naturally and are never fed or treated. Backyard Bees honey is untreated and unfiltered, left in its natural state. (ADDED: February 24, 2015)
Meats, Milk and Eggs:
Horse Rides and More:
Farm Bed And Breakfasts
Farm Venues for Events, Activities, Parties and Meetings:
Backyard Bees - Banquets / Dinners, Birthday parties,
Business meetings, Classes, lectures or Speakers, School and educational
groups, Other Private Parties, Lighting, Some Tables and chairs are
provided, children welcome, Honey from hives on the farm, birthday
2216 N Flower St, Santa Ana, CA 92706. Phone: 8004766105. Email: email@example.com. Open: Contact for availability. Directions: Payment: Cash, Check, Debit cards, Visa/MasterCard. Click here for our Facebook page. Backyard garden available for educational groups, tours, meetings, birthday parties and more. Guests will be able to tour gardens and honey house operations. (ADDED: February 24, 2015)
Resources For Farmers
[General picking tips and a guide to each fruit and vegetable] [How much do I need to pick? (Yields - how much raw makes how much cooked or frozen)] [Selecting the right varieties to pick] [All about apple varieties - which to pick and why!] [Picking tips for Vegetables] [ Strawberry picking tips] [ Blueberries picking tips]
Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes
[ All About Home Canning, Freezing and Making Jams, Pickles, Sauces, etc. ] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]