Where in the Santa Cruz County area of California to find pick your own farms and orchards for fruit, vegetables, pumpkins and canning & freezing instructions!

This month's notes: April 2014: Spring is just around the corner.  Strawberries are here in Florida, Texas and California, next in late March and April for much of the South, then in May for most of the country and June in cooler northern areas. See how easy it is to make strawberry jam or strawberry-rhubarb jam!

Organic farms are identified in green!  See our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals!. Please tell the farms you found them here - and ask them to update their information!!

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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".

the Santa Cruz County area of California U-Pick Farms and Orchards, sorted by county

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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Santa Cruz County

  • Ambling Ambystoma Farm - Certified Organic, blackberries,
    500 Peaceful Valley Dr, La Selva Beach, CA 95076. Phone: 831-345-8866. Email: m4perez@netzero.net. Open: Saturdays and Sundays, 9 am to 7 pm, mid July through September. Directions: From Santa Cruz: Take highway 1 south and exit at San Andreas Road Turn right, and proceed on San Andreas Road through La Selva Beach, past Manresa Beach before turning left on Peaceful Valley Dr. It is the next road just past the KOA. Cross railroad tracks and go over hill into valley. Take first right into farm. Click here for a map and directions. U-Pick thornless blackberres, open Saturdays and Sundays, 9 am to 7 pm, mid July through September. We are certified organic for all crops! Payment: Cash, Check. (ADDED: August 20, 2010)
  • Clearview Orchards - Certified Organic, apples, Honey from hives on the farm, U-pick and already picked, picnic area
    646 Trabing Road, Watsonville, CA 95076. Phone: 408-472-1958. Email: info@clearvieworchards.com. Open: Saturday and Sunday, from 10am to 5pm, September 15 to November 4. Directions:  from Santa Cruz: Highway 1 South towards Watsonville Exit Buena Vista Road Turn left at stop sign Turn left on Trabing road to orchard. Click here for a map and directions. We are certified organic for all crops! Payment: Cash, Debit cards, Visa/MasterCard. Click here for our Facebook page. (UPDATED: September 04, 2012) (ADDED: October 26, 2011)
  • Crystal Bay Farm - Certified Organic, olallieberries, raspberries (red), raspberries (yellow), strawberries, tayberries, picnic area, farm animals, birthday parties, school tours
    40 Zils Road, Watsonvillle, CA 95076. Phone: (831) 724-4137. Email: crystalbayfarm@mac.com. Open: Please call ahead for u - pick. Directions: From Highway 1 take the the San Andreas / Larken Valley exit to San Andreas road, drive 4.5 miles to Zils road We are at the corner of San Andreas and Zils Road. Click here for a map and directions. We are certified organic for all crops! Payment: Cash, Check. We are a small family farm open to the public, located between two state beaches on the beautiful Monterey Bay. We offer a self-serve farm stand, a pumpkin patch, and farm tours. Our Self-Serve Farm stand operates on the honor system. If the farmer is not around take your fruit and place your payment in the cash tube at the corner of the farm stand. In the Fall we have a huge assortment of pumpkins and winter squash. So come on out, we look forward to seeing you in the field. Certified Organic by CCOF since 1997.  (ADDED: October 12, 2008) (UPDATED: May 24, 2009)
  • Gizdich Farm - apples, blackberries, boysenberries, olallieberries, raspberries (Spring, red), strawberries, Cider mill (fresh apple cider made on the premises), U-pick and already picked, farm market, gift shop, concessions / refreshment stand, porta-potties, school tours
    55 Peckham Rd, Watsonville, CA 95076. Phone: 831-722-1056. Open: Picking updates: Click here for picking updates. Directions: From Highway 1 (southbound), take Riverside Drive EXIT, turn left overpass, straight through downtown Watsonville (high school on left side), over a bridge, left on Lakeview Road, right on Carlton Road, left on Peckham Road. From Highway 1 (northbound), same exit, right on Riverside, follow above. From Highway 101 (southbound & northbound), take 129 WEST to Watsonville, fork right on Carlton Road, (stop sign Thompson Road), straight on Carlton, right on Peckham Road. Click here for a map and directions. Payment: Cash, Visa/MasterCard. Strawberries: May to September Olallieberries: June Boysenberries and Blackberries: Mid June to July Apples: September (3 weeks).Pie Shop open Daily 9am - 5pm Serving our famous farm fresh pies and our Award winning Apple Juice. They grow 16 varieties of apples but only Red Delicious, Newton Pippins & Golden Delicious are U-pick.   (ADDED: April 14, 2011) (UPDATED: May 29, 2013)
    Comments from a visitor on June 20, 2011: "This place has been around forever!! I picked berries here as a kid. I took my teenagers last year. My mom and all her friends use them for their jam berries. Worth the trip (unless Rancho Not So Grande can beat their prices. They are local while Gizdich is an almost 3 hour drive" Comments from a visitor on June 26, 2010: "Love it, have been going for many years. "
    Comments from a visitor on December 21, 2009: "Have been going to their ranch for years. It is a wonderful place. Their olallieberries and apples are the best! Gizdich Ranch is surrounded by other small family farms. The whole county is rich in agriculture. Fields of artichokes, strawberries, olallieberries, boysenberries, apples, vegetables, etc. In the fall the area it is a cornucopia to the season. They have a shop located in their barn that sells farm grown apples and fresh berries in season or bags of frozen berries ( 4 & 8 lbs.), frozen berry puree, freshly pressed apple juice and a variety of jams, etc.. There is also a bakeshop/deli that serves: freshly baked pies (sold whole or by the slice), shortcakes, pastries, apple dumplings, sandwiches, box lunches & drinks. Also have an antique shop next to the barn. Yes they have restrooms. Yes, credit card and ship nation wide. There are picnic tables & tours of ranch. Family friendly. They are not organic. But are trying a variety of natural approaches to cut back on spraying."
  • Spooky-Ooky Pumpkin Patch at Crystal Bay Farm - u pick strawberries, Pumpkin Patch
    40 Zils Road, Watsonville, CA. Phone: 831/-761-8507. Email: marisol@caff.org . Open: October 1-31, 2007, 10 am to 6 pm. No admission charge.
  • Swanton Berry Farm - ORGANIC, Strawberries
    25 Swanton Road, Davenport, CA.  Phone: 831-469-8804. Email: mail@swantonberryfarm.com. Containers are provided. We have many attractive areas for relaxing after gathering your fill of berries or kiwis, so bring a picnic and spend the day with us at one of our ranches. Click here for a map and driving directions. Strawberry fields are open from 8 am to 6 pm at the Swanton Farm Stand. Strawberries are $2.50 per pound (2009 price).  Also pre-picked broccoli, cauliflower, artichokes and peas. Everything is Certified Organic by California Certified Organic Farmers. U-Pick Sundays beginning June 15th and continuing every Sunday until August 31st. Tours depart from our Swanton Ranch Farm Stand (just 2 miles north of Davenport on Highway 1) every Sunday at 9am. The day includes a 1 hour guided farm tour, variety tasting (all you can eat!), plus a dessert from our bakery kitchen. Bring a picnic to enjoy by our ocean front fields. The cost is $10 for Adults, $5 for Children under 8. U-pick is available for tour guests at an extra charge. (UPDATED: May 17, 2009)

Farmer's Markets, Farm Stands and Roadside Stands, Etc.
(NOT pick-your-own, unless they are also listed above)

Santa Cruz County

Local Honey Sources:

Santa Cruz County

Meats, Milk and Eggs:

Horse Rides and More:

Farm Bed And Breakfasts

Farm Venues for Events, Activities, Parties and Meetings:

Wholesale Foods

Resources For Farmers

Santa Cruz County

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Picking Tips

[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]

Home Canning Kits


Ball Enamel Waterbath Canner, Including Chrome-Plated Rack and 4-Piece Utensil Set

* All the tools you need for hot waterbath canning - in one comprehensive set!
* Complete with 21 1/2 qt. enameled waterbath canner
* Also includes canning rack, funnel, jar lifter, jar wrencher, bubble freer, tongs and lid lifter.
* A Kitchen Krafts exclusive collection.

This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)! There is also s simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if your want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!
Don't forget the Ball Blue Book!

Lids, Rings, Jars, mixes, pectin, etc.

Need lids, rings and replacement jars?  Or pectin to make jam, spaghetti sauce or salsa mix or pickle mixes?  Get them all here, and usually at lower prices than your local store!

Get them all here at the best prices on the internet!