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Blackberry U-Pick Orchards in The Santa Cruz County and Bay area of California in 2024, by county

Below are the U-Pick orchards and farms for blackberries that we know of in this area. Not all areas of any state, nor even every state, have blackberries orchards that are open to the public. If you know of any others, please tell us using the add a farm form!

Remember to always check with the farm's own website or Facebook page before you go - or call or email them if they don't have a website or Facebook page. Conditions at the farms and crops can change literally overnight, so if you want to avoid a wasted trip out there - check with the farm directly before you go! If I cannot reach them, I DON'T GO!

PLEASE report closed farms, broken links and incorrect info using the "Report Corrections" form below.

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: We have re-planted on a quarter acre that will probably be ready for U-Pick in 2015; Please check back for season updates; 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.
  • 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 or refreshment stand, porta-potties are available, school tours
    55 Peckham Rd, Watsonville, CA 95076. Phone: 831-722-1056. Open: 7 days a week, 9am to 5pm. 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. . Picking updates: Click here for picking updates. 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. 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. Pik-Yor-Self - Strawberries, Olallieberries, Boysenberries, and Apples are available in our Pik-Yor-Self program. Experience the most fun part of growing fruits, here at the Ranch! Combined with fresh air, sunshine and a little sweat, it's a whole lot of fun for the kids and the entire family. Don't forget your camera.Call for our opening dates and prepare for a fun day of picking delicious fruit. Bring your own containers or let us provide boxes for a small fee.After picking, take a self guided tour of our apple orchard and berry farms. If you're here on Saturdays (September-April only), you can watch the apples get pressed for juice!
    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."
  • Live Earth Farm and Discovery Program - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, apples, apricots, beans, blackberries, olallieberries, peppers, pumpkins, raspberries (red), raspberries (Spring, red), raspberries (Autumn, red), raspberries (yellow), raspberries (Spring, yellow), raspberries (Autumn, yellow), raspberries (black), raspberries (Spring, black), strawberries, tomatoes, Honey from hives on the farm, Fresh eggs, Cider mill (fresh apple cider made on the premises), concessions or refreshment stand, porta-potties are available, restrooms, picnic area, picnic area you may bring your own food, face painting, farm animals, birthday parties, weddings and wedding parties, school tours, group reservations
    1275 Green Valley Road, Watsonville, CA 95076. Phone: 831-763-2448. Email: farmers@cruzio.com. Open: U-Picks will be held seasonally on Saturdays and Sundays only from 10 am to 3 pm, May to October; call before you come. Directions: . Click here for a map and directions. Payment: Cash, Check, Debit cards, Visa, MasterCard.
    Live Earth Farm and Discovery Program Facebook page. . Alternate Phone: 831-728-2032. . We are certified organic for all crops! Please be advised that availability of crops varies from week to week; check the table below for the status of available items. Discounts apply to produce the more you pick! Bring buckets, boxes, or other containers to harvest into, or purchase containers from us for a small fee. Make sure to dress accordingly to layers, hats, sunblock. Load up the kids, pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it! Though we appreciate canine friends, please do not bring your dogs to our farm. Typical dates (may change!):Strawberries Mother's Day Weekend Saturday and Sunday May 12th and 13th Blackberries End of July Dry-farmed Tomatoes August Peppers Apples September/October )

 

Blackberry

Blackberry Picking Tips, Recipes and Information

Wild blackberries for making jamBlackberries typically peak during June in the South of the U.S., and in July in the north and in Canada. Crops are ready at various times of the month depending on which part of the state you are located. In order to produce good local Blackberries, producers depend on ideal spring and early summer weather conditions. See this page for a list of blackberry festivals around the U.S.

Before you leave to go to the farm:

  1. Always call before you go to the farm - And when they are in season, a large turnout can pick a field clean before noon, so CALL first!
  2. Leave early.  On weekends, then fields may be picked clean by NOON!
     
  3. Most growers furnish picking containers designed for Blackberries, but they may charge you for them; be sure to call before you go to see if you need to bring containers.
    If you use your own containers, remember that heaping Blackberries more than 5 inches deep will bruise the lower berries. Plastic dishpans, metal oven pans with 3 inch tall sides and large pots make good containers. I like the Glad storage containers like the one at right.
  4. Bring something to drink and a few snacks; you'd be surprised how you can work up a thirst and appetite! And don't forget hats and sunscreen for the sun. Bugs usually aren't a problem, but some deet might be good to bring along if it has been rainy.

Tips on How to Pick Blackberries

  1. There are two types of blackberries to know about: thorny and thornless! Obviously, the thornless are easier to pick, but some people claim the thorny varieties are sweeter. With the thorny plants, you want to reach into the plant in the gaps, so you don't need to touch anything but the berry you're after, avoiding the thorns.
  2. A ripe blackberry is deep black with a plump, full feel. It will pull free from the plant with only a slight tug.  If the berry is red or purple, it's not ripe yet.
  3. Repeat these operations using both hands until each holds 3 or 4 berries. Unlike strawberries, blackberries are usually pretty tough, I dump mine into the bucket. Repeat the picking process with both hands.
  4. Don't overfill your containers or try to pack the berries down.

General Picking Tips

Whether you pick Blackberries from your garden or at a Pick-Your-Own farm, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Pick only the berries that are fully black. Reach in between the stems to grab for hidden berries ready for harvest. Bend down and look up into the plant and you will find loads of berries that other people missed!
  2. Avoid placing the picked berries in the sunlight any longer than necessary. It is better to put them in the shade of a tree or shed than in the car trunk or on the car seat. Cool them as soon as possible after picking. Blackberries may be kept fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week, depending upon the initial quality of the berry. After a few days in storage, however, the fruit loses its bright color and fresh flavor and tends to shrivel.

When you get home

  1. blackberries, just pick from a pick your own farmDON'T wash the berries until you are ready to use them or freeze them.  Washing makes them more prone to spoiling.
  2. Pour them out into shallow pans and remove any mushed, soft or rotting berries
  3. Put a couple of days supply into the fridge, wash  off the others, drain them and freeze them up! (Unless you're going to make jam right away) Blackberries are less perishable than blueberries or strawberries, but refrigerate them as soon as possible after picking. Temperatures between 34 F and 38 F are best, but, be careful not to freeze the blackberries (while they are in the fridge)!
  4. Even under ideal conditions blackberries will only keep for a week in a refrigerator, so for best flavor and texture, use them as soon as possible after purchase

Blackberry Recipes, Freezing and Jam directions

  1. How to make Blackberry jam - It is VERY easy - especially with our free Blackberry jam directions - very easy!
  2. How to make Blackberry jelly
  3. How to freeze berries
  4. Blackberry syrup, make and can it! 
  5. Seedless blackberry pie!
  6. Blackberry Festivals: Where, When and More to Find an Blackberry Festival Near You this year:

Blackberry Facts and Tips

  • Black Raspberries, also known as "black caps" are a very healthy food; packed with anthocyanins!
  • The USDA says 1 cup of blackberries has about 62 calories.
  • 1 cup of blackberries, not packed down weighs about 140 grams.
  • Select plump, firm, fully blackberries. Unripe berries will not ripen once picked.
  • Ohio State University's Article Regarding Their Prevention of Cancer
  • Oregon Berry Black Raspberry Brochure
  • Blackberry tea was said to be a cure for dysentery during the Civil War. During outbreaks of dysentery, temporary truces were declared to allow both Union and Confederate soldiers to "go blackberrying" to forgage for blackberries to ward off the disease.
  • Blackberries were enjoyed by the ancient Greeks, who believed them to be a cure for diseases of the mouth and throat, as well as a preventative against many ailments, including gout.
  • The blackberry leaf was also used as an early hair dye, having been recommended by Culpeper, the English herbalist, to be boiled in a lye solution in order to "maketh the hair black".
  • Guide to blackberry varieties
  • Researchers have known for quite some time that berries contain antioxidants which help to fight cancer causing free radicals.  A study at the University of Ohio has found that blackberries are the most potent cancer fighting berries of them all, by nearly 40 percent!
  • U-pick Blackberry farms typically sell berries by the pound. A quart equals 1 and 1/2 pounds of fresh berries.
  • Do the math and be careful not to over-purchase as Blackberries quickly mold when left at room temperature, and only last a couple of days in the refrigerator.
  • You can easily freeze berries that you cannot use right away - just wash, cut the hulls off and pop them into a ziplock bag, removing as much air as possible.  Those vacuum food sealers REALLY do a good job of this! The berries will keep for many months frozen without air.
  • Want to go to a blackberry festival? See this page for a list!

 

 

Other Local Farm Products (Honey, Horses, Milk, Meat, Eggs, Etc.)
(NOT pick-your-own, unless they are also listed above)