Best known for its golden beaches and forever sunny days, California is also the mighty breadbasket of the world. It’s the 5th largest supplier of food and agriculture commodities on Earth. Did you know that even though California only possesses 4% of total U.S. farms, it supplies the nation with the most agriculture products? Southern California can grow carrots and tomatoes all year long and is best known for crops like peppers, lettuce, strawberries, dates, and figs. Here’s a wow fact; Ninety-one percent of the nation’s table grapes are grown in Southern California.
SoCal’s perfect climate enables homeowners to grow delicious oranges, avocado, apples, and pomegranates right in their own backyards. Residents and visitors in SoCal are in the right state at the right time, apparently all year round. Southern California is home to many family-owned farms and apple orchards that offer pick your own fresh from the vine vegetables, “grown ripe here” fruits, and the best berry tours. Welcome to the nation’s most bountiful pantry where Southern California makes this state truly golden and giving.
Moorpark Farm Center
3770 Sunset Valley Road, Moorpark
HOURS: Daily from 9am-6pm
Located in Ventura County, the Moorpark Farm Center is a multi-generational farm that grows a variety of citrus, berries, and seasonal vegetables. Visitors can self-pick from the season’s best fruits and freshest vegetables right off the vine or visit the Market Store for already picked favorites.
Moorpark Farm has 50 acres filled with activities and entertainment for every age and energy level. Take an old-fashioned hayride tour through the farm fields, spend some time feeding the farm animals at the animal center, or relax in the shade admiring the rainbow of red tomatoes just picked. Parking is free and children under two are also free. Seasonal vegetables at Moorpark vary and can include eggplants, tomatoes, broccoli, and beets.
Children can also enjoy picking their own flowers, Farmer Fred’s Chicken Show, and a train ride. Moorpark Farm offers sensational holiday events like Springtime at the Farm, Fall Harvest on the Farm and Christmas at the Farm that require special event tickets to be purchased online. Don’t miss out on all the fun.
Somis Farm Center
5696 E. Los Angeles Ave., Somis
HOURS: Daily 9am-6pm
Somis Farm Center is the original farm of the Underwood Family. The Somis Farm Center only offers berries for their u-pick experience. Opened since 1980, Somis offers an incredible true farm experience and has its own Animal Center where entry is included in admission. U-Pick admission is $3.00 with pickings an additional fee. Somis offers specialty fruits like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, figs, tangerines, and blackberries. Fall Harvest is a special time at the Somis Farm Center with Autumn decorations and traditional Fall pumpkin patch fun.
5380 ¾ University Drive, Irvine
Tanaka Farms is where OC residents go for an authentic farm atmosphere and U-Pick fruits and vegetables activities. Tanaka Farms also features barnyard story time, fun and educational tours, and cool workshops for children. U-Pick Farm Tours are a guided and tractor drawn adventure. All guests will be able to stop in the fields and pick what’s caught the eye and appetite!
You can also participate in a true farm to table experience by reserving a Table Cookout Tour. This is a special tour where you select from a variety of vegetables like eggplant, carrots, corn and cucumbers. After picking, you will assist in an outside cooking session enjoying grilled veggies, hand selected salad, fresh fruit dessert, and water. Are you Looking for something romantic? Tanaka Farms also offers a Sunset Wagon Tour that features dining al fresco with music and tri tip beef or chicken.
Springtime offers the Strawberry U-Pick Wagon Tours. During the tour, you can sample strawberries, and everyone will take home a 1-pint basket of the sweetest strawberries fresh from the field. Melon Tours at the farm begin in July. Have you ever seen a yellow watermelon? Discover Canary melons, sweet Honeydew, and juicy Cantaloupe. November will feature the Fall Harvest U Pick Tour. During the Fall Harvest Wagon Tour, you will be able to pick your favorite vegetables and take them home. Tours require an online reservation.
Julian Farm & Orchard
4444 State Hwy 78 Julian/Wynola CA 92036
HOURS: Saturdays & Sunday 10-5, Select Fridays for just pumpkin picking only
Julian Farm and Orchard is home to everything country just as its website states. Prime apple picking season starts in September and runs through October. Julian Farms & Orchard is operated by The Julian Mining Company. You will be amazed at rows and rows of ripe Honeycrisp and Liberty apple trees. Raspberries, blackberries and strawberries are also available during the year for u pick farm fun.
If your family is looking for more than picking apples, you’ve arrived at the perfect place. Entertainment here is done farm right! Enjoy hayrides, cider pressing, farm animals, daring archery, and ax throwing action. There’s plenty of country shopping at the farm store for hand crafted candles, from scratch provisions, and goat’s milk soap.
Mid-September is when the much-awaited pumpkin patch adventure begins. Book a Farm Field Trip or Fall Pumpkin Patch Field Trip for special activities with a pioneer guide that including candle dipping, pioneer chores, and animal husbandry.
Volcan Valley Apple Farm
1284 Julian Orchards Dr, Julian
HOURS: Friday thru Monday 9am –5pm
It’s a doctors’ paradise here at the Vulcan Valley Apple Farm; have several different apples a day! Lush orchards are filled with Jonathans, juicy Golden Delicious, Empire apples, perfect Pippins, and sweet Fujis. It’s a pie maker’s heaven and Vulcan Valley has the “apple snob’s” preferred varieties.
This u pick farm is very organized, has easy parking, and new shaded seating to sample your picks and have a piece of perfect pie. The Vulcan Valley U Pick Season begins around the end of August and runs until mid-October.
Admission is a super deal at $1 and full a bag of ripe apples is only $12. Guests are able to bring leashed dogs. Fresh pressed cider is available for purchase, and little ones will love walking up to right sized trees for apple picking fun, too!
39400 Oak Glen Road, Oak Glen
HOURS: Friday through Sunday: 10AM – 4PM
Did someone say doughnuts? Welcome to Snow-Lined Orchard, home of the world-famous mini apple cider doughnut! Of course there are apple orchards to pick from and other exciting activities, too. This orchard has a huge following thanks to it’s mini doughnuts! Spend time watching the minis float along the “doughnut coaster” until they turn golden brown. These irresistible gems are made from a secret apple cider recipe, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and served warm.
This family-owned orchard is also a winery with home blends for tasting or spend some quality time by purchasing a tasting card to find your favorite. You can enjoy the afternoon in the picnic area with friends and family while sharing snacks and your new bottle of wine. The Orchard is flush with the sweetest raspberries for picking.
Visitors will enjoy beautiful mountain views, historic buildings, and fall foliage in every hue. Apple varieties are the most varied in the area with McIntosh, Braeburn, and the rare Mutsu. Guests can sample the apples and are delighted to see them quickly peeled and cored by the old fashioned apple peeler. Visit the original packing shed and tour the historic cedar mill. Visitors can purchase fine fares of artesian balsamic, local honey varieties, and crafted hard ciders. Snow-Line Orchard has been delivering “Sky High Quality“ for over 36 years.
Willowbrook Apple Farm
12099 S. Oak Glen Rd., Oak Glen
HOURS: Sat & Sun 10am – 4pm
Willow Brook Apple Farm is the home of the exotic apple. Come pick rare apple varieties like the Stayman Winesaps, Sweet Sixteen, and you can’t miss the Double Delicious. Guests can participate in organic blackberry and raspberry picking right off the vine.
Come discover the most cherished part of the farm: cider pressing. Willow Brook takes cider seriously and uses 13 pounds of apples to press a half gallon of premium cider. It’s the perfect way to welcome the Fall season.
Visit the country store for autumn gourmet favorites like raspberry jalapeño jam, black berry syrup and clean crafted farm made wines. Wine tasting events are accompanied by a crackling bonfire, soft country music and the option to purchase an artfully curated charcuterie box.
Children can attend the amazing summer camp filled with arts and crafts, planting, tending to animals and much more. The fall u pick season kicks off with berries on Labor Day weekend.
South Cost Farms
33201 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano
Dana Point Farm Stand
24040 Camino Del Avion, Dana Point
HOURS: Tuesday-Sunday 10:00am-5:00pm
Because reservations are not required, South Coast Farms is a great option when a family is spontaneous and wants an escape from electronics and screen time. South Coast Farms is located inside the Tree of Life Nursey and surrounded by lush mountains free from traffic and town noise.
Strawberries are the primary u pick fruit, and you can discover varieties like the Frontera and the San Andreas. Parking here is only $5. South Coast Farms is proud to grow environmentally friendly produce free of pesticides or harmful chemicals. Every week has different u pick options like hot peppers, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers. Emily at the farm says South Coast is a classic farm and when the strawberry season ends, the farm kicks into full swing preparing for its Fall Pumpkin U Pick in October.
Be sure to check the website for upcoming dates at South Coast Farms. Founder Farmer George makes it easy in between u pick seasons by selling his crops of sweet watermelons, honeydews, cantaloupes and squash at the Dana Point Farm Stand.
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Cindy is an OC native fond of PCH road trips to places like Santa Rosa or Carmel. She’s a mother of three spending her free time baking apple pies, cooking green enchiladas, and listening to 80s music. She’s a beach girl at heart and Cancun is her go to paradise.