Strawberry picking isn’t a very popular activity to do in the Bay Area. U Pick farms went away when the Valley moved toward a more technological industry. There are however a few places left, one being Swanton Berry Farm in Davenport, California which offers berry picking and a shop for jams and pies.
Swanton Berry Farm is north of Santa Cruz and accessible from Highway 1 along the coast. Parking is super easy as there is a large dirt field or you can park closely to the strawberry patch. Before heading out to the fields, head into the store to pick up a cardboard tray to hold your berries. When you are done wandering through the patch collecting berries head back into the store. Payment is on the honor system which I’ve literally never seen anywhere else. Weigh your berries and add your payment to the cash container.
The store has a ton of other items to purchase like fresh strawberry shortcake, strawberry apple cider, pies and cobbler.
After that we had a lovely lunch and then sat on the beach at Natural Bridges State Park and watched the rising waves.
Strawberry picking at Swanton Berry farm is such a fun hidden gem in the Central Coast. It’s perfect for tourists and bay Area natives alike, giving a country farm U Pick feel in a beautiful seaside location.
What to Know About Strawberry Picking at Swanton Berry Farms
- Bring cash, in addition to picking strawberries there are tons of berry products to purchase.
- The strawberries are organic but pricey at $4 per lb.
- The best time to visit is April – June but I’ve been as late as September and the berries were still delicious.
- The store has some history of the farm and lots of things to taste test so take your time and enjoy the view.