Everyone knows the best place to get fresh fruits is not your local chain grocery store, but at a local farmers’ market where it often comes straight from the source. What’s even better than the farmers’ market is when you pick the fruit yourself straight from the ground where it’s grown. CBS caught up with exotic fruits expert Toni Rodosta for her suggestions on the best places where you can pick your own summer fruits while they’re still in season.”These are great places near Los Angeles to pick summer fruits because it’s a very hands-on experience that allows you to interact directly with the farmers,” says the founder of Volcano Produce, an organic produce and exotic specialty fruits grower, importer and distributer.
McGrath Family Farm
1012 W. Ventura Blvd.
Camarillo, CA 93010
Owned by an Irish American family for five generations, McGrath Family Farm offers year-round strawberry picking daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For only $4 per person, you can pick all of the strawberries you want at rate of $2.75 per pound. Pricing is subject to change so all visitors are encouraged to call ahead to confirm what’s available for picking and at what rate. The strawberries are reportedly on the small side, but they make up for it with major sweetness.
Villa del Sol Sweet Cherry Farm
6989 Elizabeth Lake Road
Leona Valley, CA 93551
Villa del Sol Sweet Cherry Farm is said to be the largest “u-pick” cherry orchard in Southern California featuring 25 acres filled with 3,600 cherry trees to pick from. Villa del Sol offers at least five different types of cherries: early burlat, tulare, brookes, rainier and bing cherries. Each varies in terms of sweetness and tartness. While some are best eaten fresh, others are best used for baking cherry pies. Located about an hour northeast of Los Angeles, Villa del Sol offers cherry picking for $5 per person and charges by the pound for all of the cherries you pick. Be wary of bees, however, as these cherry trees are pollinated by as many as 50 beehives throughout the orchard.
Underwood Family Farm
3370 Sunset Valley Road
Moorpark, CA 93021
As a fully operational farm, Underwood Family Farm lets the public pick their own fresh fruits and produce while they’re in season for only $3 during the week and $6 on the weekends and major holidays. Be sure to check the crop calendar to find out what exactly is in season and available for picking. As a general rule, everything you pick, you must buy. This summer, strawberries go for a rate of $1.99 per pound while blackberries and boysenberries go for a rate of $2.99 per pound.
5380 University Drive
Irvine, CA 92612
Located about an hour from Los Angeles, Tanaka Farms is a 30-acre farm where you can pick your own watermelons, which are in season during the summer. Admission is $17 and includes a wagon ride and educational content on how fruits and vegetables grow. You also get to taste some of the other fruits and veggies grown on the farm. This family-owned farm also offers strawberry tours right before watermelon season.
Riley’s Apple Farm
12201 S. Oak Glen Road
Yucaipa, CA 92399
Riley’s Apple Farm is a three-acre apple orchard where you can also pick raspberries and blackberries when they’re in season around mid-July. Apple season officially begins Labor Day weekend and lasts until about Thanksgiving weekend, during which Riley’s hosts weekend activities that include hayrides, archery, knife throwing, apple cider pressing and more.