Ruby-red strawberry juice drips down your chin, and your hands are sticky and stained purple with blackberries. It’s the joy of summer, when fresh fruit not only flourishes, but can be savored right from the garden at roadside stands, or from “pick-your-own” farms. Click through the gallery for four spots where you can pluck the pretties in Sonoma County.
This organic farm is delighting in the largest crop of boysenberries ever in its 24 years in business. Call for a U-pick appointment after 7 a.m., seven days a week. After mid-July, dig into blackberries, too. 1543 Cunningham Road, Sebastopol, 707-829-8185
Blackberries and raspberries abound. U-pick is reserved for farm “members” (simply buy three gallons of delicious juice for $36, and you’re in for a family membership of four). Or, shop at the farm store, open weekends or by appointment August through October. 3175 Sullivan Road, Sebastopol, 707-829-0617, gabrielfarm.com
Shanti Permaculture Farm
Go for the by-appointment U-pick gooseberries and strawberries on this 6.5-acre farm, stay for the one-bedroom vacation cottage or cozy yurt (stays include complimentary fruit, veggies and eggs). 16715 Coleman Valley Road, Occidental, 707-874-2001, shantioccidental.com
Farmer Lao’s Strawberry Stand
Easier than U-pick, but just as fresh: Lao Saetern’s wood shack brims with baskets of super-sweet, glistening, gorgeous strawberries he personally farms. Expect long lines and, sometimes, rationing of the precious nibbles to one basket per person. Highway 12 just west of Duer Road, Sebastopol.