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 u-pick farms. Then, as the beloved Gravenstein ripens in late July, you can pick apples in and around Sebastopol. Here are a few favorite spots for picking berries, apples and other produce.
Boysenberries, Blackberries and Raspberries — Kokopelli Farm, Sebastopol: This organic farm, owned and operated by Shepherd Bliss, is nearing 30 years in business. The farm welcomes berry pickers by appointment only and also has an onsite farm stand. Call 707-829-8185 to make an appointment. The best time for berry picking is in the morning, that’s when the berries taste the best, says farmer Shepherd. Children over 15 are welcome. If you’d like to spend more time on the farm, they are currently looking for farmhands. 1543 Cunningham Road, Sebastopol, 707-829-8185.
Blackberries, Raspberries, Plums, Pluots, Apples — Earthseed Farm, Sebastopol: This 14-acre solar-powered organic farm and orchard in Sebastopol is operated in accordance with Afro Indigenous permaculture principles. It welcomes berry and fruit pickers by appointment on select days in July and August (find upcoming u-pick dates on the farm’s website). Plums, pluots, blackberries, raspberries and a variety of apples are available in the summer. 3175 Sullivan Road, Sebastopol, 707-829-0617, earthseedfarm.org.
Raspberries — Boring Farm, Sebastopol: This family-friendly, certified organic red raspberry u-pick farm welcomes berry pickers on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Make reservations online and check the farm’s Facebook page for the latest info. There is plenty of space for a post berry picking picnic by the ponds. Raspberries are $11.99 per pound. 4200 Canfield Road, Sebastopol.
Produce, Herbs and Flowers — West County Community Farm, Sebastopol: Formerly known as Green Valley Community Farm, this Sebastopol farm offers a special Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership program that allows members to pick flowers, herbs and seasonal crops from June through Thanksgiving. The farm grows over 20 varieties of edible and cut flowers, over 20 varieties of perennial and annual herbs, and a vast assortment of produce, from strawberries and cherry tomatoes to pumpkins and sugar snap peas. Due to its popularity, the farm’s 2023 CSA program is currently full, and a waitlist is available for when spots open up. 1720 Cooper Road, Sebastopol, westcountycommunityfarm.com.
Strawberries — Farmer Lao’s Strawberry Stand, Sebastopol: 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. 556 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol, just west of Duer Road.
Strawberries — Watmaugh Strawberries, Sonoma: Another popular stop for strawberries, this farm stand on Arnold Drive at W. Watmaugh Road, just south of the town of Sonoma, sells just-picked berries that are ripe all the way through and still warm from the sun. Check their Facebook page for hours of operation.
Blueberries — Duckworth Family Farm, Sebastopol: This Sebastopol farm is open for u-pick blueberries in June — their season lasts only seven weekends so make sure to contact the farm beforehand as the growing season varies each year, or sign up for the farm’s newsletter for updates on blueberry picking. After harvesting berries, guests can treat themselves to blueberry ice cream made right on the farm. Reservations, made online, are required. 2950 Canfield Road, Sebastopol, 707-829-7999, duckworthfarmblueberries.com.
Apples — Chileno Valley Ranch, Petaluma: Mike and Sally Gale bought this Petaluma ranch in 1993 and have since planted 400 apple trees. They welcome apple pickers on Sundays starting in August and stay open for picking as long as there are apples. Honey, lavender and baked goods will be available to purchase. $10 entry fee per family, apples are $2 per pound. 5105 Chileno Valley Road, Petaluma, 707-765-6664, mikeandsallygalebeefranch.com.
Golden Delicious and Roman Beauties — Apple-A-Day Ratzlaff Ranch, Sebastopol: This family-run farm in Sebastopol grows apples and pears and makes apple juice. U-pick of Golden Delicious and Roman Beauties is offered in September and October and Gravensteins are available for purchase when in season (from late July). Visit website or Facebook page for updates. 13128 Occidental Road, Sebastopol, 707-823-0538, appleadayranch.com.
Kaila Bohler and Charlie Wiltsee contributed to this article.