Hooray, hooray – U-pick is open!
Last weekend was perfect for berry picking on the coast – strawberries are abundant at Swanton Berry Farm and the weather couldn’t have been better. There are so many things about Santa Cruz County that are unique, and I loved this adventure to Swanton because the farm is representative of the incredibly varied environment here: fields of strawberries situated just steps away from the ocean. The farm is up Highway 1 past Davenport, and would look just like a traditional farm – rustic buildings, perfectly parallel fields of strawberry plants, hand-painted signs – except that when you raise your head from picking berries your eyes meet not the traditional rolling hills or fields associated with farm land, but stunning coastal views. It’s one of my favorite things about living here.
Swanton Farm itself is a refreshing little piece of good ol’ fashioned country in an otherwise beach-centric California, which I’m totally delighted by. You pick up your berry boxes in the farmhouse and head out to the fields to fill them at your leisure (“ONly Pick all Red Fruit”!) and then return to the farmhouse to weigh your berries and pay via their famous honor till – you pay as much as you owe and make your own change, and the cash is right there on the table. Unheard of! But apparently it works, and that’s as refreshing as anything – a little restoration of faith in humanity right there in that one simple gesture.
We’ll be back for sure, when ollalieberries and blackberries are in season. For now, we’re going to enjoy our harvest in smoothies, on shortcake, fresh with whipped cream and – if I’m feeling adventurous – in freezer jam.
Sunshine, sea breeze, fresh fruit and a new adventure – everything about this outing felt like the beginning of summer. I’ll take more of that any day.