We FINALLY had a weekend with no events on the books and were looking for some family fun to be had. I have always been interested in apple or berry picking. I thought it would be fun for the whole family to go and then bake up some sweet treats!
I heard about Swanton Berry Farm from a friend. It is in Pescadero and offers organic strawberries and blackberries to pick. We decided to plan a whole family fun day on the coast, and it really was just one of those days when you say, “We are just crushing this whole parenting thing!”
Here was our schedule for our day trip to the coast:
8:15 AM: Drive down to Pescadero from San Francisco. It’s such a beautiful drive down the coast!
9:30 AM: Arrive in downtown Pescadero. We grabbed some amazing coffee (pour-over, my favorite) and delicious muffins/scones at Downtown Local coffee shop. After getting some energy for the day, we walked down the street to Arcangeli Grocery Co – Norm’s Market to grab some deli sandwiches for our beach lunch later. This store has amazing homemade foods: marinades, jams, dressing, baked goods, and my favorite has to be the incredible garlic herb and artichoke bread! Bring a cooler for your beach lunch, but maybe bring the bigger cooler for all the delicious things you might buy here!
10:30 AM: Arrive at Swanton Berry Farm. They do have two locations so be sure to input the directions to the Coastways Ranch U-Pick Pescadero location found on their website. After parking, we walked up to the front stand and were given a box and some smaller cardboard bins to put all our picked berries in. It was such a beautiful day. There weren’t a lot of other people, and the berries were SO GOOD! Everything was mapped out well with signs that led you to the berries that were ready for picking! * Bring cash or check!
12:00 PM: We drove not even one minute up the road to Año Nuevo Natural Preserve. It costs $10 for the day to park. We parked in a lot which had nice bathrooms, always a plus! From the parking lot, it was about a ½ mile walk down to Cove Beach. There are some stairs so not stroller friendly! Once down on the beach, it’s a long mile stretch of sand and wasn’t crowded at all. We laid out our blanket on the beach and marked our spot for the afternoon!
2:30 PM: We packed it all up, waved goodbye to the beautiful beach, and gave ourselves a high-five for a well-planned family day!
Keeping your berries fresh:
- Vinegar bath: Once home, give those berries a bath in 1 cup of white vinegar and 8 cups of water by placing the berries in a large bowl and gently moving them around the mixture.
- Drain them in a colander and rinse them with water.
- Dry the berries on paper towels and pat them gently.
- Store the berries in a container lined with paper towels. Leave the lid slightly off so that they aren’t sealed airtight.
- Blackberry Crumble Cream Pie – the recipe online says blueberry in the title but I used blackberries instead, and it was delicious. We ate it warm with a side of vanilla bean ice cream!
- Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins – These were so easy and so good! I put them in my son’s lunch throughout the week and froze some to have for another day.
- Fruit Leather – I added a little honey into mine and used a silicone baking mat. They turned out great and my son loves them.
Next up, apple picking!
Editor’s note: This post originally published on August 31, 2016. Links to recommeneded businesses were double-checked before republishing.