Orange County is renowned for its stunning beaches, fabulous weather, and, of course, its delectable, juicy strawberries.
Picture yourself meandering through rows of verdant plants, each one adorned with plump, ruby-red strawberries that are just begging to be picked and savored.
In our casual guide, we’ll reveal the top destinations for strawberry picking Orange County has in store, so you and your loved ones can set off on a delightful, fruit-fueled excursion.
Trust us, once you’ve experienced the burst of flavor from a freshly-picked Orange County strawberry, you’ll never want to go back to store-bought berries again.
So, grab your sun hat, apply some sunscreen, and join us as we uncover the hidden treasures of Orange County’s strawberry fields.
Let’s create lasting memories, fill our baskets to the brim, and maybe even treat ourselves to some homemade strawberry shortcake to celebrate our fruitful journey. Ready to pick? Let’s dive in!
In California, the strawberry season typically spans from late winter to early autumn, depending on the specific location and climate conditions.
The peak of the season generally occurs from April to June, but strawberries can often be found from as early as January in southern regions and extending until October in the cooler northern areas.
Keep in mind that seasonality can vary from year to year due to weather conditions, so it’s a good idea to check with local farms or farmers’ markets for the most accurate information on strawberry availability.
Best Strawberry Farms in Orange County
- Address: 5380 3/4 University Dr, Irvine, CA 92612
- Website: https://www.tanakafarms.com/
South Coast Farms
- Address: 32701 Alipaz St, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
- Website: https://www.southcoastfarms.com/
Strawberry Farms Golf Club
- Address: 11 Strawberry Farm Rd, Irvine, CA 92612
- Website: https://www.sf-golf.com/
(Note: This location is primarily a golf club, but they may have information about local strawberry picking opportunities in the area)
Irvine Park Railroad
- Address: 1 Irvine Park Rd, Orange, CA 92869
- Website: https://www.irvineparkrailroad.com/
(Note: This location is primarily a park and railroad, but they host an annual “Strawberry Picking Festival” and may have information about local strawberry picking opportunities in the area)
The Original Manassero Farms
- Address: 1700 Adams Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
- Website: https://www.manasserofarms.com/
(Note: This farm primarily sells produce at their stand, but they may have information about local strawberry picking opportunities in the area)
Keep in mind that not all of these farms may have strawberries available for picking every season, so it’s best to check with each farm directly for the most accurate information.
You can also search online or inquire with local agricultural organizations for updated information on strawberry picking farms in Orange County.
Cost of Strawberry Picking in Orange County
The cost of strawberry picking in Orange County can vary depending on the farm or U-pick location. Typically, prices are determined by the weight of the strawberries you pick.
Prices can range from $2 to $4 per pound, although some farms may offer discounts for larger quantities or charge a flat fee for a specific container size.
In addition to the cost of the strawberries themselves, some farms may require a small entrance fee, which usually ranges from $1 to $5 per person.
This fee often covers access to the farm, parking, and sometimes additional amenities like picnic areas or children’s play areas.
Always call ahead or visit the farm’s website to confirm the latest pricing and availability before planning your strawberry picking adventure in Orange County.
Tips for Strawberry Picking
Strawberry picking is a fun and enjoyable activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Here are some tips to make your strawberry picking experience in Orange County a success:
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
- Apply sunscreen and bring a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
- Bring a basket or container to hold your strawberries.
- Check with the farm before you go to make sure they are open and have strawberries available for picking.
- Arrive early in the morning to avoid the heat and crowds.
When picking strawberries:
- Look for bright red strawberries that are firm to the touch.
- Check the bottom of the strawberry to make sure it is not moldy or rotten.
- Use a gentle twisting motion to remove the strawberry from the plant.
- Avoid picking strawberries with white or green tips, as they are not fully ripe.
After you have finished picking strawberries:
- Pay for your strawberries at the farm stand or designated area.
- Wash your strawberries thoroughly before eating or using them in recipes.
- Store your strawberries in the refrigerator and eat them within a few days.
By following these tips, you can have a successful and enjoyable strawberry picking experience in Orange County.
California Strawberry Festivals
California is known for its delicious strawberries and hosts several strawberry festivals throughout the state to celebrate the fruit.
Here are some popular California strawberry festivals that typically take place annually:
California Strawberry Festival (Oxnard)
This festival usually takes place in May and features live music, arts and crafts, strawberry-themed food and drinks, and various family-friendly activities.
- Website: https://castrawberryfestival.org/
Garden Grove Strawberry Festival (Garden Grove)
Held annually over Memorial Day weekend, this festival includes a parade, live entertainment, carnival rides, contests, and plenty of strawberry-themed treats.
- Website: https://strawberryfestival.org/
Arroyo Grande Strawberry Festival (Arroyo Grande)
This event, typically held in May, features live music, arts and crafts, games, and a variety of strawberry-themed food and beverages.
Vista Strawberry Festival (Vista)
Taking place in May, the Vista Strawberry Festival includes a 5K run, live entertainment, food vendors, contests, and family activities.
- Website: http://www.vistastrawberryfest.com/
Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival (Santa Maria)
Usually held in April, this festival features carnival rides, live entertainment, agricultural exhibits, and plenty of strawberry-inspired food and drinks.
- Website: http://www.santamariafairpark.com/
Please note that dates and event details might change from year to year. It’s essential to check each festival’s website or contact the organizers for the most up-to-date information before making any plans.
Strawberry Picking FAQs
What should I wear when strawberry picking?
It’s best to wear comfortable clothes and closed-toe shoes when strawberry picking. Avoid wearing sandals or flip-flops as the ground may be uneven, and it could be muddy in the fields. You may also want to consider wearing a hat and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.
How do I know which strawberries are ripe and ready to pick?
Look for strawberries that are fully red and plump, with no green or white patches. The berries should be firm and shiny, with no signs of bruising or mold. Gently tug on the stem to see if it easily separates from the plant, indicating that the berry is ripe and ready to pick.
Can I bring my own containers to collect the strawberries?
Most farms allow visitors to bring their own containers for picking strawberries. Check with the farm before your visit to confirm their policy. You may also be able to purchase containers at the farm if you don’t have your own.
Do I need to make a reservation to go strawberry picking?
It depends on the farm. Some farms require reservations, especially during peak season, to ensure that there is enough space and berries for everyone. Check with the farm before your visit to confirm their policy and to make a reservation if necessary.
Can I eat the strawberries while picking them?
It’s generally not recommended to eat strawberries while picking them. You should wait until you get home and wash the berries thoroughly before consuming them. Eating unwashed strawberries could potentially expose you to harmful bacteria or pesticides that may be present on the fruit.