Containment: Most farms provide buckets for picking, but some don't. So always bring your own, just in case.
Pricing: Costs vary from farm to farm, and tend to get cheaper as the season advances. Most growers charge per pound of picked fruit, others by the bucket. Overall this season, a pound of fruit will cost significantly less than $2.50.
Timing: Needless to say, U-pick is highly seasonal, and fruit ripens on a variable schedule. Always call ahead to find out what's ready.
Green factor: No Harvest Time members are certified organic many small farmers prefer to avoid the cost and paperwork involved but several are essentially organic, avoiding chemical fertilizers and even common pesticides like Roundup. Call to inquire about a particular farm's practices, but remember: If an orchard has a healthy undergrowth of weeds, it's a safe bet it hasn't been sprayed.
Luncha-muncha: Some U-pick farms have picnic sites. Pack a lunch and save room for plenty of tree-ripened fruit for dessert.
Gliedt Family Farm 3520 Orwood Rd., Brentwood. 925-516-8717
Pease Ranch Marsh Creek Rd., Brentwood. 925-634-4646
Peter Wolfe Ranch 700 Creek Rd., Brentwood. 925-634-1308, PeterWolfe.com
Web resources: Harvest4You.com, PickYourOwn.org, BrentwoodAgLandTrust.org
What the Fork - December 6, 3:51 PM
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