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Food & Drink

Apple picking spots and more near San Francisco this fall

Apples are ripe at Ratzlaff Ranch’s Apple-a-Day orchard in Sebastopol. | Source: Courtesy Apple-a-Day Ratzlaff Ranch

With its predominantly mild climate, the Bay Area’s change in season may be less dramatic than in other climes, but fall has arrived in the fields of the region. 

Gone are the summer days of cherries, peaches, nectarines and pluots, but there’s still time to catch the tail end of berry season and harvest the bounty of fall, which offers more than just pumpkins. Local farms throughout the Bay Area are continuing “U-pick” fruit days, with opportunities to pluck crisp apples, bite into juicy berries and gather beautiful sunflowers. 

Here’s a sampling of what’s fresh. 

READ MORE: Here’s Where To Find the Best Pumpkin Patches in San Francisco and Beyond

To find farms near you, check out the chart and map below. As Mother Nature can be unpredictable, we recommend also checking out these growers’ websites and social media for updates—or calling ahead. 


Strawberry season usually lasts from January to July and typically peaks in March, but you can still find juicy berries at Blue House Farm down the coast in San Gregorio.  

“Our strawberry season is certainly slowing down now, but we typically leave our strawberry U-pick open through October,” Blue House’s Farmstand & Farmer’s Market Manager Claire Pinkham wrote in an email to The Standard. “As the month wears on, it becomes more of a treasure hunt, but as of now there are still plenty of ripe and delicious berries out there.” 

Strawberries are still in season through October at Blue House Farm in San Gregorio. | Source: Courtesy Blue House Farm

Rough winter weather and late rains have extended the season, but Blue Farm also credits its location along the coast for helping the strawberries flourish late into the fall. 

“Being so close to the ocean means that temperatures are mild all summer long, and this is weather in which strawberries thrive!” Pinkham wrote.

U-pick hours run from noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. No reservations or fees are required for the first-come, first-served experience—you just have to pay for what you pick. Strawberries cost $7 per pound. Pumpkins ($3 to $30, depending on size) are also available to pick from the farm’s organic patch through Oct. 29.  


Coastal explorers can also find sunflowers ripe for the harvest in Half Moon Bay. 

Andreotti Family Farms’ field, which also hosts a pumpkin patch and corn maze starting in October, is now open seven days a week for folks looking to pluck posies or fill their Instagram feeds with floral photos. 

Holding photoshoots in the field is a popular pastime, notes Andreotti Farms’ Terry Andreotti, who says that models from as far afield as Los Angeles and New York City flock to the multiacre field of flowers. Local photographers also hold portrait sessions in the field for those looking to commemorate pregnancies, engagements and more. 

While you may be tempted to pick sunflowers in full bloom, Andreotti recommends picking buds about to flower.  

“A lot of people want them open, but you can pick them closed, and they’ll open in water,” Andreotti said.   

The entrance fee is $18 per person, which allows you to take home up to 10 flowers (each additional blossom costs $1), and children under 5 get in free. 

For the first time, the farm is also offering zinnias in all different colors for sale: $2 per flower or $5 per bunch. Reservations are not required, and the sunflower field, pumpkin patch and corn maze will be open through the end of October. 

Apples & Pears 

Chileno Valley Ranch in Petaluma is open for apple picking on Sunday mornings by appointment only and closes as soon as it runs out of apples. Ripe varieties include Senshu, Mutsu, Pinova and Candy Crisp, and the farm also offers pears. 

The farm’s dwarf trees are the perfect size for children to pick from, says the ranch’s Sally Gale, and nature walks and farm tours are also available. 

Ratzlaff Ranch's Apple-a-Day orchard grows Golden Delicious apples and Rome Beauties. | Source: Courtesy Apple-a-Day Ratzlaff Ranch

The next sign-up for reservations opens at 9 a.m. Monday at Chileno Valley’s website. The entrance fee is $10, cash only. 

Sebastopol’s Earthseed Farmsnext U-pick days for apples are Oct. 7 and 8, with reservations opening at 9 a.m. on Tuesday. The entry fee is $35 per group of four and $7.50 for each additional person; apples cost $4 a pound. Asian pears are also currently available in the farm’s store for $6 a pound. Persimmons and guava are expected to ripen in November. Reservations open on Tuesdays prior to Saturday U-pick days.

Ratzlaff Ranch's Apple-a-Day orchard will stay open until all the fruit is harvested. | Source: Courtesy Apple-a-Day Ratzlaff Ranch

Ratzlaff Ranch, also in Sebastopol, opens its Apple-a-Day orchards on Sunday, and will remain open until all its apples are harvested. No reservations are required, and the farm is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Thursdays and Saturdays. 

Apples cost $2.50 per pound, and Golden Delicious and Rome Beauty varieties are available. The stand also sells cider and juice made from apples on its farm as well as breads and caramels from its stands.  

Various Varieties 

A range of seasonal fruits and vegetables are still available at Cloverfield Organic Farm in El Sobrante. What’s ready for the picking might be a bit of a surprise this time of year, says farmhand Michael Lancaster, but that’s part of the beauty and fun of exploring the 4.5-acre farm.

You can check the farm’s website to see what’s expected to ripen soon, but some autumnal varieties include figs, quinces, walnuts, pears, persimmons, olives, mandarins and jujubes.  

Susan Truscott harvests a fennel bulb at her Cloverfield Organic Farm in El Sobrante. | Source: Courtesy Cloverfield Organic Farm

In addition to growing an array of produce, Cloverfield offers private and group tours, U-pick and picnicking events as well as “healing sessions” where visitors can commune with its horses. The farm is open from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. 


Finally, this weekend is the last call for raspberries at Boring Farm in Sebastopol. The berry farm holds its last U-pick event of 2023 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. Purchasing a parking pass ahead of time is recommended, so make a beeline to Boring Farm’s website as soon as you can. 

Pick your own raspberries at Sebastopol’s Boring Farm and stay for a pond-side picnic afterward. | Source: Courtesy Boring Farm

The farm’s owner and namesake Rachel Boring recommends picking berries that are deep red and round—as well as taking enough home to feast on for later.

“We always say pick enough that you want to freeze, and try all the flavors while you’re out here,” she said, noting that the farm has three varieties left this season. 

Raspberries from the farm go for $11.99 a pound.