‘U Pick Farms’ are the perfect way to pretend you have your own orchards! And just outside of Los Angeles, where I live, there are a ton of U Pick Cherry Orchards, literally ripe for the taking!
My daughter and I headed out to Leona Valley last weekend to get a bucket full. There are at least 10 cherry orchards to choose from in this valley, and this year we choose Villa del Sol. With over 3,600 trees, they are the largest U Pick Cherry Orchard in the valley and we wanted to check it out.
We got there early and there were already a ton of people heading in but the orchard is so vast, once we started picking we rarely ran into anyone else, for the most part. We have done other U Picks before, like our peach picking, but without such crowds, so this was interesting to see how popular the cherry picking was!
It’s such a short season, so I guess that makes sense. And Villa del Sol, is super organized. (By the time we left, there were hundreds of people waiting to get in, as they limit how many people in the fields at one time. Yes hundreds!)
We had a blast picking the Bing and Rainier Cherries. All super ripe and delicious. The Rainiers are the lighter ones and are a bit sweeter.
The ask that you not pick them with stems on. Apparently leaving the stems helps with next years growth. You can see in the photo above that we did almost perfectly on that.
We had so much fun picking that we got a little carried away and came home with about 10 pounds of cherries! You’ll have to check out some of the recipes I’ll be coming up with for all the ones we don’t eat. Oh, and we grabbed some local honey on the way out too. It isn’t labeled as such, but I’m assuming it’s mostly cherry blossom honey? Can’t wait to dig into that as well!
This is probably one of the last weekends for cherry picking. Definitely head out early and try to be there when they open. It’s totally worth it! For a list of other U Pick Cherry Orchards outside of Los Angeles, check out this site. To find a U Pick Farm in your city, the Pick Your Own website is a great resource.
Try this recipe for Cherry Paletas.
My daughter and I love long cuts when we road trip, so if you do too and are heading out to Leona Valley, make sure to detour off I-14 at Agua Dulce, and check out Vasquez Rocks and some of the farm life around it.
Buffalo or Bison???