Berry Picking at Amber Oaks in Auburn

Berry Picking 6By Heather Crivellone

One of the best things about summer is the abundance of fresh fruit and veggies in everyone’s gardens. The sweet, juicy berries, yummy peaches, fresh tomatoes and basil… it’s just all such a treat!  Whether they are in fresh cobblers, home-made pies or just out of the fruit bowl, everyone loves sweet summer fruit. And a great way to get kids excited about fruit (other than the A-la-mode) is to get them involved in watching it grow and the fun of picking the fruit. Luckily, here in Northern California we have plenty of “you-pick-em” orchards where we can take the kids to explore, learn and see where our food comes from.

With the beautiful spring-like weather we’ve been having this past week, it was a perfect time to visit some of our local farms.  Recently, I took my kids to Amber Oaks Raspberry farm in Auburn.  It was a short drive from our home (about 40 minutes from downtown Sacramento) located at 2770 Shanley Rd in Auburn to pick some fresh thorn less Blackberries for a cobbler. Upon arrival, we made reservations (per the website) and spoke with the owner Rhonda.  She was very helpful and guided us in the right direction and helped my kids choose the best (and sweetest) blackberries.  My kids were excited to wear the wooden “berry catcher” (as they called it) and went about picking (and eating) a few too many blackberries. The vines were thorn less, so the experience was that much more enjoyable.  Amber Oaks’ farm is absolutely gorgeous, located in the foothills of Auburn and I was happy just sitting back and enjoying the view while my kids did all the work of picking.

The farm is open for U-Pick on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays in June through November by appointment.  During the month of October, the farm welcomes school groups for educational tours and pumpkin picking. Some of the fruits that can be found on the farm are berries, tomatoes, chestnuts, kiwis, mandarins, pumpkins and more. We had a great time exploring the farm and the owners were extremely helpful and happy to see the kids enjoying the berries.  We did end up making the cobbler… kids were a little too helpful with “licking the bowl”, and at the end of the day we knew we had another successful memory-made summer day in the books! There are many “U Pick-em” farms throughout the area and to locate others, check out this website to find out locations and what types of produce are available.

If you decide to make the trip out to the farm with children here are a few tips: make sure the kids (and you) wear “real” shoes…my daughter refuses to wear shoes and even flip-flops drive her insane. Bring water, put on sunscreen and enjoy the fruits of our area!

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