Thursday, August 19, 2010

Swanton Berry Farm and the joys of Highway 1

I might come back with another post or two about my trip to Europe, but for now I'll talk about my trip down the coast towards Santa Cruz this past weekend.  I have done this trip many times.  My best friend studied at UC Santa Cruz and I visited her there often at the time.  And once she moved up to the Bay Area proper we often made trips down the coast to Santa Cruz to visit.

Our regular route is across the 92 to Half Moon Bay and then south.  There is a lot to do on this little stretch of coast, and lots of cool beaches right on the side of the highway to stop and hang out at.  But what prompted this trip was my desire to go pick berries at Swanton Berry Farm.
This is an organic farm that uses unionized labor.  How much better could you feel about where your food comes from?  Well even better if you pick the food yourself.  They have a U-pick service for some of their crops depending on the season.  Right now they have strawberries and blackberries.  I think they are known locally for the olallieberries, but I missed the season.  Next time.  Later in the year they also have kiwis to pick.  Yum.  My best friend couldn't come, but it was easy finding volunteers.
I have to say the strawberries were some of the best I've ever had.  The blackberries were good, but not supersweet. I think they need a little more time to ripen.  They were great with a little vanilla yogurt though.  The strawberries I didn't want to dilute at all, so they all got eaten fresh.
If you do decide to cruise down this stretch of Highway 1, I suggest you also stop in Pescadero at the Arcangeli Grocery Co. to try the artichoke garlic herb bread.  This stuff is amazing.  I always get one loaf to eat on the drive and at least one to take home.  There's also the Bonny Doon vineyard for some winetasting and the giant haybale maze at Arata Pumpkin Farm.  And of course don't forget to stop at one of the many beaches to eat your bread, berries, and drink your wine.


  1. You were in our neck of the woods. As much as I love Swanton Berry Farm, I do, really I do...I'm not sure even fresh strawberries compare to Arcangeli's garlic herb bread. We used to head over there, grab a steaming hot fresh-baked loaf (and a par-baked one to take home), and head over to the beach with the dogs. They'd run around, and we'd devour an entire loaf, just two of us, for lunch. Heaven! Ok...maybe we could have done the berries for dessert :P

  2. I can see why you don't have any trouble recruiting volunteers for this trip. Very cool. The berries sound amazing and I'd be thrilled to down a marathoner's serving of the herb bread. I love strawberries, but how they're grown often makes me cringe. We have a big farm in north county that lets you pick your own, but it's one of those chemistry experiments that passes for a strawberry field.

  3. Wow, I love edible journeys. A month ago or so we had to stop at one of the beaches down there as the circus of wind surfers and para-sailers (?) looked like a giant kite festival!

  4. I need to find a u-pick spot around these parts. Sounds like loads of fun.