Cherry Picking in Brentwood – A Frugal Take

The Brentwood area has a substantial farming community which helps turn out most everything from corns to nuts and fruits. We visited the Lopez Ranch farms (22011 Marsh Creek Road, Brentwood, CA-94513) in Brentwood during the 2009 Memorial Day weekend. Many of the farms partake in the U-pick program (where the visitor picks the produce right from the tree). The season kicks off early May with cherry picking. Cherry picking, the most popular U-pick option, is available till early June. Other U-pick options include Apricots, Berries, Grapes, Nectarines, Pluots, Walnuts, Pumpkins, etc. Availability and farms offering specific fruit vary and calling in advance or using the Harvest Farms brochure are the best options.

The two options available are
  • Pick on your own from the farm or
  • Purchase already picked produce from the fruit stands that dot the region.
Whichever way, the price is comparable to the local grocery store (chain stores are way more expensive). For e.g., the cherries at Lopez farms are priced at $2.50 a pound while at Safeway, they go for between $4.99 and $9.99 depending on the type of cherry and sale pricing. Rainier cherries usually command the most premium while Bing cherries are the most economical. In local grocery stores, cherries can be purchased in the $1 to $3 price range depending again on the variety and sale pricing. It does not make economic sense to purchase them from the fruit stands available at the farms, unless there are sentimental reasons.

U-pick offerings are a wonderful alternative with the hidden benefits of a picnic atmosphere and the ability to eat your way to a bargain. Farms allow for mindless consumption while on the location and the tab is only for the fruit picked and carried away from the premise.

Lopez Ranch is a relatively big popular farm and a great option for Cherry picking as they have different varieties. As with all popular farms aiming for the early bird advantage is recommended. Low hanging fruits disappear by the end of May. The folks at the check-out counters are friendly and flexible and in spite of their busy schedule are willing to give a good deal if you ask nicely. Bing cherries are the more common variety although other types can also be found. For the connoisseur it pays to “try” samples from many different trees before deciding on the ones to pick from to purchase.

A couple of caveats worth mention are:
  1. It is a farm and as such there are minimal facilities.
  2. The farm is located off the main road (around 200 feet) and parking is along the dirt road. Parking along the main road and walking to the farm spares the vehicle from a dirt layer.
Another good choice for cherry picking in the Brentwood region is DC’s extraordinary cherries (532 Sarah Street, Brentwood, CA-94513).






Last Updated: 05/2011.

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