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Celebrate the season's best at a U-pick farm

October 22, 2009|Krista Simmons

Although farmers markets are no longer chock full of summer peaches, cherries and tomatoes, produce is still available at the region's U-pick farms. What better way to celebrate this season's harvest than gathering a group of friends and family and heading out to the source and snagging your favorite fall produce? Here's a short list of some of SoCal's fall-friendly farms where you can gather your own goods. To read the full list, go to

Underwood Family Farms

Underwood still has strawberries, raspberries and a few heirloom and celebrity tomatoes available for picking. There's also a sugar baby pumpkin patch, although most of those have been picked for the retail area. This time of year, Underwood is totally dedicated to the crowds that visit its Fall Harvest Festival, where pumpkins are the stars of the show. On weekends, there are live music, a corn maze and an animal center with pig races and animal shows. Admission includes a pass to the festival, which has live music, entertainers, food and craft vendors. There is also tons of winter squash for sale (acorn, spaghetti, dried gourds and Atlantic pumpkins, to name a few), as well as bicolor corn, carrots, turnips and chard. $10 admission includes a tractor ride on weekends.

3370 Sunset Valley Road, Moorpark; (805) 529-3690; 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Riley's at Los Rio Rancho

Although the apple U-pick season is over, Riley's still has pumpkins and chestnuts available. Riley's off-site orchard also still has plenty of apples for sale, including Gravenstiens, Fujis, Galas, Honeycrisps and Jonagolds, and on the weekends, guests can press their own cider for $15 a gallon. Riley's offers free tours of its apple packing house at 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through Thanksgiving weekend. And in case you're hungry after a day of scavenging, there's a barbecue restaurant and bakery on the premises. Riley's will be celebrating its Apple Butter Festival on Nov. 27. Events include demos on how to make the sweet spread.

39611 Oak Glen Road No. 13, Oak Glen; (909) 797-1005;

Al Salam Farm

At this certified halal farm, you can select your own poultry. The game are kept outside on a free range farm, where you can select your own quail, duck, turkey and chicken. One of the folks at Al Salam will then butcher and clean the bird for you. Impress the Thanksgiving guests with a hand-selected black turkey for $2.25 per pound, white chicken for $2.15 per pound and quail for $2.25 per pound. No reservations are required.

3980 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 267-1857. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.

Brian Ranch Airport U-Pick Orchard

You may have seen Brian Ranch at the South Pasadena Farmers Market, but a trip to the farm is definitely worth the drive. Located off the Joshua tree-lined Pearblossom Highway in the Antelope Valley, Brian Ranch's expansive orchard lies among the most unlikely of locations: its own private airstrip. In late October and early November, Brian Ranch has Braeburn and Fuji apples, Kikusui Asian pears and Bartlett pears. The farm is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

34810 Largo Vista Road, Llano; (661) 261-3216;


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