U-Pick, a great way to experience the farm, have a good time, meet some interesting people, and come away with fruit to freeze or just share with the neighbors is to come to pick fruit at the farm. We have two different U-Pick locations offering several different types of seasonal fruit. Please see below for specific dates or call 831-469-8804. Containers to put your goodies in are provided for you if you need them but we welcome you to bring your own. It’s often a bit windy along the coast so bring appropriate clothing. We have many attractive areas for relaxing after gathering your fill of berries or kiwis, so bring a picnic and spend the day with us at one of our ranches.
Our organic strawberry U-pick if open every day from 8am-8pm. We provide boxes and baskets for picking. There are no reservations needed or an entrance fee. We charge $4.00/lb for the organic strawberries. We recommend wearing layers as the weather on the coast is variable and can be quite windy.
Swanton Berry Farm was founded in 1983 by two dreamers who had previously worked on farmworker-owned cooperatives here in Central California. Jim Cochran and Mark Matze both got the farming bug and couldn’t resist trying it on their own. They rented 4 acres of land, bought an old tractor, and planted four acres of strawberries. At that time no one had grown strawberries organically on a commercially successful basis, and everyone in the industry said it couldn’t be done. Two earlier dreamers, Cesar Chavez and Rachel Carson had spawned a dream.
The first couple of years, they experimented with both chemical and organic methods, and had enough success to pay the bills, but not much more. Mark decided to move on, married a wonderful woman, Claire, and eventually wound up farming in Argentina, where he is today.
Jim stayed on, said his vows to the farm, borrowed some money, and continues today, renting four beautiful ranches strung along Highway One, north of Santa Cruz, California.