Where to Pick the Best Strawberries in San Diego
Peak strawberry season hits San Diego between March-June. Here’s our top spots to pick strawberries in San Diego County in 2023!
Did you know nearly 90% of the U.S. strawberries are grown right here in California?
Support your local farmers—head to the nearest farmer’s market, farm stand or take the whole family strawberry picking. It’s a perfect opportunity to teach kids about where their food comes from.
Read on for top spots on where to pick strawberries in San Diego and learn how you can pick the best berries to bring home.
Where to Pick Strawberries In San Diego County
Stehly Farms U-Pick Strawberry Festival – April 15th
Join Stehly Farms Organics for their first U-Pick strawberry festival in two years on Saturday, April 15, 2023. Admission includes petting zoo, tractor ride and full access to the playground. Plus, farm-to-table oven-fired pizzas, tacos, burgers, gelati and smoothies to purchase.
Entrance fee is $15, kids under 3 are free. Includes a 1 lb container to fill plus additional strawberries to pick by the pound.
12630 Santa Catalina Rd., Valley Center
Mellano Farm Stand
The Oceanside farm kicks off its U-Pick strawberry season on Saturday, April 22 with a special event featuring food, live music, vendors, plus a chance to take pictures in their beautiful ranunculus field for photos. Will be open 10:30am-5:00pm Thursday-Sunday for the season.
No entrance fee, U-Pick buckets are $10. Tractor rides are $5.
5750 N River Rd, Oceanside
Carlsbad Strawberry Company
Located right off I-5 near Legoland, Carlsbad Strawberry Company is a great spot to bring the whole family for picking. There’s even a new sunflower maze and tractor rides to add to your outing. They do close if there’s rain, so give them a call if the weather is questionable.
$5 for admission per person + $12 per bucket. Kids under 5 are free. Open daily, 9am-6pm
1000 Cannon Rd., Carlsbad
Kenny’s Strawberry Farm
Head to Fallbrook for some of the best berries in the county. Kenny’s Strawberry Farm offers rows and rows of this delectable fruit plus an onsite farm kitchen cooking up strawberry treats such as ice cream bars, strawberry shortcake and strawberry lemonade.
Reservations are required and cancellations are possible due to heat or rain so check in advance. $20 per large bucket, $8 per small bucket.
953 Rainbow Valley Blvd., Fallbrook
The Flower Fields (Blueberries)
The Flower Fields in Carlsbad plans to have U-Pick blueberries this year for $8 per pint! Check their website for the latest U-Pick information.
You can also stop by their Strawberry Shack for strawberry sweet treats after your picking.
5704 Paseo del Norte, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Vista Strawberry Festival | May 28, 2023
While not technically a U-Pick spot, the Vista Strawberry Festival is the only festival in the County dedicated to this seasonal fruit, with a Strawberry Fun Run, rides, vendors and much more.
2023 Date: Sunday, May 28, 2023 from 8am-6pm.
Free, 127 Main Street, Vista
What to wear when picking berries
- Wear layers
- Sturdy boots/shoes
- Gardening gloves
How to Tell if a Strawberry is Ripe
Here’s a few easy tips to pick the best bunch of berries:
1. Buy them in season.
Strawberries are hand-picked and immediately rushed to local markets because it’s very hard to store them and maintain freshness. So your best bet for the juiciest, ripest strawberries is to purchase them locally and in season. April to June is prime picking time so stock up and freeze these delicious, fruity jewels!
2. Look for bright red color all over.
Strawberries stop their ripening process the minute they’re picked from the plant so it’s important to purchase them at their peak. A ripe strawberry is red from the top all the way to the tip. If it’s white or green at the bottom, it won’t ripen any further and instead will have a tart taste.
3. Check for healthy, green tops.
The bright green caps (aka calyxes) of strawberries indicate freshness. Dried leaves suggest a fruit past its prime.
4. Do a mold check.
Check around the plant or berry for signs of white fuzzy mold. If buying a pint at a market or farm stand, lift up the clamshell or container to check the top, sides and bottom for any signs of mold.
5. Stop and smell the strawberries.
Did you know strawberries are a part of the rose family? Just like roses, strawberries give off a wonderful candy-like, floral aroma at their peak. Put your nose near the plant and take a strong whiff to check for freshness.
The Best Strawberry recipes
Tranform your beautiful bounty into lovely jams, jellies or desserts. Check out our 11 Sweet + Savory Strawberry recipes post for the best strawberry-forward recipes from local San Diego food bloggers!
Strawberries: Buy local!
Our local food system needs your help to keep it growing strong.
Subscribe to a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box, head out to a local farmstand, farmer’s market or U-Pick spot and make an impact in support of our local economy!