Olallieberries. The darker ones are ready for picking.
Good bread, pastries and coffee at the Whale City Bakery and Cafe in Davenport.
A tide pool side trip awaits down Davenport Landing Road.
Picking strawberries at the Swanton Farm.
Kite surfing at Waddell Creek Beach.
Our destination: U-pick olallieberries.
U-Pick Berries on the North Coast
Every summer berry farms along the coast north of Santa Cruz open their fields and let all of us have the fun of picking the fruit. Both olallieberries and strawberries are offered May through July. What's an olallieberry? It's a soft bush berry that is very similar to a blackberry.
The drive north from Santa Cruz on Highway 1 is wonderful any time. It is especially enjoyable when there are fresh berries waiting to be harvested.
To the Berry Fields. To reach the harvest head north out of Santa Cruz on Highway 1 (Mission Street) towards the old whaling town of Davenport.
Wilder Ranch State Park. Two miles from Santa Cruz is Wilder Ranch State Park. This Victorian era dairy farm has been restored and today gives us a feel for the farming life in 1880's. Wilder is also a great place to walk or jog along the bluffs overlooking beautiful beaches, coves, and tide pools.
Davenport. Nine miles out of Santa Cruz we reach the town of Davenport, a former whaling station and current home to a large cement factory. It is also a nice stop along the way for pastries, coffee and bread at the Whale City Bakery and Cafe.
Tide Pool Side Trip. Just past the town of Davenport there is a wonderful side trip to view world class tide pools. These rock formations on the beach are full of red starfish, sea anemones, muscles, crabs, and small fish. If the tide is low you can walk among the pools and get lost in a marine world of great beauty. To find the tide pools keep watch after Davenport for Davenport Landing Road. Turn left and follow the road to a parking area near the restrooms. Cross the road to the beach and head left to find the tide pools.
U-pick Strawberries. A few miles past Davenport keep watch for the Swanton Berry Farm roadside stand. Here you can pick organic strawberries or buy them already harvested. You can also buy strawberry pies, jams, and chocolate covered berries. Call 831-469-8804.
Kite Surfing. Once back on Highway 1 heading north, you will pass Waddell Creek beach on your left. This is one of the best windsurf and kite surf spots on the central coast of California. This beach is almost always windy. Pull off into the parking lot and watch the kite surfers for a while.
Olallieberries. A few miles north of Waddell is the Coastways Ranch olallieberry U-pick fields. These will be on your right 18 miles out of Santa Cruz. They provide the cardboard flats and flat cradles. All you need is a hat, sunscreen and a sharp eye to pluck the ripe berries from the bushes. The entire berry patch is covered with fine netting. This isn't to keep you from escaping. It's to keep the berry-loving birds out. Call 831-469-8804.
Back Home. On your way back from berry picking (south on Highway 1) you might stop off in Davenport for a bite to eat at Whale City Cafe or the Davenport Cash Store. Davenport is also home to several artists studios. Their signs are usually along highway 1 on weekends.
Side Trip: Chocolate! On your way back to Santa Cruz on Mission Street, keep your eyes open for Richard Donnelly's Fine Chocolates. Here you will find hand made French and Belgian treats that are shipped to customers around the globe. Highway 1 turns into Mission Street and the tiny shop is at 1509 Mission just past Bay Street. You can't park on Mission so you might want to turn right on Bay and find a place to park.
Local History: The Loganberry. Loganberries are a sweet berry variety that grows a little differently than blackberries or olallieberries. Some folks say loganberries are a cross between a red raspberry and a dewberry. Whatever they are, they were developed by Judge James H. Logan in Santa Cruz around 1900. Logan Street down by the Santa Cruz yacht harbor is named after Judge Logan.