Local Guide to Blueberry Picking

One of my favorite Field Trips from Sacramento is to head to Apple Hill on a beautiful day. And if you’ve only made the trip in the fall, you’re missing out! June and July are prime blueberry picking season and, once you’ve turned your fingers blue from picking (and snacking), there’s plenty more to see and do in the area.

WHAT: Blueberry Picking

WHERE: Pine ‘o Mine in Apple Hill

There are a few farms to choose from in Apple Hill for blueberry picking but my favorite by far is Pine ‘O Mine. I love visiting with Dennis, the farmer, and he is great with kids too – so be sure to bring the whole family.

Pine ‘O Mine located at 2620 Carson Rd, Placerville, CA 95667.
Phone No. (530) 344-0288 – I recommend calling before you head up there just to make sure the farm is open and it’s a good day for visiting.

update: I’ve heard from a few people that the above number for Pine O’ Mine isn’t a working number. I would stop by there when you’re in the area and if they aren’t open, I suggest checking out the Apple Hill Growers website for additional berry picking farms.

 

OTHER GREAT FARMS FOR BERRY PICKING:

Rainbow Camino Ridge Blueberry Patch located at 2010 Snows Road, Camino, CA 95709. Phone No. (530) 644-1594

Bolster’s Hilltop Ranch Farm located at 2000 Larsen Dr, Camino, CA 95709. Phone No. (530) 644-2230

 

WHEN: June and July

WHAT TO BRING:

You don’t need much. Most farms have buckets available for you to put your picked blueberries in and have containers for you to bring home your picked berries. If you’re coming up from the valley, it’s generally a little cooler in the foothills so you may want to bring a light sweater. Wear jeans, tennis shoes and clothes that you don’t mind getting a little dirty. I also pack a basket along with mesh produce bags so I don’t have to take home disposable containers but it isn’t necessary.

If you’re making a day of blueberry picking and want to explore the area a little, here are my local favorites:

BOEGER WINERY

Just down the road from Pine ‘O Mine is Boeger Winery that has an amazing tasting room, along with space to walk around and explore the winery, grass for the kids to play on and picnic benches to have a snack and take a breather on.

Boeger Winery is located at 1709 Carson Rd, Placerville, CA 95667 

BOA VISTA ORCHARDS

Boa Vista is a few minutes drive from Pine O’ Mine and Boeger Winery and it’s a great stop for local, seasonal produce and pantry staples like dried beans, jams, salad dressings, honey, marinades and unique sauces. I personally like to stop at Boa Vista for warm apple donuts that they offer in their bakery year round.

Boa Vista Orchards is located at 2952 Carson Road, Placerville, CA 95667

Z PIE

One of my favorite and easy places to stop for lunch or an early dinner after blueberry picking is Z Pie serving gourmet pot pies and artisan salads. They have a casual dinning room to eat there or you can also get the pies to go – either heated up or frozen. I usually buy a couple frozen pies to throw in my freezer for a rainy day.

Z Pie is located at 3182 Center St., Placerville CA, 95667 

THE FARM TABLE

One of my favorite little stops in Apple Hill WAS Smokey Ridge Charcuterie and Farm Stand. Smokey Ridge offered the best locally produced specialty meats, sausages, preserves, had amazing apples in the fall and delicious picnic style lunches from their farm stand.

I was so sad to go by last fall and see that they only offering apples at the time and had discontinued their other products. However, I was told they the charcuterie chef had gone on to open The Farm Table and – friends – it does not disappoint. You can take a peek at their menu here.

Also, while researching for this guide, I found out that The Farm Table offers a CSA like membership box called Our Gourmet Club that is offered 4-6 times a year and includes sausages, pates, specialty meats, preserves, wine, and other seasonal goodies and a separate Seasonal Sausage Club package offers several different types of hand made sausages (4 times per year). I think I know what I’m asking for, for Christmas 😉

The Farm Table is located at 311 Main St, Placerville, CA 95667

When you’re done eating and drinking your way through the area, you can stretch your legs walking and stopping into the little locally owned shops along Main Street in Placerville. My favorite stop is Placerville Hardware, which is the oldest hardware store in Northern California and the oldest general store west of the Mississippi.

It is packed from floor to ceiling with anything and everything you can think of. From clothes lines, oil cloth, cast iron pots and pans, to any and every hardware thing you would ever need. Honestly, you can spend hours poking around in there. I’ve done it a time or two!

Placerville Hardware is located at 441 Main Street, Placerville, CA 95667 

A Summer Night Dinner On Happy Road Farm

Last Saturday night, I was invited to a friends’ farm for a fun summer night dinner party. My friends live outside the city limits on a few acres of land. They have chickens, pigs, fruit trees, gardens and are looking forward to eventually adding goats. It was so much fun to be on the farm and enjoy the summer night among new friends.

A Summer Night Dinner On Happy Road Farm

The tables were set with plates and cutlery that while mismatched, went together beautifully. The dahlias were grown on the farm and hay bales were used as bench style seating on one side. I loved the way it allowed people to come and go and mingle throughout the night. Dinner was homemade pizza made fresh throughout the night in the pizza oven on the patio with loads of fresh salad greens dressed lightly followed by dessert of ice cream with bramble berry sauce and the kids made amores in the pizza oven fire. Between dessert and dinner, I snuck away from the table after the sun had set and took a few photos from the garden.

A Summer Night Dinner On Happy Road Farm

A Summer Night Dinner On Happy Road Farm

A Summer Night Dinner On Happy Road Farm

These pigs were so fun to watch as they ate and played before heading to bed. The smaller brown pigs are 8 weeks old and all of them will eventually get to be 300 pounds each!

A Summer Night Dinner On Happy Road Farm

A Summer Night Dinner On Happy Road Farm

Summer Dinner on the Farm

Summer Delta Drives and Summer Fruit Stands

Sacramento Delta Drives + Summer Fruit Stands

Sacramento Delta Drives + Summer Fruit Stands

Sacramento Delta Drives + Summer Fruit Stands

Sacramento Delta Drives + Summer Fruit Stands

Sacramento Delta Drives + Summer Fruit Stands

Sacramento Delta Drives + Summer Fruit Stands

Sacramento Delta Drives + Summer Fruit Stands

Sacramento Delta Drives + Summer Fruit Stands

Sacramento Delta Drives + Summer Fruit Stands

Sacramento Delta Drives + Summer Fruit StandsMost Sundays I go for a drive along the Sacramento Delta river roads.  I love driving past the old river homes, the small sleepy towns, vineyards and farm after family farm.  I usually stop on my way out of town and pick up my favorite latte, turn up my radio, put my cell phone on airplane mode and relish in not needing to rush off anywhere and just enjoying the drive.  Sometimes it can just be an ordinary day where I need a break and other times I use my time to think about and make big decisions.  I have made every major life decision, big and small, along these river roads.  I’ll leave home feeling jumbled and confused and when I return, I feel clearheaded and free.  I love where I live and I love being so connected to the cycle of food and life that we get to experience living so close to the fields where some of the best strawberries, blueberries, peaches and pears are grown.  I love hearing how a local farmer took a boat down the river to pick up a daily harvest of asparagus that will grace my dinner plate.  I love picking up jars of jams, preserves and olive oils that are made and produced right here in my back yard.  This is what fuels me and what makes me want to stay and raise my family here in this beautiful part of Northern California.  Most Sunday’s I follow the river road to the intersection of Highway 12 and California State Route 160 to my favorite homegrown farm stand where my friend Susan greets me with a smile and offers me the gorgeous fruits of her and her husband’s labor.  They pick strawberries in the cool summer mornings, and clip the most fragrant sweet peas from their cutting garden towards the back of their property.  They sell the most delicious cherries, apricots, blueberries and asparagus.  They also sell beets, cabbage, squash and other seasonal veggies.  The prices are low and the quality is exceptional.  Susan and her husband, Choy, are open 7 days a week from 9am-6pm.  They are some of my favorite people and I hope if you are local that you are able to take the beautiful drive to see Susan and purchase some of the most delicious produce that our area has to offer.

Summer Drives & Farm Fresh Fruit Stands

Field Trip | Apple Hill


Field Trip | Apple Hill
Fall is here!  Yippee! For me fall is all about tradition and one of the first things I do is to make a trip up the hill to Apple Hill. This year I packed up my nephews and we set out to have some harvest fun.  Before leaving I researched a few farms using the Apple Hill Growers Association website.  It is a really helpful resource to use and they offer downloadable PDFs outlining kid specific activities and an easy to navigate map of the Apple Hill area that lists all farms and farm stands and what each farm offers.

Our first stop was Pine O’ Mine which is a self pick apple and berry farm.  The farm is kept up nicely and the staff is very knowledgeable and helpful, they even took time to tell the boys how to pick apples; twist the apple until the apple comes off the tree instead of pulling.  To get started the the staff offered the boys paper bags and off we went into the orchard, spending our time walking up and down the rows picking loads and loads of apples, 29 pounds to be specific.

Our second stop was Denver Dan’s Apple Patch, which was a bit off the beaten path so the crowd was a little smaller it was a little easier to navigate with the boys.  Denver Dan’s is a great farm with a farm stand store selling different variations of homemade take and bake apple pies, crisps and breads. There is also face painting, a petting zoo and fresh apple cider to partake in.

Our last stop was Rainbow Orchards because they have the best apple cider doughnuts and there isn’t anything I love more than a fresh, hot, apple cider doughnut, yum!  They also have great BBQ and have an apple cider press going through out the day to demonstrate how fresh cider is made and offer apple cider samples for the kids.  It was also a great place for the boys to get out and run around, the farm is set up for lunches and outdoor picnicking.

I love heading up the hill to support our local farmers and to create fall traditions and create fun memories with my nephews it’s something I look forward to it year after year.  These were a few of our favorites, what are your favorite not to miss farms and farm stands?

Autumn Apple Picking Trip

Summer Fun + Stinson Beach

This 4th of July week has been such a great one so far.  I’ve never really stopped to enjoy summer as much as I have this week.  Yesterday, I went on a day trip to Stinson Beach where my nephews learned to boogie board.  It was so fun watching them catch their first tiny waves.  On the ride home, I snapped a few photos of the Napa countryside.  It was such a great day for family, friends and to celebrate this wonderful summer we’ve been having.

ps.  Tonight I am prepping for a live segment all about last minute 4th of July decorations on KCRA 3 tomorrow morning at 8:00 am.  Tune in if you are in the Sacramento area.  If not, I’ll be posting the segment here in the next week or so!

Happy 4th of July!