Did you know that Los Angeleans can go cherry picking? There are a handful of cherry orchards in Leona Valley, an agricultural region in the northeast section of Los Angeles County, or about an 1.25 hours from Santa Monica. During Los Angeles’ cherry picking season, which is about the last two weeks of May or the first two weeks of June, the local farmers invite the public on their cherry orchards to pick ripe fruit off an actual cherry tree. The cherry farmers usually charge the picked harvest by the pound, so for all of the cherries picked by you, plan on spending about $5 per person.
My family and I visited Copeland’s Cherry Ranch upon the advice of a friend due to its Certified Organic stamp of approval by the powers-that-be. The orchard changed hands in 1998 and new owners planted their first 200 Bing and Ranier cherry trees in 2000. Over 260 trees, including Tieton and Utah Giant cherry tree varieties, have since been planted added to the orchard.
Note to the novice: please call the various cherry orchards first before you make the long drive to Leona Valley. Cherry picking season is only 11-14 days long, and one never knows if these days fall will fall in May or June of a certain year. Also note that cherry trees do not provide ample shade for the novice cherry pickers, so plan to wear sunscreen and a sunhat to protect your loved ones from the harsh sun. Oh, Leona Valley is also known to have strong winds, so those prone to seasonal allergies: beware! You will need your anti-histamines! Lastly, these cherry trees are pollinated by as many as 50 beehives throughout the orchard, so be mindful of the bees in your surroundings.
Despite all the above-mentioned warnings, my family and I enjoyed this cherry-picking experience, so much so that no one wanted to leave the orchard when it was time to go home. It was satisfying to expose our kiddies to the farm-to-table concept and it is our hope that their takeaway is that whenever they have fresh fruit and vegetables to eat, someone worked very hard to get them for us to purchase at the store.
Copeland’s Cherry Ranch
9611 Leona Ave
Leona Valley, CA 93551
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