Field Trip to Driscoll’s Berry Farm

strawberry tasting

It’s field trip time! Don’t you love field trips? I know I do. Last Saturday, I had a really awesome opportunity to visit Driscoll’s Cassin Ranch Berry Farm in Watsonville with a group of bloggers & writers. Casey stayed home with Cooper while I got a little time to myself. (Thanks honey!)

I also got to scratch off another item from my 31 comes before 32 list! #7. Go to a farm. Done!

Curious what it’s like to visit a berry farm? Let’s take a look:

When you’re a farmer, your day starts early. This meant that I had to wake up at 5:30am to make the bus out there.  Do you know how hard it is to wake up before a toddler? HARD. But I got to see the sunrise and binge on fresh berries for over 3 hours. Totally worth it.

When we arrived at Driscoll’s farm they had a berry packed breakfast waiting for us. Check out those big fat strawberries! Don’t mind if I do…

And look at this berry loaded yogurt parfait! I wish I didn’t have to share this with the others. I loved the combination of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries & blackberries! Berry overload? More like berry heaven!

This reminds me…I still need a trifle bowl.

We took our breakfast outside and enjoyed the view. That’s some view, huh?

I didn’t stay far from that parfait….

I sat at a table with Steve Garrett, Driscoll’s head berry farmer.  I loved listening to him get all geeky about farming and how he delights in watching things grow every year. You can tell that he really loves what he does; he’s been farming since he was a hippy with long hair. And for a good 30 minutes I was trying to imagine him with long hair. I couldn’t help it!

While we were eating, out came a BUNCH of strawberries!

We got a chance to sample the different varieties of strawberries they’re currently working on. Each one had it’s own unique flavor profile!

Did you think that a strawberry just tastes like a strawberry? Think again!

I had my eye on this variety. It had a crazy number…no name yet. It was fat, juicy, perfectly sweet, vibrant strawberry with a beautiful crown of leaves on top.

berryfarm081

Here was a strawberry that tasted like grape candy! Weird! Yet… somehow fascinating! There was one that looked like the color of a candy apple red car. I swear, it even sparkled!

After our breakfast, we went into the raspberry fields.

It’s currently berry season in California. Can you see why?  Gorgeous California weather!

Here we are learning about raspberry breeding from Dr. Phil Stewart. We walked around with a Kindle filled with all of the varieties. Technology! I love it.

We got to meet a few of the workers working on pollinating the plants.

They take a little paintbrush and do their pollinating magic!

I might have eaten one off the plant… Shhh. Don’t tell.

And then we got to see some perfectly organized strawberry fields. This pleases me. I love driving past rows of crops.

A quick view of the workers harvesting strawberries! I can see why it’s considered back breaking work.

They put tents over the raspberries to prolong the season. Makes a 6 week season turn into 8.

Such a beautiful sight!

After the berry visit, we went the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival where I drank & ate myself silly (more on that later!)

Berries+ Food+ Wine….not a bad way to spend a Saturday, right?

Here’s what I learned:

  • Hanging out with a farmer is super inspiring!
  • Bees are everywhere on a berry farm.
  • Driscoll’s dominates the market in raspberries.
  • There are TONS of different berry varieties and it takes a long time to test & produce each one.
  • Kindles are really cool. Especially if you need to read outside.
  • Writers take a lot of notes during field trips like this…bloggers take a lot of photos.
  • I want to grown tons of vegetables & fruit one day.
  • That little strawberry plant I have at home is NOTHING compared to what I saw here.
  • It’s very important to know where your food comes from! I grew up eating Driscoll’s berries and now when I see them at the grocery store, I will always think of this day and the effort & energy that goes into creating good food.
  • A strawberry doesn’t just taste like a strawberry.
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  • miss james

    your farm post made me hungry. good thing i just bought a bunch of driscoll berries yesterday! time to snack. xo.

  • jules

    WOW, so cool! by the way, i’m super jeal. all i want ever at all ever ever ever is to have a farm!!

  • Heidi @ Food Doodles

    Awesome! Thanks for the inside look :) We go and pick strawberries locally but it’s a fairly small farm, at least in comparison to that.

  • liza

    Awesome post! So interesting to see where those berries come from. Raspberries are my all time faves! Xo

  • Leah

    I can’t believe you’re berry picking haha!! The buds are just starting to come out on the trees here! But the beautiful sunshine and the berries in your photos make me hopeful that soon we’ll be berry picking too! Looks like you had a great time, thanks for posting :)!!

  • Janet

    I am supremely jealous – what a cool trip! I’m dying to visit a farm – and pick berries, too!

    PS: I just got a Kindle and I love it!!

  • Vanessa

    I love this post!! We get Driscoll berries sometimes at work! I’m so jealous of your experience!! I need to get to the west coast ASAP!

  • Katrina

    Fun! So jealous!

  • Jane M

    AAAH such a nice post and I too wish I was there as well! Gorgeous looking weather day as well. LUCKY LUCKY LUCKY! I just had strawberries (Driscoll) with my Greek yogurt for breakfast!

  • Ruth

    How fun! This looks fantastic :) How I wish I lived in CA!

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  • jadekaz

    Nice. We eat Driscoll berries all the time – thanks to you – now I’ve “seen” the farm.

  • Ashley

    Those berries and that parfait look amazing!

  • Jessica

    What a pretty place! We get their strawberries here in Texas, so it’s nice to see where they come from. Have you ever had grapples? They’re apples that are supposed to taste like grapes, but I think they taste more like grape candy. Sounds like they’re up to the same experiment with the berries!

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