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The Guide: Where to go

LOADED UP: The Rivas family with a cart full of green beans they picked at Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark.
LOADED UP: The Rivas family with a cart full of green beans they picked at Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark.
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Farms that welcome the DIY crowd Finding U-pick farms has gotten easier than it used to be, thanks to Blake Slemmer, an Atlanta software executive who started the national pick-your-own website, www.pickyourown.org. He relies on visitor feedback to update his site, which provides farm lists for 50 states and six countries. Here are some U-pick farms within reasonable driving distance of Los Angeles that either offer activities for kids, have farm stands or are close to other U-pick farms. Farms offer bags or boxes but it’s helpful to bring your own. For liability reasons, neither ladders nor cherry-pickers are allowed at most farms.Brian Ranch Airport U-Pick Orchard. At the end of a mile-long dirt road, this farm is also a private airport specializing in ultralight and light sport aircraft. In season now: peaches, pears, Asian pears, nectarines, apples. The farmers sell at the South Pasadena farmers market. Open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays and by appointment during the week. $1.50 per pound of fruit picked. 34810 Largo Vista Road, Llano. (661) 261-3216; www.brianranch.com. Riley’s Apple Farm. This working farm has a 19th century feel, as “we’ve tried to stay true to the historical appearance,” Timothy Riley says. In addition to picking fruit, children and adults can also press cider, make corn-husk dolls and practice tomahawk throwing and archery. In season now: raspberries and blackberries. Apples begin after Labor Day, and pumpkins will be available at the end of September. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; after Labor Day, Tuesday through Sunday. $5 parking fee on the weekends. 12201 S. Oak Glen Road, Oak Glen. (909) 797-4061 or (866) 585-6407; www.rileysapplefarm.com.Riley’s Los Rios Rancho. Right now the Gravenstein, Gala and Macintosh orchards are open for U-pick, as are the raspberries and Bartlett pears, but starting Labor Day, this farm also offers hayrides, apple-pressing, a petting zoo and a hay-bale maze. In October, it’ll have U-pick pumpkins, and in November, chestnuts. Open for U-pick 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sunday; beginning Labor Day, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Raspberries are $5 a mounded pint; apples about $6 for a 3-pound bag, $1.25 for larger amounts. There is a $1-per-person orchard entrance fee. 39610 Oak Glen Road, Oak Glen. (909) 797-1005; www.losriosrancho.com.Snow-Line Orchard. Though you can’t pick apples, there is a U-pick raspberry patch here and a shop that sells many of the 34 varieties of apples the Hudson family grows nearby as well as three types of house-made cider and lovely cider doughnuts (made daily after Labor Day). In season: raspberries (golden and red). Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily beginning Labor Day. Three (1-pint) baskets of raspberries, $12. 39400 Oak Glen Road, Oak Glen. (909) 797-3415; www.snow-line.com.Tanaka Farms. This 30-acre organic farm operates year-round, giving tours that culminate in fields where you can pick your own seasonal fruit. Strawberry tours are done for the year, but watermelon tours continue through the end of August. Pumpkin tours begin the last week of September. There’s also a farm stand, petting zoo and corn maze (in season). Reservations required for weekday tours. Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, until 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. $13 a person per tour; price includes a watermelon or pumpkin. 5380 3/4 University Drive, Irvine. (714) 968-6588; www.tanakafarms.com.Underwood Family Farms. The Moorpark location is a 160-acre working farm with a petting zoo, tractor rides and a farm stand. It sells at various farmers markets, including in Hollywood. See its website for a list. In October, during pumpkin and squash season, the Moorpark farm hosts a harvest festival. In season now: tomatoes, peppers, black-eyed peas, raspberries, zucchini, cucumbers. The 10-acre Somis farm has a farm stand and is open May to early August for U-pick blueberries (U-pick currently closed). Both locations are open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Prices are by pound and vary by item. $3 per person entry fee during the week; $5 on weekends. 3370 Sunset Valley Road, Moorpark. (805) 529-3690; 5696 Los Angeles Ave., Somis. (805) 386-4660. www.underwoodfamilyfarms.com.Yingst Ranch. This 18-acre farm is open only as long as the peaches are in season, usually until early October. They don’t have rides or gift shops, but there’s a gorgeous orchard filled with heirloom fruit varieties, wild bees and plenty of tranquillity. In addition to U-pick, they also sell picked fruit and family and go to four farmers markets: Hollywood, Pasadena, Riverside and Victorville. In season now: peaches, pears, apples. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Fruit is 95 cents a pound for U-pick, $1.20 per pound for picked fruit. 35349 80th St., Littlerock. (661) 944-2425. -- Amy Scattergood


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