Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > California >
May 31, 2010 07:59 AM

Pick and Gather Livingston, June 5th and 6th, organic blueberries and cherries u-pick

A request for u-pick cherry locations on the San Francisco board prompted me to post that pick and gather in Livingston at Riverdance Farms is next weekend. I plan to go this year (so if any of my hound friends are interested in meeting there, email me). Livingston is about a two hour drive from Oakland. They will have organic cherries and blueberries to pick.

More info at:

yes, I know, the website is hard to read.

Judging from my own and what I am seeing in the farmer's market, cherries should be good next weekend, though rain and birds have been a challenge this year. The local blueberries are very good right now (I purchased some from 'Barry's Blue's at the Merced Farmer's Market Saturday. I think they are also grown in Livingston. )

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. wow! lots to do, but $10 just to get in?

    4 Replies
    1. re: toodie jane

      If you just want to u-pick and do farm tours, It is $5 on Sunday. The Saturday admission fee covers entertainment (lots of bands, music, petting zoo, workshops etc). As I said, the website is hard to read and poorly written, so it isn't completely clear to me what is included and what isn't. I have written to the organizers to get more info on the schedule; will report back if I hear anything.

      1. re: susancinsf

        so, never got a reply to my email about the schedule, but hubby and I decided to head out there today.

        Bottom line: we had fun, but I do agree based on what was included that $10 p/p admission was a little steep. Yes, there were a few bands, as in one or two, but none of them were really interesting (all rock, just not my first choice), and lots of time with no music at all. Add to that the fact that there was little seating in the shade, and we didn't linger at the music tent. There was a tiny petting zoo, a guy demonstrating fishing down by the river, hay rides (hubby says he has done his one hay ride for this lifetime already, so we didn't try that), and a kids science demonstration area (ie you could look at stuff through a microscope) that seemed fun for the younger crowd. There was also a nice area for swimming on the Merced River, which is flowing fast and definitely was beautiful with orchards as a backdrop.

        Of the exhibits, the best was UC Extension's gardening booth, with lots of great info and very nice people. We lingered there and at the giant telescopes trained on venus and the sun (I think hubby thought it was worth the price of admission for the telescopes).

        But as for the important stuff: food: the blueberries and cherries were gorgeous, but u-pick cost is $5 a lb for blueberries and $3 a lb for cherries (after paying admission): same price for cherries as the farmer's market right now, and about the same for blueberries. (and I am picking up lovely "Barry's Blues" blueberries at the Merced Farmer's Market, grown right in the same area of Livingston, possibly even from the same bushes (?)). So, for those looking for a u-pick bargain, I wouldn't say this is it. I'd recommend it for fun if picking fruit is your idea of fun. The cherries looked to be at their peak to my untrained eye, the blueberries had a lot of not yet ripe fruit on the vine (but plenty that was) so I'd say there is at least a few more weeks of blueberries to go from the area.

        As for prepared food booths, there were three or four: one selling lemonade, a coffee stand, Forte Yogurt, navajo taco stand, etc. Gustine Rotary was cooking up Wolfsen's sausages, and a Wolfsen's brat with the Golden Amber from Mariposa Brewery which had the booth next to them, hit the spot. We had never tried Mariposa Brewery's product before, but both hubby and I agreed that it is worth seeking out. Obviously, you pay for the food separately, though in the case of the Rotary booth, it supports their good works. Someone was there from Pedroza dairy and was offering small tastings of their cheeses, but she couldn't tell me why they sale their product in San Francisco but not locally in Merced (sigh). We did buy some Nicarauguan coffee from the small town of Somoto Nicaragua that is Merced's sister city (who knew?). Coffee was very reasonably priced and proceeds benefited Somoto's scholarship fund:

        We didn't stick around for the evening event, $25 for wine tasting and bites of food, and the folks at the registration table didn't have a list of participating wineries, nor did I see any evidence of set up when we left at 3:30 (it was supposed to start at five). A report would be great if anyone did go in the evening....

        If I go back next year, I'll bring a lawn chair, bathing suit, and probably my own picnic, plus a few kids who are enthusiastic about picking fruit......bottom line though: it seems like a fun local family event, if a bit pricy, but perhaps not as food oriented as I had hoped for...

        1. re: susancinsf

          yes, I know, blueberries grow on bushes, not on vines.....was using that as a figure of speech and am leary of the edit function to change it. I will admit I had never seen blueberries on a bush until today, and that was fun to see.

          1. re: susancinsf

            Thanks for the detailed report.

            Blueberries are surprisingly easy to grow in a large pot with good peaty potting soil. Neighbors gave me a nice one from Monrovia Nsy last summer and it is now setting and starting to ripen fruit. It's fun to pick the few ripe ones every day for my b'fast yogurt.

            Try some--they're not hard to grow.