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May 23, 2011 01:49 PM

Swanton strawberries in Davenport [moved from San Francisco board]

Last summer I picked (organic, of course) Swanton strawberries in Davenport -- have you been there? What's the best time to go? (Loved it.)

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  1. Did you get strawberry shortcake while you were there?

    Anytime is good to go to Swanton, but I like it bestt when strawberries are at the height of the season and they have a lot of varieties that don't make it to the farmers market. Depends on the weather each year when the best time to go is.

    That does remind me I have a favorite sandwich shop in Half Moon Bay that is next to t he hotel downtown. The bread is rolls, but just baked.

    12 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      Alas, my daughter was driving and insisted that we stop at the first location (driving from SF) so I've yet to see the store part down the road. Our stop was just fields and a guy to weigh and charge you.

      Are they usually best in August?

      I've decided not to eat anything but organic strawberries since big producers are now using another pesticide that gets bad press.

      1. re: walker

        The fields (if you mean at the Coastways Ranch) are nicer for u-pick than the farm stand - much more scenic. Either way, a lot of times it's a self-serve, honor-code type deal. I would think that the best time this year is probably June - but by July, they might have olallieberries that you can pick as well.

        I think the shortcake at the Swanton farm stand is just OK. The macerated berries are great, of course, but they're not really bakers there - the biscuits and pie crusts are so-so. Not that I've ever complained while eating them, mind you.

        The jams, on the other hand, are fantastic (if a lot more perishable than any other jams I've encountered). They'll typically have a wider selection at the farm stand than at the farmers markets. The strawberry-rhubarb is great.

        Coastways Ranch
        640 Cabrillo Hwy, Pescadero, CA

        1. re: abstractpoet

          If you go to Swanton/Coastways instead of baked goods there you can go a couple of miles up the road for pie at Pie Ranch.

          Pie Ranch
          2080 Cabrillo Highway, Pescadero, CA

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            I have meaning to go to Pie Ranch and will make it a stop on what is looking like a trip down the the peninsula for cherries with sandwich stops and then up the coast. San Remo Hotel. That's the sandwich place in HMB.

            Oddly enough, Antigua has better pies than anyplace I've ever been, including where I grew up in New England. Go figure.

            And it is classic pies like apple, berry and pumpkin. Also there's something called a banoffee pie at one joint which is one of the best pies I've ever had anywhere.

            1. re: rworange

              Don't know what the latest news on cherries is, but the last i'd heard, the guys at the farmers market were saying that last week's rain (which hadn't happened yet when I talked to them) was going to do a real number on this year's crop and that prices were likely to shoot up to $8 or $9 a pound or even higher. Anyone know if that came to fruition?

              1. re: abstractpoet

                That would make it almost impossible for them to compete with cherries coming in from other areas, I would think. Locavorism only goes so far!

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  I'm just curious if anyone noticed whether the cherry prices at the Berkeley or Oakland farmers markets did, in fact, go up this past weekend.

                  1. re: abstractpoet

                    i dont think they went up, at least for brooks cherries. been selling in the range of $3-$4 a pound (excluding outlier stands, like those found in Sat Berkeley Market which go for around $4.50-$6).

                    cherries in monterey market went down (including rainier) from $1.89 to $1.69 a pound.

                    1. re: majordanby

                      Costco today had Bings (I think), did not notice the price -- I tried one -- was pretty to look at but not much flavor so I passed.

                2. re: abstractpoet

                  Lots of vendors with cherries at the Jack London Square market this Sunday at what seemed to be "normal" prices ($3 for conventional, more for organic, slightly less if you were buying them in a pre-packed basket: the place where ended up buying them was two baskets for $5, which ended up being about $2/lb and excellent quality).

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Yeah, the Berkeley vendors had them priced at $6.90-ish a pound this past week, which certainly isn't cheap but is par for the course for those markets.

          2. re: walker

            Gone a year and my memory went with it.

            It seems to me June and September were good strawberry months. Here's the Swanton U-pick schedule for 2011. They also have a number to call. so you could ask them.


        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. Friday I had a chance to make my one-or-so-a-year visit to Swanton's farmstand.

            Strawberry u-pick has started on weekends. Price is $2.50 per pound.

            But I took the lazy way out and just grabbed a strawberry shortcake from the fridge and tucked a fiver into the honor cash box. Yes, the biscuit part is a heavy style rather than light and flaky. The key is to look for the container that has more of the macerated strawberry juices seeped throughout.

            Here's Barrett, the farmstand manager, bringing out a bunch more.

            The blackberry pies in the case were baked the day before. I asked if strawberry rhubarb might be in the back. Better yet, I found out that a batch would be out of the oven shortly. $20 each and very heavy. Be careful though, when I picked this up, the hot juices sloshed on my shirt. The aroma of the warm pie perfumed my car, and now two days later, the scent of the remaining piece sitting next to me on the table is still very fragrant.

            The crust's dense and buttery. More rhubarb then strawberries, and the rhubarb's on the crunchy side. Barely sweetened, the flavor's quite natural. I served it warm accompanied by some unsweetened whipped cream (flavored with a little vanilla extract), rose petal ice cream, Bing cherries, and a glass of Brachetto.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Is right now the best time to go pick them? Were they sweet?

              1. re: walker

                Yes, they're sweet. Very good compared to just about everyone else's strawberries right now, but probably not at absolute peak yet.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Melanie if you ever get back this way, stop in Nipomo at the stand at the corner of Orchard and Division. They grow them there and their Haas avos when in season are out of this world. Consistently the sweetest most richly flavored unsprayed berries in the area. Rutiz farmstand on The Pike, just near the communities of Oceano and Halcyon, is also very good. They are doing Upick now. Raspberry Upick will be about a month down the road.

                  Both locales are EZ-OFF and EZ-ON Highway 101.

                  1. re: toodie jane

                    toodie jane started a new thread for San Luis Obispo County here,