Pick Your Own Organic Produce at Bloomfield Farms
July 31, 2012Posted by pamela |
Like many families, we like to know exactly where our food is coming from. So when we learned about the new "u-pick" Sundays at Bloomfield Farms in western Sonoma County, we knew we had to give it a try. My kids love the opportunity to pick their own food, whether it's in our own backyard garden or at a local farm. While there are plenty of local farms that offer farmstands and sell at various farmers markets around the Bay Area, this is the first we'd heard of a farm offering pick-it-yourself veggies.
Bloomfield Farms is a certfied organic family farm located just west of Petaluma in Sonoma County. It's easy to get to, and makes for a fun Sunday outing for the family. They sell produce at farmers markets, supply local markets, and provide CSA boxes to subscribers, but decided to offer a u-pick event so consumers could come experience how their food is grown and harvested.
Pull into to the farm and register with Nick Papadopoulos, one of the owners of Bloomfield Farms. He's welcoming and enthusiastic, and he'll explain how the farm's u-pick Sunday works: head out into the fields, pick and cut vegetables, and fill your crate. It costs $25 for everything that you can fit into the box. Wagons are available, too, which makes carrying your crate of veggies a lot easier (there's a limited number of wagons, so bring your own if you can). While we were there we also got a chance to chat with Mike Collins, founder and farmer at Bloomfield Farms. He's extremely knowledgable and passionate about what he grows.
The kids—and parents, too—had an absolute blast walking up and down the rows of pristine organic vegetables looking for something intersting and delicious to being home and try. Bloomfield Farms offers an amazing variety of produce, including Swiss chard, lettuce, several varieties of kale (including dinosaur kale, our favorite), potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, zucchini, grean beans, tomatillos, herbs like parsley and basil, and more.
The kids loved to get dirty and dig up their own potatoes. My daughter, whose favorite vegetable is broccoli (believe it or not), was amazed to see how broccoli grew out on the farm, and was thrilled to be able to select and cut her own heads to eat for dinner. They were also fascinated by the redbor kale, which looks like small trees sprouting deeply curled deep magenta leaves. The scenery around the farm is amazing, too.
Head back to the farmstand and box up your goodies to bring home. It helps to have your own bags or boxes, but they'll give you one if you need it. The farm also offers pre-cut herbs like basil and rosemary and fresh free range eggs ($6 a dozen; you'll probably see some of the hens wandering around the farm while you're there). Nick also had a big jug of ice water flavored with fresh mint and citrus that he ladled into mason jars—the perfect way to keep hydrated on a warm summer day.
Bring your lunch and have a picnic at the farm's shaded picnic table before or after you pick your veggies. We had so much fun, and $25 for a big box of amazing seasonal produce really is a bargain. Of course you have to pick it yourself, but that's most of the fun! We sauteed a big bunch of Swiss chard and pan-fried our fresh-picked red potatoes for dinner that night—delicious!
If You Go
Bloomfield Farms is located 12250 Valley Ford Road in the little town of Bloomfield just northwest of Petaluma. It's scenic drive of approximately 45 minutes from central Marin. To get there, take Highway 101 to the Washington Street exit in Petaluma. Turn left at the stop light onto Washington Street and follow it until it becomes Bodega Avenue. Follow Bodega Avenue into the Two Rock Valley area, then bear right as Bodega Avenue becomes Valley Ford Road. Bloomfield Farms will be on your left just after Bloomfield Road—look for the sign and the orange flags.
U-pick at Bloomfield Farms is offered through November 4, 2012 on Sundays from 10 am to 3 pm. An RSVP to email@example.com or on the farm's Facebook page is appreciated, but not essential. The cost is $25 per box of produce; cash only.
Bring a knife (a pocket knife or even a serrated bread knife is fine) and gloves, as well as a hat, sunscreen, as there's not a lot of shade out in the fields. Also, make sure you pack light jackets or sweatshirts, as the weather out near the coast is notoriously fickle. Sturdy shoes or boots and clothes that you don't mind getting dirty are likewise a must; this is a working farm, after all. A portable toilet restroom is available, as well as drinking water, but you might want to bring your own, just in case.
For more information on Bloomfield Farm, visit www.bloomfieldfarmorganics.com. If you visit, make sure you tell Nick that you heard about it here.