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Apricot U-Pick Orchards in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties in California in 2023, by county

Below are the U-Pick orchards and farms for apricots that we know of in this area. Not all areas of any state, nor even every state, have apricots orchards that are open to the public. If you know of any others, please tell us using the add a farm form!

San Luis Obispo County

  • Cal Poly Fruit and Crops - apples, apricots, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, olallieberries, pears, peaches, pumpkins, raspberries
    California Polytechnic State University Use the Highland Drive entance off of Hwy 1, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407. Phone: 805-756-2224. Email: Directions: From Hwy 101 in San Luis Obispo, Take Highway 1 north toward Morro Bay, Right on Highland Drive, Follow the signs to the designated U-Pick area, Parking is free on weekends. . Click here for a map and directions. Payment: Cash, Check. . Better call before you go; their website disappeared over the winter, so I put a link to the department's website; Saturdays 10am to 1pm Occasionally Wednesdays 3pm to 5pm Picking is available when the crops are ready. Crops are usually available all year. We have Satsuma Tangerines in the Winter months and Various Navel Oranges, blood oranges and other citrus for most of the year. We also have many varieties of prepicked avocados that change throughout the year. (UPDATED: May 02, 2018, JBS)

Santa Barbara County

  • Ballard Apple Farm and Seein' Spots Miniature Donkeys - Uses natural growing practices, apples, apricots, Fresh eggs, U-pick and already picked, restrooms, picnic area, pony rides, petting zoo, farm animals, school tours
    2599 Baseline Avenue, Solvang, CA 93463. Phone: 805-688-2275. Email: Open: Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 to 4:00 all year long. Directions: Located in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley in beautiful Ballard. Click here for a map and directions. Payment: Cash, Check. . . We are . From highway 154 take the Ballard turnoff and follow Baseline Avenue about three miles. From Solvang going toward Santa Ynez turn left on Rufugio Road and left again on Baseline Avenue and we are about a half mile down on the right. You will see a red sign with donkeys out front. Drive up to the barn and park. Apricots: July Apples: September through December Eggs: All year long Our Miniature Donkey Petting Zoo and Kiddie Rides are available all year and we always have babies to play with!. We use natural practices, but are not yet certified Organic. We are a family run miniature farm and we love to share our animals. We have Kiddie Rides for small children on our miniature donkeys and donkey hugs are always available to everyone!. We are a small family farm located in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley about 30 miles north of Santa Barbara. Our donkey farm was originally The Ballard Apple farm with over 800 apple trees. We now have 80 trees with 12 different varieties, some of them antique varieties from Europe. Families have been coming to our farm to pick apples for many years. Our picking season usually runs from late August to November. Most of the land is now being used for our precious Mediterranean Miniature Donkeys.
  • U-Pick Blueberries - blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, tomatoes, lavender, apricots & plums
    3665 Dominion Rd, Santa Maria, CA 93454. Phone: (805) 260-0497. Email: Open: Starting June 6th, Everyday 10AM-4PM; see their Facebook page or website. Click here for a map and directions.
    U-Pick Blueberries Facebook page. . Fun family outing! We offer spray-free in season..for you to pick! Bring your family and friends out for a fun outdoor experience and learn all about all the wonderful things Central Coast Farming has to offer. At , not only can you have fun harvesting seasonal berries, but you can sample while you pick because we don't spray any pesticides! You can also find us on Saturdays at the local farmers markets below:Templeton and San Luis Obispo. Facebook page. (ADDED: June 27, 2022, JBS)


Apricot Picking Tips, Recipes and Information

In the U.S., Apricots typically peak from June through July in the South, and July and August in the North. In order to produce good local apricots, producers depend on ideal spring and early summer weather conditions, and no late frosts. If you want to know which are the best varieties of apricots for home canning, see this page!

Before you leave to go to the farm:

  1. Always call before you go to the farm - Apricots are affected by weather (both rain and cooler temperature) more than most crops. And when they are in season, a large turnout can pick a field clean before noon, so CALL first!
  2. Leave early.  On weekends, then fields may be picked clean by NOON!
  3. Most growers furnish picking containers designed for apricots, but they may charge you for them; be sure to call before you go to see if you need to bring containers.
    If you use your own containers, remember that heaping Apricots on top of each other will bruise the fruit on the bottom. Plastic dishpans, metal oven pans with 3 inch tall sides and large pots make good containers, so you can spread them out.
  4. Bring something to drink and a few snacks; you'd be surprised how you can work up a thirst and appetite! And don't forget hats and sunscreen for the sun. Bugs usually aren't a problem, but some deet might be good to bring along if it has been rainy.
  5. You might want to ask whether the apricots are! There are two major types of apricots: "Freestone" and. "Clingstone". Freestone apricots and nectarines have flesh that slips easily away from the pit. Clingstones are a REAL pain, because the fruit tenaciously clings to the stone or pit! Most apricot varieties grown today are freestone and are usually available (depending upon your location) from June through September. Some nectarines are freestone and some are clingstone. Freestone nectarines are available in June and July. Most plum varieties are clingstone. 

How to tell if the apricots are ripe!

  • Attached to the tree: Apricots are best picked when the fruit separates easily from the twigs. If it is hard to pull off the tree, it isn't ripe! Apricots will not ripen further once removed from the tree (they only "soften")
  • Color: Green is definitely unripe, but you can't use red color as an indicator of how ripe a apricot is. Different apricot varieties have differing amounts of red blush in their natural coloring. Pick them when the ground color changes from green to yellow, orange, red (or a combination). The skin of yellow-fleshed varieties ripens to an orange tint, while the skin of white-fleshed varieties changes from greenish- to yellow-white.
  • Softness: unless you like your apricots very firm, pick your apricots with just a little "give" when gently pressed. Apricots at this stage are great for eating, freezing, and baking. Apricots won't ripen very much after picking!
  • Odor: It should smell sweet and ripe!

Tips on How to Pick Apricots

A apricot is softer than most fruit, so it is important to pick a apricot gently, with little pressure. Using the sides of your fingers rather your fingertips helps to avoid bruising.  Grab the apricot firmly and pull it straight off the branch. DON'T drop the apricot into the basket, but set it in gently!

Marks on the Apricots: Bugs (particularly squash bugs and stink bugs) bite fruit during development and this results in some imperfections in the apricot. This is especially the case with organically raised fruit.  These look like dents in the apricots if the apricots were bitten by a bug when they were young. This causes a spot that does not grow properly and makes a wrinkle in the apricot. There's nothing wrong with these apricots. They may look funny, but they will taste just as good as blemish-free apricots, and it's better not to have the pesticides!

When you get home

  1. Spread the fruit out on towels or newspapers and separate any mushy or damaged fruit to use immediately.
  2. Put a couple of days supply into the fridge, wash and cut the others and freeze them up!
  3. Even under ideal conditions apricots will only keep for a week in a refrigerator, so for best flavor and texture, use them as soon as possible after purchase
  4. Now, get ready to make Apricot jam or canned apricots - It is VERY easy - especially with our free  directions and recipes:

Apricot Canning, Freezing and Recipes

How much do you need?

Raw measures:

  • About 6 medium apricots = 1 cup sliced apricots.
  • About 4 medium apricots = 1 cup pureed apricot.
  • 1 pound fresh apricots = 8 to 12 whole fruits

Process yields (Raw amounts to processed amounts)

  • 2 to 21/2 pounds of fresh apricots yields 1 quart canned
  • 2-1/2 pounds fresh apricots = 2 to 3 pints frozen
  • 1 lb of fresh apricots typically yields 3 cups of peeled, sliced apricots or 2 cups or puree.
  • It takes about 5 good sizes apricots or nectarines (or about 10 plums) to fill one quart jar of canned apricots.
  • An average of 17 -1/2 pounds of fresh apricots are needed per canner load of 7 quarts;
  • An average of 11 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints.
  • 1 bushel = 48 to 50 pounds, yields approximately 18 to 25 quart jars.

Apricots-Average retail price per pound and per cup equivalent

Canned Apricots

  • 16-ounce can apricots = 2 cups drained

Dried Apricots

  • 6 pounds fresh apricots = 1 pound dried apricots
  • 1 pound dried apricots = 2-3/4 cups
  • 1 pound dried apricots = 5 cups cooked
  • 6 ounces dried apricots = 1 cup
  • 6 ounces dried apricots = 2 cups cooked

Other Local Farm Products (Honey, Horses, Milk, Meat, Eggs, Etc.)
(NOT pick-your-own, unless they are also listed above)

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