First off, don't confuse this place w/ Swanton Berry Farm. It's totally different. From the website linked below along w/ photo from the website, it's owned by Cal Poly SLO and functions as a field lab for their Ag students. Pretty cool.
I called them to get more info about a local ad I saw for apple picking. The ad said that they have NINE varieties of ORGANIC apples for picking. "Dwarf" trees are there for the little ones to join in. Sounds like another fun field trip for my niece and nephews w/ caramel apples to follow...
I was shocked when someone actually answered their phone (831.427.1718). Nice lady. Apples that she identified they have: royal gala, jonagold, red fuji, yellow newton, granny smith, red delicious. That's only six, so there are a few more, some she said that they hadn't really identified. I was hoping for more uncommon ones that I've heard about but never had a chance to try (eg, arkansas blacks, northern spies, pink ladies), but those unknowns are alluring. Note: she said that the fujis have "scabs" or blemishes due to late rains but are tasty while the red delicious crop was the least tasty this year.
Cost is $1/lb. and they also have bags that can be filled for $7 and boxes for $30 (which I'm assuming are better deals). Not a great deal since apples at the farmer's markets are selling for about $1.25/lb. right now, but upick is more about the experience than getting a huge bargain for me.
Formal upick hours are Th-Sun from 10-3, although she said that they are usually ready to go by 8am and don't really close up til dusk. Unfortunately, they aren't selling any prepared goodies like apple butter, cider, or pie.
How to get there: From north or south on Hwy 1, turn inland onto Swanton Rd. From the south entrance (Santa Cruz side), it will be about 4.8 miles to the ranch. This will be going on for the next couple of months.
Questions: Has anyone picked apples here before? Are there other good places to pick apples in SC County that may have interesting varieties? Website says they sell both grass and grain fed beef; anyone buy from them before?