Group Pick and Picnic Invite: For those of you interested in a group pick and picnic (on a Sat. most likely in June), please email me at the above address if you haven't already. The farm provides special tours of their coastal farmland for a small fee, so we can also arrange that if people are interested.
I have been enjoying the first strawberries of the season from my local market, so was excited to find out about Swanton Berry Farm Stand. It's located just 12.5 miles north of Santa Cruz and 2 miles north of Davenport, in the farmstead town of Swanton. Website is swantonberryfarm.com
Even though Santa Cruz was drizzly and gloomy on Sat., Y and I met up w/ Y's brother, wife, and 3 kids and trekked out to the beach and farm stand. By the time we reached Swanton, the sky was a pale blue and the sun cast its rays on the stretches of farmland. The scene was utterly wholesome and pastoral...a step back to an era where time slows down and one can fully immerse in the moment.
When we entered the small store, we weren't greeted by an eager salesperson needing a sales commission or a dizzying array of tourist kitsch. In fact, no person or movement was in sight. Just a simple display shelf brimming w/ natural and tantalizing berry products...just-plucked fruit, jam, scones, chocolate-dipped berries. Fridge and freezer cases held housemade shortcake and sorbet. Flats (12 baskets) were $25; half flats $14; 2 baskets/$5; shortcake and sorbet $4; dipped berries $1ea.
Sampled a berry from their sampler bowl and was immed. struck by the floral, raspberry-like quality. It wasn't as sweet as the Driscoll ones I've had lately from Shopper's Corner, but it was def. more unique and complex in flavor. The rind of the fruit also contained slightly more resistance and texture than your average berry. I appreciated the lack of uniformity in size and shape, reminding me of their organic and natural mission.
Y and I bought a couple of baskets, one shortcake, and one chocolate dipped to hit an even $10. They had run out of strawberry sorbet and ice cream and only had ollalieberry sorbet that was frozen rock solid. Krys had prepared me for the "honor system" cash till and sure enough, there it was on the back wall, next to their kitchen. That's when I noticed one staff person working back there. We paid our $20, helped ourselves to change, and off we went to enjoy our goodies at the picnic tables outside. It was kinda odd to self-serve in this way, but the trust that they have for their customers makes me inclined to reciprocate in kind.
We ate the shortcake on the spot. I could tell it was made fresh and enjoyed the fresh cream and the fact that it wasn't overly sweet. The cake was not spongey, but had some cornmeal that gave it a firmer texture and prevented it from getting too soggy. It was certainly satisfying, but had too much cake and not enough ripe strawberries for me. Still worth the $4 as I don't remember the last time I had strawberry shortcake.
It was the most wonderful way to spend an afternoon w/ my niece and two nephews. Children should be brought closer to their food sources and should experience the taste of a fresh strawberry in their youth. One of my nephews couldn't stop eating them; we still need to work on the other two. See pics in my album...