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Pickin’ Blueberries

A Visit to the U-Pick Blueberry Farm on Highway 101


There are only so many times you can drive past a place and say, “We should go there sometime!” before you feel like an apathetic troglodyte. So we finally did it. On a recent Sunday, my family zipped up the 101 to the U-Pick blueberry farm. Halfway between Buellton and the Gaviota tunnel, the roadside stand welcomes antioxidant-craving motorists with flapping purple flags and 20 acres of indigo-tinged fields. Visitors take small, galvanized pails and wander down a dirt road past penned goats and hillside cattle to rows upon rows of bountiful blueberry bushes. The farm, part of Restoration Oaks Ranch (1980 Hwy. 101, Gaviota; 689-9014; restorationoaksranch.com), grows 14 varieties of blueberries with names like Jewel, Star, and Misty. The plump little sugarballs are easily found and plucked. Admire the exquisite hues-creamy white, pale green, shell pink, and lavender-but cobalt is sweetest. No pesticides means you can pop a few in your mouth right off the bush to see which variety you like best. A full 36-ounce pail runs $15. Pick fewer and the price is negotiable. You can buy the berries already packaged : but why?

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