Fall harvest: It’s prime picking time

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By Emily Alvarenga

Signal Senior Staff Writer

While it may not feel quite like fall here in the Santa Clarita Valley, as temperatures remain warm, the end of September signals that autumn is in the air and pumpkins are arriving from near and far.

Pumpkin patches, corn mazes and you-pick orchards are just some of the fun fall activities available, with options both in and around the SCV.

Gilchrist Farm

Gilchrist Farm’s Harvest Festival and pumpkin patch has returned this fall, with free admission and parking.

While the pumpkin patch is open daily through October, the festival is running weekends, featuring a straw bale maze, pig races, wagon and pony rides, as well as various games and live demonstrations, such as wool spinning, forging and goat milking.

The farm even has certain days where you can bring your pets to have a photo session with your pooch in the pumpkins.

Gilchrist Farm is located at 30116 Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus and open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, with the festival running Saturdays and Sundays, Oct. 1-31. For more information, visit gilchristfarm.com/pumpkin-patch or call 661-645-2517.

Underwood Family Farms

Underwood Family Farms has not one, but two locations, in Somis and Moorpark.

For more than 40 years, the farm has boasted one of the largest pick-your-own farms in Southern California, with acres of pumpkins, fruit and vegetables to pick.

Now through Oct. 31, visitors can join the Moorpark farm for its annual Fall Harvest on the Farm festival, featuring a gigantic pumpkin patch, pick-your-own fields, corn maze, games, rides and six weekends of themed entertainment.

Underwood Family Farms are open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The Fall Harvest on the Farm festival is located at 3370 Sunset Valley Road in Moorpark. For more information, visit underwoodfamilyfarms.com or call 805-523-8552.

Salinas Family Orchard

The Salinas Family Orchard is a family-owned and ran orchard in Littlerock where you can pick your own peaches, nectarines, Asian pears, apples and plums.

While many of its fruits are done for the season, the orchard still has peaches, plums and apples and is set to be open through mid-October.

Salinas Family Orchard is located at 35864 80th Street in Littlerock and is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, call 661-904-8980.

Oak Glen

Travel east to the “apple country” of Oak Glen for a traditional apple-picking experience this October, complete with an actual fall feel, as it gets cooler and the leaves really do change colors here.

While it may be a two-and-half-hour trek from the SCV, many of the farms in Oak Glen offer more than just apple picking, and no matter how you slice it, there’s sure to be enough activities to fill your whole day, including fresh cider pressing, petting zoos, archery and more.

Of the area farms is Los Rios Rancho, Southern California’s largest apple farm in operation since 1906, which offers various types of apples, tomatoes and raspberries, along with you-press cider, a corn maze, farm fair — complete with tomahawk throwing, candle dipping, hayrides, frontier chores.

Los Rios Rancho is located at 39611 Oak Glen Road and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more information, visit losriosrancho.com or call 909-797-1005.

Santa Barbara Blueberries at Restoration Oaks Ranch

Located in the rolling hills of the nearby Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara Blueberries at Restoration Oaks Ranch offers blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and more for picking.

While blueberries are done for the season, blackberries and raspberries are still in harvest, with mornings the best time for picking, according to ranch officials.

In the summer and early fall, the ranch also offers stone fruits, berries and other fun fruits from nearby organic farms.

Santa Clarita Blueberries is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and closed for ripening during the week. The ranch is located at 1980 Highway 101 in Gaviota. For more information, visit https://www.santabarbarablueberries.com/ or call 805-686-5718.

Old Town Newhall Farmers Market

While you can’t pick these fruits and veggies directly off the vine, the Old Town Newhall Farmers Market still offers some of the freshest harvests to the SCV from around the state.

The market hosts a number of small family farms that carry seasonal fruit, vegetables, ranch direct meats and eggs, as well as local food artisans that bring artisan bread, baked goods and the fresh seafood.

The Old Town Newhall Farmers Market is located in the Old Town Newhall Library parking lot at 24500 Main St. 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday. For more information, visit newhallfarmersmarket.com or call 661-799-3693.

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