Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Outdoor Wednesdays-Swanton Berry Farm

My family has come to love visiting a farm on Pacific Coast Highway 1 near Davenport and look forward to visiting each year we are in California. Swanton Berry Farm is located an hour and a half south of San Francisco and about 20 minutes north of Santa Cruz along one of the most beautiful scenic highways in America.

This year we are greeted by a giant strawberry in the bed of an old vintage pickup truck.

We discovered this wonderful eclectic place about 3 years ago as we were headed to Carmel during a family vacation. We spotted roadside signs that alerted us to homemade strawberry shortcake "just ahead"...now how could we resist stopping- especially with three grown (always hungry) sons in the car!

Entering through a squeaky red screen door you are greeted with old timey rhythm and blues music playing on the sound system and the most beautiful organic strawberries you've ever seen. We felt like we had entered into a time warp taking us back to a wonderful era of family farms and the wonderfulness and pride of homemade fresh and homegrown goods. I remember the farms in Alabama I was blessed to visit as child and this farms evokes great childhood memories.

You can even pick your own strawberries when in season, just follow their instructions written on the easel inside the doorway.

They make the greatest strawberry jam I've ever tasted and also have many other varieties of jams and jellies which are all organic and made right there...but our favorite is the strawberry.

This year we were a little worried about our precious farm as the Bonny Doon fires were in the nearby mountains. I even called before leaving Oklahoma on vacation to check on the farm to make sure all was well. They had a recording on the telephone reassuring they were fine and open for business. When we arrived we noticed the map of the locations the fires had been only a few weeks before...too close for comfort..but all fires were out by the time we arrived. Thank goodness for courageous firefighters!

Swanton makes the most delicious strawberry chocolate truffles I've ever tasted and of course they have chocolate covered strawberries and shortcake to die for!

We sat at the brightly colored picnic tables indoors next to the very eclectic lounge area complete with games, etch-a-sketches and interesting pictures with historical information about the area.

I love the vintage strawberry tablecloths they have mounted as art and hung in the rafters in the ceiling! Such a fun and whimsy touch!

Games are sitting out on each table and I love the bright blue color and hand painted strawberries on the corners of each picnic table.

Here is one side of the lounge where you can just hang out and relax while eating your delectable treats.

The opposite side of the room has another lounge area with big comfy couches.

This trip we even found out they have wi-fi...surprising to my three sons who then deemed this as the perfect stop on the way to Santa Cruz! Starbucks has nothing on this place!

A crowd had gathered as we prepared to leave.

The most unbelievable and sweetest fact about Swanton Berry Farm is they have the "Famous Honor Till". This is a working farm and the counter is mostly unattended and you have to add up your purchases and leave your money in the cash register drawer...even have to make your own change! There is a calculator and scratch paper available to figure up your purchase totals. How wonderful and refreshing in this day and age...counting on the honesty, integrity and of their customers! Once again something my sons had never seen!

Don't you just love it!

Here is my hubbie figuring up our grand total. We always leave with full bellies, smiling faces and arms full of jellies and whatever else we can carry.

A row of happy sunflowers outside near the parking lot makes me smile as we load up to leave for another year...

and the view across the street is stunning! If you are ever in the area, don't miss this delightful and wonderful place. It's the best -I promise! A stop at the Swanton Berry Farm has become a funky, fun family tradition for us.

Make sure you visit Susan at a Southern Daydreamer and all the wonderful outdoor posts this week! Have a wonderful Outdoor Wednesday.


  1. What a wonderful visit to the strawberry farm! I can just imagine how wonderful the organic berries must have tasted!

    Have a fabulous day!
    Debbykay @ Rose Cottage Gardens and Farm

  2. Oh, this post so reminded me of Washington State. We lived in B.C. drove across the border to my MIL's, went to a Strawberry Farm, picked our berries, cook them right there, bottled them up and enjoyed every single jar!!
    We had the best day. Looks like a very fun place to visit. Love the way you "pay your own"... you just don't see that anymore.
    Happy OW
    Love Claudie

  3. Hi Sonia...

    So happy to see you back to blogging, my friend...I've missed you!!! I was just elated to find your sweet note waiting for me...happy that you came by!!!

    Wow...you guys have been busy! You've been roaming, haven't you? Girl, your Swanton Berry Farm sounds absolutely divine! I would love it! Ohhh...those strawberry truffles look soooo yummy! I also think it's so awesome the way this family operates their business with their "honor system"! That's so refreshing, isn't it!!! Thank you, Darlin'...for sharing a part of your trip with us...I loved it!!!

    So happy to have you back!!!
    Love ya,

  4. What a wonderful place! I am impressed with their honor system. Oh, and the berries have my mouth watering. Thank you for sharing your outing.

  5. It certainly looks like you had a wonderful time at Swanton Berry Farm. In this day and age it is surprising that payment is done by the honor system. Neato!
    Joyce M

  6. Unbelievable! The honor system...wow. It's wonderful and the pictures were wonderful and I love their casual seating and games. Definitely going to have to visit.

    Please come by for my first (and last) poetry reading about the Hippy Bees...lol.

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Hello. I enjoy your photos. Nice farm.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Happy outdoor!

  8. What a great looking place, strawberries with everything!
    I'm putting it down on my list in case I ever visit California again.
    a bientot
    Maggie @ Normandy Life

  9. Sonia, that looks like a fun place in a beautiful setting. How fun!

  10. Definitely looks like a fun stop! Self pay and wi-fi??? What a contrast of cultures! Love it!

    Becky K.
    Hospitality Lane

  11. Enjoyed your Outdoor Wed. post and particularly liked the pic of the sunflowers and the view of the ocean. Just beautiful.

    Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

  12. I've loved every minute of your post today. Your words and photos have made this place real to folks who are miles and miles away. I'm glad your boys enjoyed the stop as much as you did. I hope you are having a wonderful day.

  13. What a lovely post. And such lovely pictures of your trip. Have a nice day

  14. What an inspiration -- the Honor Till-- brought tears to my eyes. Where did we go so far off that scale? Why is this sooo unique.

    I dont know but thank you so much for sharing -- it brighten my day greatly.

    If you get a chance please stop by and say hi!

    TTFN~~Claudia ♥ ♥

  15. Hello Sonia,

    Swanton Berry Farm certainly looks like a great place to visit! I love the picture of the sunflowers.

    Thank you for sharing!

    ~ Tracy

  16. Thanks for featuring one our local "great places" along the coast! Sadly, strawberry season is over and we are all sad. :( No more "guy on the corner from Watsonville" selling flats of strawberries for a song. This was a particularly good season too!

    Those Bonny Doon fires gave us all quite a scare. Our beautiful mountains going up in smoke and an entire town threatened. We were driving over "the hill" the day it was 100% contained and the legions of firetrucks were pouring out of the mountain roads. Honking and waving with appreciation was the order of the day for all of us that day!


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