Central Coast Living: Local farms let ‘U-Pick’ produce fresh from the fields

Posted at 7:59 AM, Aug 31, 2017

Life on the Central Coast is full of good eats and when it comes to produce, we’re lucky to have tons of tasty, locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Some local farmers even offer you the opportunity to pick your own produce.

August means apple and heirloom tomato season at Jack Creek Farms in Templeton.

“We love to have folks come out, grab a basket and pick whatever we have ripe on the farm,” said Mandy Evenson of Jack Creek Farms.

For these fifth generation farmers, there’s something about harvesting your own food that just makes it taste better.

“When you can come out and grab a tomato from the field with your own hands and eat it within minutes, it is just such a treat. You’ll never forget it,” said Becky Sumpter, another one of the family farmers at Jack Creek.

Sisters Mandy Evenson and Becky Sumpter say offering “U-Pick” is one of the most rewarding parts of their job.

“It is so cool, especially for little kids who have never seen an apple actually growing on a tree before – even adults!” Evenson said. “It’s really fun for them to get that connection with where their food comes from.”

While you get a taste of farm life firsthand, you’ll likely hear it too.

“We’ve got goats, we actually had a few little ducklings born this last week and there are bunnies and chickens,” Evenson said. “There’s all sorts of fun stuff for kids to climb on and play on.”

Later this fall, currently green pumpkins will turn bright orange.

“You can go out with you kiddos and pick your very own pumpkin out of the patch,” Sumpter said.

“lt will just be a sea of orange in front and that is definitely my favorite time of year,” said Evenson.

Jack Creek Farms is located off Highway 46 in Templeton. They are open Thursday-Monday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

There are more than a dozen local farms that offer U-Pick. Here’s a list of locations in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.