Visiting Swanton Berry Farm – A Slow Coast Berry Yummy Stop

Swanton Berry Farm

A jar of Swanton Berry Farm‘s olallieberry jam is all you need at breakfast to wake up with a smile. A visit to Swanton Berry Farm in Davenport is all you need to appreciate this stretch of California coast dubbed the Slow Coast – as in, how to take our sweet time to find what’s good in life.  Next time you’re on your way to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, stop here and walk around. Here’s a farm where you can stock up on scrumptious fruit pies or preserves at the store, pick strawberries in the fields when in season, and enjoy some vintage family fun at the fruit stand. We went with my girls, their friend Amelia, my friend Ashley and her two boys, on our way to – where else? – the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Oh the chocolate-covered strawberries!

Photo gallery – click to enlarge

Driving down highway 1 from Pescadero, we saw Swanton Berry Farm’s trademark yellow truck from far. I’d told the kids to look for it. “It’s here!” they yelled. We pulled in the parking lot just as another car came out. “It’s a girlfriend from school!”  said my 8-year old all excited. But they didn’t see us and they were already driving away. “Don’t worry, it’ll be fun inside the store, I promised the kids. Here’s what they loved inside.

  1. The old typewriter next to the old-fashioned scale. As soon as they spotted the vintage typewriter, the kids were all over it like fruit flies. Realizing than more than 2 hands at a time on a single typewriter was tricky, the 5 kids formed a neat line and took turns pounding on the old typewriter keys whether they were already jammed or not. Who knew typewriters could be so much fun?
  2. The jam-tasting bar. Now I suggest you supervise little monsters around the jam jars because there’s a definite risk of over-indulgence for anybody who’s got half a sweet tooth. On our visit, we tasted seven jams with animal crackers: blackberry jam, tayberry jam, olaliberry jam, strawberry olalliberry jam, citrus jam, strawberry jam, and strawberry citrus jam. My favorite was olalliberry so that’s what we bought.
  3. Chocolate-covered strawberries. Those always remind me of the intermission treats at the San Francisco Ballet but to my kids they’re a rare and decadent delicatessen worth drooling over. Juicy and sweet, they were covered in just the right amount of dark chocolate and the kids loved snacking on them later at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
  4. Baskets of fresh strawberries. Fortunately strawberry season at Swanton Berry Farm is a multi-season affair but if you find fresh strawberries when you visit, you’ll still find home-made scones, cakes and pies.
  5. The picnic tables with books to browse and board games to play with. Now that’s the real slow coast. A store where you can just sit down and play with your kids. Or open coffee table books to any page and enjoy. No rush.
  6. The vintage stove. Not that it could be played with, but it made the fruit stand feel more like a home than a store.
  7. Honor system box. Can I pay? Can I pay? When the kids understood what honor system meant, they all wanted to use the calculator to tally up the bill, pay and make up how many coins they’d take back as change. I love the trust placed in berry lovers. By the way, you have to pay cash. You can’t swipe yourself a credit card, that’s not slow coast enough.

Hope you have fun when you go there!

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Laure Latham

Laure is an author, environmental advocate, blogger, open water swimmer and now mother. She's passionate about inspiring families to enjoy the outdoors with their children, learning to unplug and living a healthy lifestyle, giving kids life skills and exploring the world around us sharing Family Friendly, Fun Ideas for the whole family on Frog Mom.

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