By Elisabeth Westermann
Special to The Almanac
For the 15th year, Webb Ranch in Portola Valley is welcoming visitors to its fields to take advantage of one of the many perks of summer: berry season.
From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, visitors can pick berries from the ranch's abundance, and an abundance it is. Webb Ranch offers seven varieties of berries: blackberries, raspberries, golden raspberries, olallieberries, loganberries, boysenberries and marionberries.
The picking season normally lasts from the beginning of June through July, but can sometimes start in May and extend to August, depending on the weather.
There is a $4 entry fee (children under 5 and seniors are admitted free) and the berries cost $5.50 per pound.
The season has been a success so far. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 200 and 300 berry-pickers visit the ranch, and on Saturdays that number grows to around 500.
Visitors can appreciate the quality of the berries they pick, which are certified organic. "The community really enjoys coming out to our fields and being able to pick and eat right off the vine without worrying about pesticides or synthetic sprays," said Atlee Frechette, a fourth-generation member of the Webb family and the current farm manager.
Berry-picking is an activity for all ages, and the ranch gets more than half of their traffic from families. "The entire family can come and enjoy the experience. From toddlers who are learning what berries taste like to seniors," Frechette noted.