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Picking up savings & having fun
Karen Vogel scouts for the best blueberries to pick. - photo by HIME ROMERO


• WHAT: U-Pick Blueberry Farm
• WHERE: 21386 S. Murphy Road, Ripon, just north of River Road
• WHEN: Thursday through Saturday during June from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• COST: $2.50 per pound (they provide buckets and carry home packages)
MORE INFO: Call 824-0341

RIPON – Larry Stocks didn’t seem to mind the sun when he was showing three-year-old grandson Braydon Singh how to pick out the best blueberries in the bunch late Thursday morning.

Clutching a pail in each hand, Brayden followed his grandfather through the rows of blueberries and stopped occasionally to examine how he’d pull them from the center of the plant on the ground – Larry doing the bulk of the picking while the rest of the family followed suit.

All in all, he said, it was a great opportunity for a family outing where at the end you get your own natural treat.

“It was something that I thought the family could do together, and so far it’s been a good day,” said Escalon resident Stocks. “I’ve been here before by myself, but I thought it was something that the kids would like to do and so far they’ve been having fun.”

Yes, it’s blueberry season in Ripon.

Earlier this month Jessop Farms on Murphy Road opened up their rows to do-it-yourselfers that flock to the quaint family operation during the early morning hours on the days that they operate.

Tucked amidst seemingly endless rows of almond orchards, a long dirt road leads customers to a lava rock parking area where they are first introduced to the prized picking area – which extends deep onto the horizon where more almond trees continue the visual trend.

For those willing to tote their own buckets (provided if you don’t bring your own) the small blue fruit that many believe help memory function is available for only $2.50 a pound – a bargain compared to the contemporary prices at many grocery and health food stores.

Prepackaged bins are $3.50 a pound.

According to Jessop Farms employee DeeAnn Kirkpatrick, it’s the act of picking the fruit that brings many of the people out for a leisurely stroll down the manicured lanes – fields that have taken three years to reach this level of maturity and can only be scoured for three days out of the week.

And the draw of the blueberries reaches far beyond the general Ripon area.

“We had people out here today from Escalon and Oakdale – they come from all over the area,” Kirkpatrick said – hovering over a scale and a stack of papers that list recipes for blueberry bars. “They like being out there and picking which blueberries they’re going to take home.”

Jessop Farms is located at 21386 S. Murphy Road in Ripon, just north of River Road. Picking times are from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and extend throughout the month of June. For more information call 824-0341.