U-Pick Blueberries in Apple Hill – Your Guide to the Summer Lavender Blue Harvest Days

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When you think of Apple Hill, you may automatically assume that the farms are only open during the autumn season for the apple orchards. But there’s actually some really fun and unique farm experiences that occur during the summer months.

During the month of June, visitors can partake in the Lavender Blue Harvest Days which celebrate the seasonal harvest of blueberries and lavender. You can book tickets to hands-on farm experiences like blueberry picking and u-pick lavender flowers.

Our family just came back from a morning of picking fresh blueberries in the orchards at Rainbow Camino Ridge (which is farm #100 on the Apple Hill map). And then afterwards we headed over to Hidden Star Camino to enjoy some seasonal blueberry-lavender cider donuts and their signature fresh sparking blueberry-lavender cider.

Next weekend we have booked tickets to the Bluestone Meadow Farm for their open farm days, kids play zone and fresh lavender picking. So excited!

In this blog post I will provide tips and tricks on how to get tickets to these u-pick farm events, along with other helping insights to planing your weekend. When compared to the fall season, things are a bit different during the spring and summer months in Apple Hill. Reservations and advanced purchased tickets are often required for events and the farms are not just open to the public all the time. Keep reading for the details!

Why Are Tickets and Reservations Required for U-Pick?

During the fall months between September – October, many of the apple orchards remain open every weekend (and limited weekdays). When it comes to the spring and summer fruit harvests, they usually only have one or two weekends open for the public to enter the farms for u-pick, and prior reservations are almost always required.

The reason for the required reservations is to make sure there’s plenty of fruit available to pick, and to avoid over-crowding on the farms. The entire crop is often completely picked-over in just one or two weekends, depending on the abundance of fruit.

While making reservations may be a hassle, it actually does make for a much better visiting experience. I’ve been to Apple Hill many times where the roads are filled with traffic, there’s no parking available, and there’s so many people that it’s hard to walk around. It’s much more calm and convenient when everyone purchases passes in advance.

Purchasing Tickets to U-Pick Fruit and Flower Events

The key to scoring these coveted u-pick tickets is to be vigilant and stay on top of the social media posts and newsletter emails release by both Apple Hill and the farms. They will send out announcements for the days when they will be making tickets available for purchase to the public. When you see that tickets are open for sale, make sure you take action immediately and purchase the tickets right away. They will sell out quickly and they will not become available again until next year!

Tips to staying in the know about u-pick tickets:

  • Sign-up for the official Apple Hill email newsletter (scroll to the very bottom of the homepage)
  • Download the Apple Hill app on your phone
  • Follow @applehillofficial on Instagram
  • Follow @applehillofficial on Facebook
  • Identify some of your favorite Apple Hill farms and follow them on social media and sign-up for their email newsletters
  • Pro tip! Many of the farms do exclusive early release tickets to their email newsletter subscribers. So don’t be afraid to give them your email address. They will rarely send out emails so don’t worry about getting bombarded with spam emails.

Prices of Tickets for U-Pick

I personally think that the prices of the u-pick tickets are very reasonable. I paid $5 per vehicle and $5 for access to the kids zone at Bluestone Meadow ($10 total), and $5 per vehicle at Rainbow Orchards for blueberry u-pick.

Please keep in mind that this is your admission ticket onto the farm, but you still need to pay for the fruit and flowers that you pick. The total amount that you will pay will depend on how much you pick. At Rainbow Orchards we picked about a pound of blueberries and paid $11.

Blueberry U-Pick at Rainbow Orchards

While there are multiple farms that offer blueberry picking, one of the biggest is Rainbow Orchards. I purchased my u-pick ticket from their website at the very beginning of June for the pick date of Saturday June 22. They had two weekends open for blueberry picking because they had a very abundant blueberry crop for the year of 2024.

One very important thing to point out – Rainbow Orchards has multiple locations in Apple Hill and they are not next to each other. Many people made the mistake of heading over to the Rainbow Orchards Barn which located at 2569 Larsen Drive, Camino, CA 95709. This is NOT where the blueberry u-pick orchards are.

*** The Rainbow Orchards blueberry u-pick takes place at 3010 Snows Rd. at Fuji Court (next to Camino School).

Picking Buckets Are Provided

When you arrive at the farm to check-in at Rainbow Orchards, they will ask for your last name and the time slot that you booked. We arrived about 30 minutes early because it was already starting to get hot outside. They allowed us to start picking early without any issues which was nice. They provided me with an adult-sized bucket and my daughter with a sparkly child-sized bucket. The buckets were lined with clear plastic bags, which made it easy to bag up the blueberries and weigh them at the end of picking.

What Shoes to Wear for U-Pick Blueberries

While of course we all want to look cute and summery while wanderlust wandering through orchards, you still have to consider that you are walking through a working farm. I always make my kids wear close-toed shoes when we go fruit picking, because sandals are not the best choice. If your toes are exposed, you will end up with dirt and twigs in between your toes. You are also walking on uneven terrain, which means shoes with heels could lead to tripping and falling. Just some words of advice.

Does the Orchard Run Out of Blueberries?

Sometimes the farms do run out of fruit for u-pick. I often recommend that people book the first weekend of u-pick available, just in case the orchards get over-picked. I have seen in the past that some farms have to abruptly end the u-pick season early because the supply ran out. To be on the safe side, I recommend booking the first available date if it works with your schedule.

Are the Blueberries Organic?

I don’t see anywhere on the Rainbow Orchards website saying that their produce is organic. So I would assume it is not.

Be Prepared for High Heat Temperatures

If you are not familiar with the summer weather in this area of Northern California, well then let me be the first to warn you. Today is June 22 and I went to the Apple Hill farm Rainbow Orchards in Camino this morning. By 10am today the weather had already reached the high 90s, and it is currently 103 degrees outside. This means that you are standing on top of a mountain, at high elevation, picking fruit in the very hot sun.

In these extreme heat conditions, you need to come prepared with sun protection such as hats and sunscreen. Also make sure to pack cold water to stay hydrated.

Is There Shade at U-Pick for Blueberries at Rainbow Orchards?

While you are out picking in the orchards, there’s no shade at all and you’re very exposed to the sun. On the outer sides of the orchard, they have picnic tables with shade tents set up for visitors. They are limited in numbers and are on a first-come first-served basis.

Nearby Places to Explore in Apple Hill

I had promised my daughter that we would get some blueberry sweets during our visit to Apple Hill after we finished picking in the orchards. Right down the road from the Rainbow Orchard blueberry farm is Hidden Star Cider Mill and Bakery, and they are open during the weekends in June for the Lavender Blue Harvest Days.

There are multiple wineries that are open for the Lavender Blue Festival weekends in June, including Fenton Herriott Winery and Lava Cap Winery.

The Harris Family Farm also offers blueberry and flower picking during the last two weekends of June for the Lavender Blue Days. In July and August they will be opening up u-pick for berries. I am keeping a watch on their social media and newsletter for the dates and tickets info!

Boa Vista is also always open year round in Apple Hill, and they usually have seasonal treats available.

There’s a series of summer music concerts that happen all over the farms in Apple Hill. If you enjoy live music, wine flowing and artisanal food from local food trucks, keep an eye on the Apple Hill events calendar.

Interested in Strawberry U-Pick in the Sacramento Area?

See our guide to strawberry picking at Granny May’s in Granite Bay!

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