Boysen Berry Farm – Orland, California

One of our family’s favorite activities is visiting farms to pick our own food. Last weekend, we took a day trip to the Boysen farm to harvest some of their heritage boysenberries. According to the website, boysenberries were invented in 1923 by Rudy Boysen, when he crossed blackberries and loganberries. According to Wikipedia, loganberries are “a hybrid of the North American blackberry and the European raspberry.” This segues (I had to look up how to spell that just now) into a math lesson: a boysenberry is 3/4 blackberry and 1/4 raspberry. Now that we know all that, please pass me a purple bucket and let’s go pick some berries!

We visited the farm at the start of the season so we really had to search out the ripe fruit and look for the very darkest purple berries we could find. Boysenberry season is very short, and picking ripe berries is only possible for about a week or so. We needed to do the outing on a weekend so – you get what you get!

we wore gloves to protect our hands from thorns but the berries still stained our fingers reddish purple

Once we’d gathered berries up and down 2 rows we headed to pay for our haul. The friendly and incredibly kind proprietors showed us a bird nest hidden amongst the brambles. We were absolutely delighted to observe a tiny newborn in his bed! It was so thrilling! The eggs were about the size of my thumbnail.

baby bird

After picking berries for about an hour, we’d worked up an appetite and headed to nearby La Corona Mexican Restaurant. We found a pretty mural on one of the outside walls and the shredded beef tamale smothered in fresh mole (pronounced “mo-lay”) sauce was worth blogging about!

La Corona Mexican Restaurant

When we got our crop home we made: pie, sauce*, whole dried berries, and fruit leather*. I wouldn’t recommend the plain whole dried berries, at least not the ones I made. However, the fruit leather was really tasty! And the sauce was absolutely delicious on vanilla ice cream.

*The sauce was as simple as tossing some berries + sugar + a little fresh lemon juice in a sauce pan, bringing it to boil and then simmering until it was the consistency I wanted. Watch it close, and stir it often, because it burns easily.

*The fruit leather was a simple mixture of store bought applesauce and a generous scoop of berry sauce. We spread this mixture evenly in the food dehydrator and waited until it was firm enough to peel off in strips. Then we ate all of it in one day.

Unfortunately, for these ad hoc “recipes“ I didn’t measure anything and just “eyeballed it”. 🙄

Happy summer friends! What summer activities are you most looking forward to? What’s your favorite type of berry? What’s your favorite way to eat it?

8 thoughts on “Boysen Berry Farm – Orland, California

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