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Fruit-picking in Brentwood, Calif.

Farms in Brentwood, in eastern Contra Costa County, allow you to come in and pick fresh produce.

picking cherries in Brentwood, Calif.
Photo caption
Cherry-picking climbs to new heights in Brentwood.

April to September is the time to visit Brentwood, Calif. Arrive early and in sensible shoes. This town on the eastern edge of Contra Costa County is bursting with produce, much of which you can pick yourself. Grab a bucket and stroll through fields of green beans, squash, corn, and tomatoes.

Or head to the orchards and pluck exquisite apricots, peaches, plums, cherries, and nectarines. The less hardy can shop at roadside farm stands piled with produce. At Brentwood Olive Oil Company, you can taste farmer David Navarrette's oils or buy wines pressed from local grapes.

Need a jolt of energy before or after hitting the fields? You'll find a drive-through espresso stand in the parking lot of the Farmer's Daughter. For a hefty bite before heading home, try La Costa, the locals' favorite Mexican eatery. The more upscale Grazie serves pastas, salads, and light entrées.

Brentwood's contribution to Northern California's food scene extends beyond the city limits. You'll find crops from Frog Hollow (which has a shop in San Francisco's renovated Ferry Building), Knoll Farms, and Smith Family Farm at fine Bay Area restaurants. Get a map with a list of farmers and find out what's in season at www.harvest4you.com.

Photography by Mitch Tobias

This article was first published in May 2004. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.