Photographer Frances Freyberg visits Skyline Chestnuts

by Linda Hubbard on November 7, 2022

This past weekend InMenlo contributing photographer Frances Freyberg hiked on Chestnut Trail in Long Ridge Open Space Preserve with the goal of gathering chestnuts at Skyline Chestnuts.

Skyline Chestnuts is a “you-pick” orchard with 120 chestnut trees on 20 acres. They provide buckets and leather gloves and then you roam amongst the trees, gathering as many chestnuts as you like. You only pay for the ones you want to keep.

It opens for the season in mid-October and stays open until about Thanksgiving — if there are still chestnuts coming down. Check for updates on the orchard’s  Facebook page before driving there. Reservations are required for arrival before Noon.

The best time to gather chestnuts is in the mornings which is when they are abundant on the ground. The orchard is often “picked over” by late afternoon, especially on Sundays.

The orchard is over 100 years old, and the Johsen family manages it for the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. The family has been farming in the Santa Cruz Mountains for three generations, starting in the early 1940s with a cut-your-own Christmas tree farm (a concept that the family developed). In addition to Skyline Chestnuts and Christmas trees, the family also keep honeybees and sell the honey (available at the Orchard).

Photos by Frances Freyberg (c) 2022

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