Venture beyond Los Angeles’ cement-paved Christmas tree lots, and find yourself harvesting a new holiday tradition at these Southern California farms.
Murray Family Farms, Bakersfield
For Murray Family Farms ’tis the season for fruits, friends and fun. Pick your own oranges from the farm’s groves or stock up on persimmons, mandarins, kumquats, and fresh ingredients for your holiday desserts at the market stand. Also worth the journey are photo opportunities with giant Santa pumpkin sculptures and selfies with the big man himself. While the marshmallows roasting in a bonfire will sweeten your visit, the farm’s festivities also include wagon rides, a petting zoo, and a Christmas tree lot. The farm is open from 8am to 6pm every day in December except Christmas Day. Weekend admission is $10.99 and $4.99 for children 1-3. Weekday admission is $7.99 and free for children 1-3.
Tanaka Farms, Irvine
While Santa and his reindeer are busy being everywhere else, guests at Tanaka Farms are just as excited to meet the main attraction of their Christmas festivities, headlined by Sanrio’s Hello Kitty and her cartoon friends. Earlier this year, Tanaka partnered with Sanrio to supply the farm with mascots and merchandise, which first debuted at their pumpkin patch celebration in October. The characters are back to pose for photos among Christmas trees and other decorations. Festivities include wagon rides, a petting zoo, a Christmas tree lot, and a holiday market stand where guests can buy holiday themed t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats specially made for this venture. The Sanrio farm tour is $18 and registration is required. Remaining dates are Dec. 10 and Dec. 16-17.
Underwood’s Christmas festival may not have elves, but they have lots of cute animals. Vistors can have close encounters with pot-bellied pigs, ponies, cows, goats, alpacas, sheep, horses, and many more furry creatures. Dash through the fields on an open wagon pulled by a tractor. The Farm Market gives guests an opportunity to buy field-fresh produce, jarred products, snacks, and beverages. The Christmas trees on sale are from Ventura, or you can pick up other freshly made fragrant ornaments such as wreaths and mistletoe. Admission to the Farm Center is $6 and free for children under 2. Remaining dates are Dec. 10 and Dec. 16-17.
Riley’s Farm, Oak Glen
Wassail through the historic apple orchards of Riley’s Farm in Oak Glen. This family farm seeks to transport guests to the 18th Century where Christmas was a time for dancing, singing carols, and sipping ale and cider from pewter tankards. The weekend festivities are hosted by performers dressed in colonial attire who will greet you with a bow or curtsy. Daytime visitors can try tomahawk throwing, archery, and hand dipping candles. Nighttime visitors will be treated to a candlelight dinner and a performance of the Christmas Carol by Riley’s Farm Theatre Company. Daytime activities are free, while the evening dinner and theater is $53 Thursdays and Fridays ($48 for kids 3-12), and $55 Saturday and Sunday ($50 for kids 3-12). Remaining dates are Dec. 14-16 and Dec. 21-23.