The absence of warmer nights delayed the blueberry festival this weekend, but Murray Family Farms still has plenty of fun to dish out during its BerryFest season.
Instead of a blueberry festival, Murray Family Farms put on a strawberry festival, during which dozens of families picked the 200-seeded red berry this Sunday.
Denae Brown, a tour guide at Murray Family Farms, said blueberries need warm temperatures at night to plumpen with sugar. Otherwise, the berries remain tart.
Many families went solo with their U-Pick baskets and picked at their leisure, but some climbed aboard a tractor-pulled truck that tours the entirety of the farm, with narration by Brown.
"Who wants to pick some citrus?" Brown said, while the tractor revved up.
"I don't even know what that is!" A child on the truck exclaimed.
Yes, citrus. In addition to the various ripe strawberry patches, citrus fruits including pomelos and tangerines were also available for visitors to plop in their U Pick baskets.
An educational ride on the weekend might not seem alluring to children, but for David Brambila, 9, it was more appealing than picking fruit.
"I didn't have that much fun picking them," Brambila said about the strawberries. "It took a long time."
Carly Parker, who came up with her family from Fraizer Park, said her son was also happy just to be riding on the truck.
"She was happy just eating the fruit," Parker said of her toddler daughter.
Picking berries isn't a kid-only pastime. Adults were even encouraged to jump on the trampolines and slide down in potato sacks on fair-style slides.
Parker said her trick to picking the best strawberries is reaching right into the middle of the bush.
Despite not being able to pick blueberries, the Parkers were not disappointed.
"We were tired of being cooped up in the house and the weather has been nice lately," Parker said.
Only about 16 miles from downtown Bakersfield, Murray Family Farms, 6700 General Beale Road is comprised of 43 acres and has been in operation since 2002. Murray Family Farms is an organic farm and doesn't use pesticides, but instead uses natural products to ward of pests such as the pheromones of a cotton moth.
Bakersfield resident Catarina Stout was surprised with how much the strawberry festival had to offer.
"A lot of people don't realize what the valley has to offer," the former Los Angeles resident said.
Murray Family Farms' Berry Fest runs now through May 13 on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. With admission, visitors have full access to the farms and are served complimentary berry pancakes. And the cherry festival will be May 5 and 6 this year. Cherries are the farm's cash crop, or the No.1 seller, according to Brown. U Pick baskets are not included in admission, small baskets are $3 and larger pint sized baskets are $8.