Skyline Chestnuts is a 20-acre orchard sitting at an elevation of about 2,500 feet above Palo Alto in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is a perfect natural location for growing the non-native chestnut trees with sloping terrain to provide ample air circulation for wind pollination, a generous supply of natural underground water and a microclimate that provides significant annual rainfall in the winter and coastal fog in the summer and fall. The trees are a mixture of European, Chinese and American genetics to the best of our understanding.
The chestnuts begin to fall in early October. The season lasts as long as the chestnuts keep dropping, usually 4-5 weeks. Normally, the crop is at its peak and the chestnuts are easiest to gather around the third weekend of October. It's best to arrive early in the day. Many chestnuts fall overnight, so they are abundant on the ground in the morning. By late afternoon, the orchard can get picked over, especially on Sundays.
Skyline Chestnuts is a pick-your-own type of orchard, which means you get to venture off the path and among the trees to gather the chestnuts you want. (It's like a nutty little Easter egg hunt!). We recommend wearing sturdy, closed-toe shoes or hiking boots to protect your feet from the chestnut burrs. We have buckets and leather gloves for you to use while you are here.
We accept cash and credit. We offer a 50 cent discount per pound for cash purchases, so chestnuts paid for with cash are $6.50/lb. and chestnuts paid for with credit are $7.00/lb.