Pick Your Own season is upon us, with strawberry, blackberry and raspberry picking beginning in June-July. Pick Your Own is an incredible way to get closer to nature, going into fields and orchards to pick your own fruit and vegetables. There’s often sunflowers and dahlias too, which make for a beautiful photo opportunity.
Children love running through the fruit and vegetable fields, choosing their produce, and putting it in their basket, punnet, or wheelbarrow. It’s such a fun, wholesome family experience and perfect for the school holidays.
Benefits of PYOAs well as being a great source of family fun, picking your own fruit and vegetables has so many benefits for children (and adults) of all ages.
- Children can see exactly where their food comes from, encouraging a healthy lifestyle and teaching them about plant life cycles. Although the main goal for children is always to pick as much fruit and vegetables as possible, they're subconsciously learning the whole time.
- The physical work of picking the crops and being out in the great outdoors is a good, healthy activity for people of all ages.
- You’re helping the environment – by using a local PYO Farm you are reducing food miles, because your produce isn’t being transported from the other side of Europe.
- We all know that fresh fruit and vegetables taste better, especially if you pick during the best part of the season. Somehow produce that you’ve picked yourself always tastes incredible.
- By supporting a PYO Farm you are supporting local business and your community. Farms need our support to stay open, so it’s important to help whenever you can.
- Visiting a Pick Your Own Farm is a brilliant way to get little ones (and big ones) out of the house. With fields of produce, the kids will enjoy walking (or running) up and down the pathways looking for the best fruit and veg for their basket.
- PYO is a memorable experience for the whole family, and there’s nothing more fun than picking and preparing the produce together.
PYO Farms near you
There are so many wonderful PYO Farms up and down the length of the UK. We’ve put together a helpful list with our Top 10 PYO Farms to Visit This Summer. For some more options, the ‘Pick Your Own’ Farm Directory website is perfect for finding one close to home.
We’ve put together a list of the fruit and vegetables that you can find at PYO Farms throughout the Summer. It’s worth checking the website for your local PYO Farm as picking times vary, so this is intended as a guide only.
|June||Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackcurrants, Gooseberries, Blackberries, Rhubarb, Broad Beans, Asparagus, Beetroot, Carrots|
|July||Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackcurrants, Gooseberries, Blackberries, Rhubarb, Broad Beans, Beetroot, Carrots|
|August||Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Rhubarb, Apples, Beetroot, Courgettes, Carrots, Sweetcorn|
|September||Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Rhubarb, Apples, Beetroot, Carrots, Sweetcorn|
What to take with you
Make sure that you check the Weather before you visit a Pick Your Own Farm, and dress yourself and little ones appropriately. Picking fields can become very muddy, so a good pair of wellies is an absolute must-have. Of course, the great British weather can be very unpredictable, so we’d always recommend going equipped with a good quality waterproof jacket, just in case of any sudden downpours. In the height of Summer it can get very hot in the middle of the fields as the ground absorbs heat, so it’s important to take along a good sunhat and plenty of sun cream to protect little ones from the suns rays. As with any day out with children, it’s always worth packing a change of clothes – just in case!
What to do with your fruit when you get home
When you get home, make sure that you wash your produce thoroughly, spread it out and remove any damaged bits before storing. In case you run out of ideas for what to make with all those freshly picked summer berries, we have a delicious recipe below for a strawberry pavlova.
- 4 egg whites
- 250g caster sugar
- 1tsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp cornflower
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 500g strawberries
- 200g raspberries
- 3tbsp icing sugar
- 350ml double cream
- Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas mark 2.
- Using a pencil, mark out the circumference of a dinner plate on baking parchment.
- Whisk 4 egg whites until they form stiff peaks, then whisk in 250g caster sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, until the meringue looks glossy.
- Whisk in 1 tsp white wine vinegar, 1 tsp cornflour and 1 tsp vanilla extract.
- Spread the meringue inside the circle, creating a crater by making the sides a little higher than the middle.
- Bake for 1 hr, then turn off the heat and let the Pavlova cool completely inside the oven.
- When the meringue is cool, chop 100g of the hulled strawberries, and mix them with 100g of the raspberries and 2tbsp icing sugar.
- Place in a food processor, blitz until smooth, then push the fruit mixture through a sieve.
- Whip 350ml double cream with the remaining 1 tbsp icing sugar and spread it over the meringue. Put the remaining 400g hulled and halved strawberries and 100g raspberries on the cream and finally pour the sauce over the whole lot.