For children and adults alike, fruit and vegetable picking can be one of the most satisfying and rewarding of summer pastimes. Whether you’ve got a hankering for some homemade jam, want to get your food miles down to zero, or just feel like getting your hands dirty, you don’t need acres of land and green fingers – simply head to one of the UK’s multitude of pick-your-own farms.
Be sure to ring ahead to check the latest availability/opening times.
Court Farm and Leisure, Herefordshire – 01432 760271
This expansive farm has it all, including a farm shop, two fishing lakes, a children’s play area, and farm animals such as donkeys, goats, pigs, ducks and chicken. Not forgetting the crops, of course – a huge range of fruit and vegetables are available, from apples and asparagus to tayberries and tomatoes.
Are you a Londoner longing to get back to nature this summer? Perhaps gathering your own sweetcorn, French beans, courgettes or marrows for tonight’s dinner would hit the spot. Parkside Farm has 20 kinds of fruit and veg ready for picking, and most of their strawberries are now grown on a ‘table-top’ system, meaning you can pick them without bending down – perfect for preventing an aching back!
Brocksbushes Farm, Northumberland – 01434 633100
Located in the heart of the Tyne Valley, Brocksbushes offers 35 acres worth of soft fruit and 5 acres of vegetables, as well as an award-winning tearoom to relax in afterwards.
Once a dairy farm, this family owned business is set in acres of beautiful countryside overlooking the Wiltshire Downs. As well as picking your fruit, test your navigation skills in Ansty’s Maize Maze, or visit their 300 laying hens, 50 ducks, 30 bantams and nine pigs!
Hendrewennol, Glamorgan – 01446 781670
For the last 30 years this farm has been growing in popularity to become the biggest and most visited fruit business in South Wales. Now run by the next generation of growers, it offers homemade jams, fresh fruit vinegars, local honey, welsh cakes, and luxury local ice cream. After picking your fruit, the kids can jump around in the hay, crawl through the willow domes and explore the new Maize Maze while the adults relax with a cream tea in the lovely welsh countryside.
The Rectory Farm shop in Milton put on a great day out – take a stroll around their Farm Trail and feed the rainbow trout in the reservoir or the carp in the small pond. There are also lambs, Pygmy goats, a Kune Kune pig and donkeys. Compliment your freshly picked strawberries with their meringues from the shop, or opt for something from their selection of fresh local meat, dairy, bread and cakes.
A top-quality farm shop first and a pick-your-own second, Thornes will suit those who wish to come home with more than just the fruits of their labours (no pun intended!) Their 125-acre site supplies the Thornes’ butchers, bakers and deli, and a variety of local ciders are also available. Thornes scores top eco points too, as the farm shop is powered by its own wind turbine and solar panels.
Belhaven Fruit Farm – 01368 860573
20 miles south of Edinburgh sits Belhaven, where the Rennie family have been farming by the coast for generations. They claim to be located in the spot that receives more sunshine hours than anywhere else in the UK, which combined with the fresh sea air, makes their fruit really special. They are particularly proud of their homemade fat-free iced dessert that is available at the farm.