STRAWBERRY PICKING - DAYS OUT WITH KIDS


If you've been around for a moment, you'll know that strawberry picking was on my summer bucket list for the year. Nothing pleases me more than ticking something off pretty promptly, so we decided to do that by heading to a local pick your own farm in the East Midlands. Our farm of choice was the School Farm near Retford, after visiting last year on our second pumpkin picking mission, we noticed that they were opening for the strawberry season and we couldn't resist. I wasn't sure how much they'd have and if there would be any that were truly pick-able, but thankfully the ripe strawberries were plentiful and we managed to fill our baskets up with ease.


First things first, if you're attempting a pick your own with small children then bring wipes, I made the foolish error and the interiors of the car seats needed a good hot wash to rid it of sticky finger prints. However it does mean that the strawbs were just too delicious to hold back on, with both boys demanding a fistful for the short journey home.



The farm we visited was great - you enter the little shop and grab your baskets where the lovely assistant points you in the direction of the picking fields. They were easy to find and barely a minute or two into the farm, everything was labelled nicely so we didn't find ourselves wandering for acres. I noticed they had their signs up to show us that pumpkin picking would be a-go-go again this year, which I have to admit I can't wait for, autumn is truly one of my favourite seasons. When we entered the field we were pleasantly surprised by just how many rows to pick from there were. I couldn't possibly begin to count but there were little red dots for as far as the eye could see, it was fantastic as it meant we could find a good spot and let the boys roam a little more independently as we knew they wouldn't be in other peoples way or vice versa. It also meant that we could take it at our own pace, nobody was behind us following our moves up the row, which we found a little off putting during a visit to another farm last year - it meant we rushed and didn't get to enjoy the experience for what it was.




We learned quickly that the ripest strawberries were usually right in the centre of the plants, and that any you found on the floor were usually discarded for one reason or another from other pickers. Noah became good, fast. He knew what to look for and I was happy letting him do his own thing with his basket, I trusted his judgement and bar a couple he managed to select a shed loads that looked incredibly tasty. A big difference for me in this farm was that the plants were really easy to pick from, last year (a different farm) we found the leaves surrounding the strawberries had thorns or prickles on which meant whenever you went in for the fruit it was a lucky dip as to whether you'd get a little nip too. Obviously that put Noah off quite quickly but this time we didn't experience any such thing, I'm not sure if it's down to the farms themselves or it's something completely different - I'm no expert in agriculture I'm sure you'll be able to tell.




We spent over an hour at the farm, fine tuning our punnet to make sure we had the best selection. In truth we could have spent absolutely hours there as every time we were ready to head away we found another selection that we just had to add to our basket. We'd initially given each of the boys their own basket to collect in, but quite quickly we realised Patricks favourite task was swinging it around so all the strawberries fell out - obviously we were all missing a trick and that was the real fun in pick your own, right? We decided to leave him to it so collecting discards ones and then rallying them out of his basket was how he spent the majority of the time. At the end we filled a huge basket full and was incredibly surprised to find it only cost a grand total of £5. That's probably the cheapest afternoon out we've had and we ended up with a delicious punnet or five of fresh strawbs.


Top tips for P.Y.O with kids.

1. Baby wipes are essential, it doesn't matter if your little ones aren't going to be scoffing strawbs on the way home, they're likely to come across one or two mushy strawberries during the picking and it's handy to have them ready to go so it doesn't hinder the rest of your time at the patch.

2. Find your own space, especially if you're snap happy like me. We ventured to the back of the field we visited as we found not only did it allow you to pick at your own pace, but it seemed nobody had really headed up that far and we found so many juicy strawberries that I don't think we'd have found in the first few rows.

3. If you have siblings get more than one basket. It doesn't mean you have to fill them all, you can combine them like we did at the end but it saves squabbles over who is holding it and it makes them all feel independent.

4. Filter the strawberries. John was chief strawb inspector and took his job very seriously, it just meant we knew that every one that we paid for, we would happily eat. I didn't want to get home and realise we'd grabbed some that weren't quite ready to pick or have one bad fruit in the bunch that would send them all off.

5. Wear sensible shoes. We saw a few people in flip flops which luckily was fine given the good weather we've had recently, but remember that you might have to venture through a few fields before you reach the patch and you have no idea what condition they will be in. We kitted the boys up with wellies and were thankful as even if it rained, we could have carried on our day.


8 comments

  1. This looks lovely. I used to love going when I was a kid- one for the basket, one for me!
    We've wanted to go for years but always leave it too late but our nearest field has just opened this week for strawberry picking so we're definitely going!

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  2. Ahh yay for strawberry picking season! We are going tomorrow if the weather improves, I can't wait!

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  3. We love to go to strawberry picking, I need to plan our trip for this year!

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  4. I haven't been strawberry picking since childhood, I really should take my kids. I agree about good footwear. Straw is scratchy!

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  5. Ah this sounds like such fun, we will have to give this a go, but I will definitely have to remember the baby wipes!

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  6. Looks and sounds like so much fun! Baby Wipes at the ready!!!!! I'll have to look and see if we have a Strawberry field near us as Amelia loves strawberries! xx

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  7. I love strawberry picking. You have some fab tips here. And you’ve reminded me to take my kids fruit picking x

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  8. I have never been strawberry picking but would love to go! Maybe we will visit in the summer hols x

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