Our kids LOVE fruit! Whether it's strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or blackberries, that natural sugary goodness isn’t often passed up, especially on a warm summer's day. If you’re stuck on ideas of where to take your kids this summer, why not head to your nearest pick-your-own fruit farm? Not only will you be able to stock up on some delicious fruit, but your whole family will have a lot of fun choosing it and picking it too!
We’ve compiled a list of top tips to remember when you’re heading to a pick-your-own farm with the kids.
“I wish I hadn’t planned ahead” is a phrase that you’re unlikely to ever say in your parenting days! Planning is always a good idea. Once you have found a pick-own-farm close to you and chosen a suitable day to head there, it’s worth checking that they will definitely be open and that the fruit you’re after is readily available. Usually a website or Facebook page will tell you this, but picking up the phone will be your most reliable source of information, and there may just be other useful updates that you need to know too. Head to the farm earlier in the day rather than later - this way you will be sure to get the best selection before other eager beavers ravage the rows.
Just like you would for any other day out, make sure you pack your summer adventure essentials! Think plenty of water to stay hydrated, sunscreen and insect repellent for protection against the elements, and plenty of wipes to clean up any mess. Much of the fruit you pick won’t quite make it into the containers and will head straight for tiny mouths instead, but you’ll still want to keep some more substantial snacks available to keep the kids going and to avoid any hungry grumbling.
Bring your own containers
A lot of pick-your-own fruit farms will provide their own baskets and containers for you to collect your fruit into, but these will also often come at an extra charge. To save money and to ensure that your fruit is where you need it to be, take along your own containers. Whether it’s tupperware, glass jars or even in bags - using your own containers means that you can pop your fruit straight into the fridge without the need to make any transfers.
Only pick the ripe fruit
There’s nothing worse than getting home to find the fruit you’ve picked is either too far gone, or can’t be eaten straight away! Keep an eye out for the ripest fruits and pick only those. If you’re unsure, clarify with the farm owners how to distinguish between underripe, ripe and overripe, and also check what the best way to handle each fruit is. When the tops of the bushes have nothing to show, try looking underneath - there could be a whole new world of ripe juicy berries lurking underneath and this is often where the best berries are hiding!
Dress for the occasion
When there’s mess to be made and little hands to get hold of it, it’s hard to be avoided. A field full of juicy berries is no exception. For this reason, make sure you dress yourself and your kids in clothes that you don’t mind getting messy and stained. Think darker colours, unless you’re looking to naturally dye your new white t-shirt, of course! Make sure they’re comfy too - closed-toe shoes will avoid any stray twigs from poking sensitive toes and you’ll be grateful for a sun hat to shield from the rays. And, with the changing British weather, keeping some raincoats at the ready could prove to be a lifesaver if the heavens do decide to open.
Keep your fruits cool
When you’ve completed all your picking and you’re happy with your fruity hoard, make sure you have a cool box to pop them in when you get back to the car. Keeping your fruit at a lower temperature will ensure they stay fresher for longer, so put them straight in the fridge when you get home too. And why not have some tasty recipes prepared to try as well? From smoothies to puddings, the possibilities are endless and your kids will really enjoy their own homemade creations, harvested by hand from bush to bowl!
Follow the rules and have fun!
As with any day out enjoyed in a public place, there will be certain rules and regulations to adhere to at a pick-your-own farm. Make sure you take the time to read any signs with your children so that they understand the importance of respecting where they are and following the rules. Many of these farms don’t just involve fruit picking, but also provide more fun activities for your little ones to take part in. Whether it’s tractor rides, animal feeding, or other arty activities - take the opportunity to get involved with these too.