Picking your own fruit and veg is a great way to be sure your produce is grown locally and is enormous fun for both adults and children. Kids get to enjoy the fresh air and learn about how produce is grown and prepared if you let them join in on some cooking and jam making with what they’ve picked. It’s also a sneaky way to get children to enjoy eating fruit and veg!
There are ‘pick your own’ farms all over Britain. Once you’ve found one close to you, make sure you call before visiting to make sure the fruit you want to pick is in season at the time – better still, some ‘pick your own’ farms have a mailing list you can sign up to so that they will email you and let you know when their produce is at its best. Below is a rough guide to which fruits are in season when:
Fruit picking times in the UK:
March and April
Rhubarb and cherries
June and July
June and July
July and August
Raspberries, figs, tomatoes, green beans, blueberries and blackberries
July – September
July – October
Apples, grapes and pears
August – October
Helpful tips for fruit picking times
If you’re arranging a day out fruit picking for your family, make sure you go prepared. Like any day trip, you’ll need snacks and drinks, but you’ll also find a healthy supply of wet wipes and some small towels very useful.
Many farms will provide container for you to put your pickings into but may charge a fee, so take your own containers. Smaller pots are easier for children to carry.
Don’t forget to apply plenty of sunscreen and wear a protective hat, even if the sky looks overcast, as you’ll be outside and vulnerable to sun exposure. At the same time, pack some fold up raincoats in case you’re caught in a sudden downpour.
Before you start picking, explain to the children how to identify which fruits are ripe and ready for picking, and that not every fruit they pick should be eaten on the spot! ‘Pick your own’ farms have rules and regulations to be followed and children should be made aware of these and how to respect the produce, such as sticking to the paths for walking rather than trampling on plants.