Helloooo strawberry season!
It’s a sure sign that summertime is here when strawberries hang heavily from their runners.
Last year more than 137,000 tonnes of strawberries were sold in the UK, with shoppers spending upwards of £1.3 million on the classically British berry.
And the cold start to the year (remember that snow?!) mixed with the recent warm days and cooler nights, has led to a slightly later start to the strawberry season. The resulting slower strawberry ripening means this year’s British strawberries look set to be packed with more flavour than usual. (Sonny Jim certainly seems to be enjoying the dozens he picks daily from our garden’s strawberry patch!)
And Essex has more than a couple of spots where you can pick handfuls of strawberries yourself. Here are some of the best…
1 McLauchlans of Boxted Fruit Farm, Colchester
The farm is open 9am – 6pm, seven days a week, and pickers can get their hands on not just strawberries, but raspberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants and gooseberries too.
All containers for holding fruit are supplied by the farm staff and there is a lovely farm shop to browse through afterwards. Debit and credit cards are accepted when spending over £5.
www.boxtedberries.com, 01206 272275
Lathcoats is a third-generation family farm known for growing over 40 different types of apple. The pick your own farm is open week days from 9 until 6 and pickers find raspberries, blackcurrants and some early plums – as well as strawberries. Lathcoats also boasts an award winning farm shop and visitors can pick up a fresh coffee and homemade cake from Bee Shed Coffee House.
www.eapples.co.uk, 01245 353021
3 Wash Farm, Halstead
Wash farm is a small family farm, not interested in supplying supermarkets but instead everything is sold directly to the public and the farm offers a back-to-nature experience for all. Strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrants are ready for picking now… and cherries will be soon.
www.washfarm.co.uk, 01787 461208
4 Spencer’s Farm Shop, Halstead
This family run business has been offering pick your own since they first opened in 1973, so they it’s no surprise they are one of the county’s best.
Today, pickers can get their hands on fresh strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants, blackberries, loganberries, plums, cherries, and tayberries. They are We are particularly proud of their “Table Top Strawberries” grown at waist height for ease of picking.
www.spencersfarmshop.com, 01787 267 977
5 Cammas Hall Fruit Farm, Hatfield Broad Oak
A family owned and run business on the Hertfordshire/Essex border, as well as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, and gooseberries all there for the picking, there’s also an outdoor play area with sandpits, swings, slide and a tyre mountain for youngsters. There’s also a separate area for under fives, an on-site Tea Barn and a farm shop selling a wide range of local produce such meats, cheeses and chutneys.
www.cammashall.co.uk, 01279 718 777