Coronavirus saw us having to skip some of our annual spring traditions this year, but it doesn’t have to see us missing out on the treat of PYO strawberries.
Picking your own fruit might have seemed like yet another event that we wouldn’t be able to do this year. With the relaxation of lockdown rules and social distancing regulations however, that’s not the case.
Pick your own (PYO)
If you’ve never been before, at a PYO farm you have the opportunity to go into the fields or orchards and, as the name suggests, pick your own fruits. There’s often also PYO veg and even sunflowers too.
Armed with your wheelbarrow, basket or punnet, you can find the freshest foods straight out from the source of where they grow.
For kids, it’s a great fun activity. Not only do they get to run around a field, but they have so much fun looking for the biggest, juiciest or funniest shaped produce. For fussy eaters, seeing where their food actually comes from can be the key to getting them to try more too.
It also offers some truly Insta-worthy backdrops that are great for the grid.
The benefits of PYO strawberries
OK, so PYO strawberries can be slightly more expensive than buying ready picked fruit, but there really are loads of benefits that make it worth it. If you pay an entry fee, it’s usually deducted from whatever produce you buy. This isn’t always the case however as the farms need to cover the costs of people who nibble as they go along!
- Kids can see exactly where their food comes from. That means that it’s basically education too.
- You can reduce food miles. No more strawberries transported from the other side of Europe when they are a short drive away.
- They taste better. It’s true that if you pick the right part of the season to go, you can enjoy fruit when it’s at its best.
- You are supporting local business. Farming is hard enough as it it, and farm shops were amongst the unsung heroes of lockdown. Let’s give them something back.
- It gets the kids out of the house. With fields of produce, the kids will enjoy walking (or running) up and down the pathways looking for the best pick.
- You’ll always remember it. PYO is lots of fun for the whole family, and there’s nothing better than picking and preparing the goods together.
Here’s a list of the best PYO farms that we’ve found in and around Warwickshire.
For the purpose of this article, was to feature pick your own strawberries. These places also offer other fruit and veg throughout the year however, so do check what’s in season and when. In particular, look in the run up to Halloween when pumpkins and squashes are everywhere!
Please note that this article is based on PYO with social distancing arrangements in place, summer 2020. It is worth remembering that toilets and cafes may not be open at the moment.
Malt Kiln Farm Pick Your Own
Main Street (B4027), Stretton-under-Fosse, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV23 0PE
Do you have to book? Yes. Entry is by booking only this year. Please don’t turn up without a booking as you won’t be allowed to enter.
How does it work? They have a patch of strawberries outdoors for when the sun is shining, and a patch under polythene if it rains.
Entry will not be through the farm shop as usual, but at the back of the plant area. Unfortunately, the access point is very steep and is unsuitable for wheelchair users and those with mobility issues.
How much does it cost? Entry is £2.50 per person but is deducted from the cost of produce picked. Babies and toddlers up to the age of 2 are free.
Find out more at the Malt Kiln website.
Red Road Warwick
Little Kineton, Warwick, CV35 0DH
Do you have to book? No booking necessary, but they are only open on days when they have enough fruit ripe.
How does it work? Customers need to phone or text 07805 519153 for information on the day.
How much does it cost? It is £1 per person entry fee, which is non-refundable to cover the costs of any fruits eaten before paying.
Find out more at Red Road Facebook page.
Lower Clopton Farm
Lower Clopton, Upper Quinton, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 8LQ
Do you have to book? No, but check beforehand that they are open. Open 10-3 but closed Sundays and Mondays.
How does it work? Only 4 members per household allowed and they will have to stay together. Picking must happen according to the one-way system that has been implemented.
How much does it cost? Entry is £1.50 per person, children under 1 go free. This is non-refundable to cover the staffing costs.
Find out more at Lower Clopton Farm Shop Facebook page.
Grange Farm Copston
Copston Magna, Near Wolvey, Hinckley, Leicestershire, LE10 3HE
Do you have to book? The pick your own is currently open by booking a slot on the website. Open from 10-5 everyday but closed on Mondays.
How does it work? There is a one-way system in place and social distancing, with multiple hand wash stations. The strawberries are undercover so that you can stay dry whatever the weather. There is also a drivethru service for contactless collection of fruit which doesn’t require booking in advance.
How much does it cost? There is no charge for entry.
Find out more at Grange Farm website.
Manor Farm Catthorpe
Manor Farm, Main Street, Catthorpe, Leicestershire, LE17 6DB
Do you have to book? Call 01788 869002 to book. Both outdoor and under cover PYO fields are open 10-4 Monday-Friday.
How does it work? They are allowing each booking 20 minutes of picking per group of up to 5 people. In each slot there will only be your group and a member of staff in the PYO field. Up to 5 people includes children. All payments are to be made by card in the PYO fields (contactless).
How much does it cost? There doesn’t appear to be an entry fee but please check when booking.
Find out more on the Facebook page.