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Fruit picking
Photograph: Parkside Farm

London’s best pick-your-own fruit and vegetable farms

Whether you’re after summer-ripe berries or autumnal apples, you can take your pick at these farms in and around London

By Alexandra Sims and Katie McCabe
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Sick of supermarket plastic? Go straight to the root with a day of fruit and vegetable picking on these farms in and around London. For obvious lockdown reasons, the pick-your-own season has had a slow start, but many farms have now reopened to visitors, with some restrictions in place to allow for social distancing. 

Whether you want to pluck summer-ripe berries, leafy greens and root veg or gather autumnal apples, pumpkins and squashes, these farms all have acres of PYO fields to keep you busy. Not only does a sunny day of fruit picking make a glorious, cobweb-blasting day trip from London, it's also a brilliant way to bump up your green credentials by picking up groceries without all the shrinkwrap and it’ll keep the kids entertained (few a for hours anyway). 

REMEMBER: Farms may close when overcrowded in order to adhere to social-distancing rules, so make sure you call ahead when planning your visit. Toilets may not be operational. Check the farm’s website beforehand to find out what produce is available, as crop seasons change from year to year. And no eating while you pick, keep all your juicy finds in their punnets for weighing up.

RECOMMENDED: Outdoor London

Pick-your-own farms

Pick your own strawberries
Photograph: Parkside Farm

Parkside Farm

Things to do Borough of Enfield

One for the car-less Londoner (isn’t that 99 percent of us?!), this Enfield farm is in easy-ish reach of the city. Walk for 25 minutes when you get to Gordon Hill station and you’ll find this bit of green belt growing 20 different crops across its 50 acres. Strawberries are grown using a ‘table top’ system, so you don’t have to bend ’n’ pick like a sucker. Crops can be changeable, so always call ahead. Minimum spend is £4, and remember – no berry poppin’ in the fields.

Check crop availability ahead of your visit on 020 8367 2035 or www.parksidefarmpyo.co.uk. You’ll find regular updates on Facebook

Photograph: SharonLChapmannn/ Flickr

Hewitts Farm

Things to do Borough of Bromley

Whatever your produce preference, this 78-acre family-run farm probably grows it. Over the summer months, you can pick everything from strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrants to spinach, chard and beetroot. Right now there’s a glut of plums, runner beans, marrows and courgettes to pluck. Or, hold out until the beginning of autumn when the apples ripen and free tractor rides begin on Sundays.

Opening days and times are restricted right now, so check the Facebook page for regular updates.  

Check crop availability ahead of your visit on 01959 534666 or www.hewittsfarm.co.uk.

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Photograph: Crockford Bridge Farm

Crockford Bridge Farm

Things to do Surrey

Get your mitts on Crockford’s strawberries and blackberries, all ripe and juicy for July. When you’re done, visit the on-site gelateria for ices made with own-grown fruits. The farm – set in 80 acres in West Surrey – is one of the oldest continually cultivated spots in the county and is mentioned in the ‘Doomsday Book’. Again, you’ll need to call ahead to find out what’s ripe.

Check opening days and crop availability on Facebook, call 01932 846611 or check www.crockfordbridgefarm.co.uk

Photograph: Dwight Sipler/ Flickr

Stanhill Farm

Things to do Kent

Note: After a busy week post reopening, Stanhill Farm is running low on berries and closed its PYO area from July 3-6. Check Instagram for updates

Run by brothers Toby and Max Williams, this 150-acre farm grows 20 to 30 varieties of fruit and vegetables. As the strawberry season comes to an end, you’ll find crops of courgettes, runner beans and carrots ready to harvest, while tomatoes, sweetcorn, beetroot and runner beans will be ripening soon. When your fingers are tired, take a turn around the farm’s huge maze, which has snaking paths carved into its maize fields.

Check crop availability ahead of your visit on 01322 669711 or www.stanhillfarm.co.uk

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Photograph: Garsons Farm

Garsons Farm

Attractions Farms Surrey

Note: A PYO Farm Pass is required to enter the farm and must be booked in advance

The Thompson family have been running this Surrey farm as a pick-your-own for nearly 35 years. It’s a bigger operation than most, with its own restaurant, farm shop and garden centre, so you don’t have to do too much planning (though it’s a much easier day out if you have a car). Garsons also grows its strawberries table-top, and if you’re lucky, you’ll have your pick of raspberries too. It’s £4 entry, which will be taken off your ‘pay-and-weigh’ bill at the end. There are 155 acres to cover, so come with a plan of attack.

Check crop availability ahead of your visit on 01372 464389 or www.garsons.co.uk

Raspberries
Photograph: kkmarais/Flickr

Home Cottage Farm

Things to do Buckinghamshire

Note: Home Cottage Farm is currently closed but is aiming to reopen at the end of July

Noisy broods of chickens will greet your arrival at this wholesome soft fruit farm in Buckinghamshire (there’s the odd sheep too, but they mostly keep to themselves). There are raspberries and blackberries aplenty and, towards the end of August, you can go and relieve the gnarly old apple and plum trees of their fruit. Everything sold the farm shop is grown on site, even the honey (thanks to the resident bee colony).

Check crop availability ahead of your visit on 01753 653064 or www.homecottagefarm.co.uk

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Photograph: Hawkswick Lodge Farm

Hawkswick Lodge Farm

Things to do Hertfordshire

Note: Hawkswick is very popular, the first weekend of July saw a record number of visitors, so expect queues!

Better move quick if you want to pick your yield at this Hertfordshire farmland – its strawberries, blackcurrants and raspberries are already getting snapped up by crowds of quick-fingered visitors. If all goes well, you can pay the £3 minimum to pack your punnet with as many of those end-of-the season strawbs as you can. There might just be a few redcurrants growing too, ready to fulfil their Christmas jelly destiny.

Check crop availability ahead of your visit on 01727 831224 or www.hawkswickfruit.co.uk 

Or... try some wild foraging

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