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8 of the best pick your own fruit farms in and around Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 16:33 04 September 2017 | UPDATED: 11:01 06 September 2017

Pick your own fruit at these Herts farms (photo: Farsai C., Unsplash)

Pick your own fruit at these Herts farms (photo: Farsai C., Unsplash)

Archant

From strawberries and raspberries to gooseberries and blackcurrants, there is an abundance of fruit available for picking in Hertfordshire. We have selected eight ‘PYO’ places to spend an afternoon in the county

1. Hawkswick Lodge Farm, Harpenden Rd, St Albans

There’s a cornucopia of soft fruits at Hawkswick Lodge that’s ripe for picking during the summer months. This family-run farm between St Albans and Harpenden prides itself on its personable service and the variety, quality and freshness of the fruit. There are six varieties of strawberry on offer including the award-winning Vibrant. The farm also grows raspberries, blackberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants and gooseberries. Think of all the jams and puddings you could make with that lot. Pay a deposit, take a punnet and collect as much fruit as you like and pay at the end based on weight.

Picking season: June-August

2. Graveley Fruit Farm, nr Stevenage

This arable farm has been in the same family for four generations. The family began growing fruit in 1981 and the business has evolved to include a café, children’s adventure play area with a zip-wire and haystacks, tractor and trailer rides, and not forgetting, pet pigs – so it makes for a great school summer holiday afternoon out. There’s also a twice weekly car boot sale and a caravan site. If you’re lucky, you may see a Virgin hot air balloon being readied for take-off - the farm is used as a launch point.

Expect ripe strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants. The fruit is grown on a table top system, which at waist height makes it easy to pick. Polytunnels enable fruit to be picked whatever the weather. The farm offers pick-your-own or fruit can be purchased ready picked in the café. Picking season: early June-late July

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3. Cammas Hall Fruit Farm, Needham Green nr Sawbridgeworth

Just over the east Herts border into Essex, Cammas Hall Fruit Farm is packed with various fruit and vegetables to pick. Strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries and much more are available throughout the summer and seasonally there are pumpkins, sweetcorn and onions. You can also pick up a bunch of homegrown sunflowers which the family-run farm sells ready-picked.

What else is there to do? Relax in the tea barn, browse the farm shop or lose yourself (and the kids) in the ‘maize maze’ which is open from August to October. One review commented ‘It’s worth the journey just for the cakes alone’. Picking season: June-December

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4. Bullscroft Farm, Chorleywood

The charming Bullscroft Farm has more than 100 acres of agricultural crops including barley, wheat and rape, and importantly for our purposes here, great berry picking patches too. You can buy pre-picked or better still spend an afternoon with family and friends out in the fields. The farm grows strawberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, gooseberries and blackberries as well as rarer Scottish raspberries and worsterberries. Enjoy scenic surroundings as you load up the punnets.

Picking season: June-September

5. Pearce’s Farm Shop, Hamels Mead, Buntingford

The Pearce family began growing strawberries in the 1970s and then expanded to include raspberries on its pick-your own patch at the farm located off the A10 between Buntingford and Puckeridge. The Tulameen raspberry is a big hit here while Pearce’s specialise in asparagus (in season during May and June) – sought after for its excellent flavour and available to buy in the shop. During October the farm sells a wide range of pumpkins perfect for Halloween as well as ornamental gourdes that make unusual spooky decorations.

Head to the fabulous café – it won the 2016 Hertfordshire Life Food and Drink Awards Independent Café/Tearoom of the Year – for afternoon tea with scones covered in clotted cream and topped with homemade jam. Expect to spend some time in the shop, it has plenty to browse through including freshly baked bread, local preserves, fish and meat, fresh fruit and vegetables, and a deli with charcuterie, olives and cheeses. Picking season: June-August

6. Bury Lane, Melbourn, Royston

This one-time small fruit and vegetable stall has matured into a rural shopping experience. Bury Lane, just north of Royston in Cambs, is now home to hands-on fruit picking from its rows of strawberry plants, a butchers, deli, fishmongers, gift shop, garden centre and children’s purpose-built fun barn. Feeling peckish? Make a pit stop at the Bury Lane Café, serving daily specials made with seasonal produce.

Picking season: June-September

Just over the border:

7. Grove Farm, Great Gap, Ivinghoe, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire

Spanning more than 80 acres, Grove Farm, in Bedfordshire near the west Herts border, has over 30 different fruit and vegetables available for picking, including redcurrants, gooseberries, raspberries, potatoes, onions, beetroot, kale and spinach. Baskets, wheelbarrows and forks are all available to help you gather your produce.

There are plenty of open areas and picnic tables too, to enjoy games, light refreshments and the fresh air. Picking season: mid June-mid October

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8. Parkside Farm, Hadley Road, Enfield

This award-winning pick your own farm provides fresh produce for at least five months of the year. The wide variety of fruit and vegetables are grown exclusively as pick your own. Find berries, including blackberries and redcurrants, squashes, broad beans, marrows and tomatoes all growing in rolling countryside. Try the farm’s supersweet sweetcorn available from August to October and visit the farm shop for local honey, ice creams and cold drinks to recuperate after ‘toiling’ in the fields.

Picking season: June-early October

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Bonus:

9. Hitchin Lavender

Although they’re not edible, at Hitchin Lavender, you can pick wildflowers, sunflowers and, of course, lavender which is in abundance from mid-June until August. In fact, there’s 25 miles of rows to wander through while admiring the surrounding vistas.

What else is there? The onsite shop sells products produced with Hitchin Lavender’s own plants. Expect everything from lip balm and hand lotion to lavender-filled embroidered cushions, lavender scented candles or gift sets to grab for a last minute present.

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