Friday, 29 July 2011

Pick your own? More like spot the raspberry!

The first week of the summer holidays have gone well, thanks to the (mainly) dry weather. This has meant I've been trying to think of things to do that means we get outside, to make the most of the weather before it (inevitably) turns rubbish again.

On Wednesday, I came up with the idea of going to a Pick Your Own - our fruit yield has not been good this year, thanks to the birds discovering the blackcurrants and the intermittent torrential rain getting to the raspberries. So, picking some fruit to take home sounded like a nice way to pass an afternoon. There are no PYOs in the local area so it meant a half hour car journey. I looked at the farm's website to see what was still available to see they were on their last few strawberries, but that raspberries were still available. It certainly looked like it was worth the trip as it also had a farm shop and a cafe.



Photo credit - ansko
We got there and it looked reasonably busy but not packed out. After a mooch around the shop, we grabbed baskets and punnets and head off to the field. The children shot off and headed off down towards what they thought were fruit bushes, but when we caught up, I noticed it was cordoned off with "Don't touch" signs. We can't see any more fruit bushes, so we walked around the path and around a corner is - a maize maze. A very small maize maze - meaning it would have come up to the children's waists. They thought they were fruit bushes so  I had to herd them away. No sign of actual fruit bushes. We walked a bit further round to another field. Peas! I looked around and realised we were going back in a circle. Walked along a bit more and came across broad beans, and ah! Fruit bushes.

Hmm, that turned out to be a disappointment. 3 rows - one of raspberries, one of blackberries and one of blackcurrants. The blackberries were definitely finished, and there were no raspberries. This can't be all of their fruit bushes, they have a great long list of what they have to pick. We were confused and a little perturbed to say the least.The children were getting restless. They'd come for berries, they wanted berries.

The only path took us through a greenhouse and then we were back where we started by which time, we've spent 15 mins and not got a thing. Then I noticed a small path going the other way so I started to walk around the corner and lo and behold, there are all the fruit bushes. The kids noticed the strawberries so run off and start to look for strawberries. I spied where the raspberries are and walked up there.

I walk and I scour the bushes. And I walk, and I walk. Not a lot of picking happened. The bushes were in a variety of states

- the ripe berries have been picked,
- the berries were overripe and have been washed away or shrivelled in the sun,
- the berries were underripe and would be good for picking in a few days,
- a combination of all of the above.

I walked all the way up one row and found - precisely nothing. Monkey then came over to me with a basket containing their haul - a rather small strawberry. We kept looking .... and looking ... and looking. Still nothing. Then I noticed there was a whole extra field of raspberry bushes, and thinking there must be something there, I walked over with Monkey. We scoured the bushes up and down 4 or 5 rows. Our haul? 3 whole raspberries.

At which point, we ate the berries, and went to Ikea.

The most berries we came into contact that afternoon were in the lingonberry sauce with the meatballs in the Ikea. Pick your own indeed!
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