“Delectable and Ripe”: Readers’ Favorite U-Pick Farms | Food and drink


Winning Tip: Tray heaven, near Edinburgh

On a bike tour in Scotland last year, the seductive aroma of fragrant fields filled with strawberries, drifting down a hill, made me stop pedaling and follow my nose. It was an excellent decision. The well-signposted Craigie’s Farm in South Queensferry near Edinburgh beckoned me to a range of fruit as food for my bike. I stocked up on raspberries and cherries and also took some veggies for camp later. There’s also a lovely farm shop and small cafe where I sat sipping tea, contemplating which of my choices to eat first – almost reluctant to get back in the saddle.
Nigel Williams

Greenhouse Shot, West Sussex

Oh, at Spring Gardens Nursery in Pulborough, West Sussex, you have to go! Close to the South Downs, this gem of a place is small enough to enjoy with young children, but big enough to offer a fantastic checklist of seasonal fruits, vegetables and flowers to pick (free admission, pay what you pick). The farm shop and cafe sell and serve delicious food and drink, and the newly opened, fairy-lit Gooseberry House hosts sold-out supper clubs featuring still and sparkling Sussex wines. It’s one of my favorite places to go.
Lucy McLaughlin

Veg out, North Yorkshire

pea plants
Photograph: Thomas Smith/Alamy

The Balloon Tree Farm in Gate Helmsley, east of York, is the best place I know for PYO. It has a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, acres of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, currants, currants, gooseberries and peas. The highlight of fall is pumpkin picking, complete with wheelbarrows and scarecrows. The farm grows many other products which can be purchased from the farm shop and has a fabulous cafe serving homemade food and cakes to entice you further.
Nicholas Booth

Sunflowers for Ukraine, Wiltshire

Avebury Sunflower Field Farm

Amidst the beautiful Wiltshire Downs, The Farm at Avebury sells its sunflowers and proceeds are donated to a combination of local schools, nursery schools and the Ukraine Crisis Appeal. The kids loved getting lost among the huge stems and the parents got away with making the most joyful shots for the family album. The next farm charity will pick your own sunflower morning on August 6th.
Alice Hues

Gooseberry Play, Shropshire

Freshly picked currants
Photography: Aliyah

Charming family-run Woore Fruit Farm, at the crossroads of Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire, offers fruit to pick from currants in the spring to strawberries, loganberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and later pumpkins for Halloween. Rest up for a cup of tea at the cafe, which also offers local Snugburys ice cream. The shop sells delicious farm-picked wildflowers as well as eggs from its free-range hens. Perfect for a summer day.
Matthew Hoeksma

Top Harvest, North London

Cob Plantation Parkside
Photography: Zuma Press/Alamy

The Parkside Pick Your Own Farm near Enfield is ideal for harvesting mouth-watering strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. There is also a good range of vegetables: sweet corn, zucchini and green beans. Book online for £4 per person and redeem the price for your picked vegetables and fruit.
Lotifa Begum

Let them eat cake, Northamptonshire

Harpole Farm Barn
Photography: Lauren Dragage

Grange Farm Harpole is a family business with a small cafe selling homemade cakes, ice creams, tea and coffee. It also has a great corn maze and very friendly piggies. The fruits are tasty and juicy and the farm is located in a beautiful location.
Libby Billings

Fancy Dahlia, Surrey

Garsons PYO Dahlias

At Garson’s Farm in Esher, the bountiful and sumptuous strawberries and raspberries are favorites, but you can also pick sweet corn, carrots, zucchini, beets, apples, cherries and plums. There are also pick-your-own flowers – sunflowers and dahlias aplenty. Tickets cost £4 for entry to the farm, which is refunded against the price of your produce. If all that picking wears you out, there’s a lovely cafe to recharge your batteries and a fantastic garden center to peruse.
Emma Burque

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Strawberries Forever, West Devon

Lifton Strawberry Fields
Photography: Matt Austin

Right on the Devon-Cornwall border, just off the A30, you’ll find Strawberry Fields, Lifton. There’s plenty here to entertain families year-round, with pick-your-own strawberries and sunflowers in the summer, pumpkins in the fall, and then Christmas trees. It offers superb afternoon teas, Cornish pasties and an excellent shop and restaurant. You can also challenge the family to the Corn Maze by heading to Cornwall. Luckily for me I live nearby.
Elaine Pluckrose

Weigh-in-take, near Liverpool

Claremont Farm on the Wirral, south of Birkenhead, is a special place, much more than pick-your-own. As well as raspberries, strawberries and pumpkins on Halloween, there’s a funfair and a bouncy castle to entertain the little ones while you weigh your loot. There are also pigs and sheep to encounter. Every year there is a mini-festival with music and food. There’s a lovely cafe with organic produce, a seafood shack and a forestry school teaching bushcraft. On some evenings, film screenings are organised.
Rachel Maher

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