There’s something very British about fruit picking. Strawberry picking is quintessentially British, even though the fruit originated in Brittany, France, where the first garden strawberry was bred. A typical season lasts for around 20 weeks of the year from the back end of May to the start of October. It’s something lots of families, including ours, make a tradition of year on year.
Once again this summer, we promised our son we could visit our local fruit picking farm, Syston Park Farm. We are lucky to have this gem on our doorstep as it is a lovely traditional fruit farm with a small cafe and delicatessen attached. It’s somewhere we visit all year round, if not for fruit picking then just for a delicious lunch or slice of cake.
In the summer you can pick a variety of fruit from strawberries to tayberries and gooseberries. They even have a big field of sunflowers you can pick some years! At Christmas time we like to choose our perfect tree which they will chop down for you and a wreath for our door which they hand make to sell too.
In addition to the cafe, there is a small play area which makes it more of a day out for the children. They love to play on the wooden tractor.
We discovered we arrived a little late in the strawberry season at Syston which runs from late May into July. A short hike was required to find any strawberries that hadn’t been half eaten by children or pecked by birds!
Wandering up and down rows trying to spot the big red juicy ones was so lovely. We played a little game of who could find the best strawberry to add to our punnet which kept the children happy.
Strawberry picking is a strangely addictive yet calming activity. I couldn’t walk past ‘a good un’ and leave it hanging there which left us with a rather large box of strawberries to devour. The children ate way more than we paid for I’m sure, but that’s all part of the fun right? A quick baby wipe to hide the evidence of their caught red handed (faces) was needed before we went to the pay point.
And then it was the fun part, eating them! When it comes down to it I’m actually someone who loves a simple bowl of strawberries with a sprinkling of sugar on top. However this year I have been trying out new recipes for I’m home honey some of which have been huge hits with the tribe.
A few quirky but simple recipes I like to make with strawberries are:
Strawberries drizzled with Elderflower cordial
Add a drizzle of Elderflower cordial and a handful of lime or lemon zest! Strange combination you may think, however the sweetness of the cordial (neat) really gives the fruit the added sweetness we crave.
Yes! Simply toss the strawberries in a frying pan, mash them with a fork to reduce and hey presto you have yourself a homemade coulis (add some sugar if needed) this works very well with some simple Vanilla ice cream.
Add finely chopped tomatoes, strawberries, red onion and cucumber and drizzle with balsamic. I promise it creates the perfect compliment to bbq burgers.
However you like your strawberries I think you’ll agree strawberry picking is one of the loveliest British activities to do as a family! I’m sure mine and Lucy’s family will continue to visit Syston Park Farm for many years to come.