Last Sunday, I had a problem. There was a distinct lack of seasonal fruits in my kitchen – no pears, no figs, no blackberries. And no apples. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t feel like autumn unless I have a warm bowl of apple and cinnamon oatmeal in front of me.
Something had to be done.
Luckily, my boyfriend had the solution. We grabbed our boots, our produce bags and our puppy and ventured back to what has quickly become our favourite weekend spot – we had such a wonderful time picking pumpkins at Hewitt’s Farm that we just couldn’t stay away!
It was an unseasonably warm and sunny afternoon, and you could be forgiven for mistaking the weather for springtime if it weren’t for the abundance of seasonal fruits and vegetables in every direction.
We came across rows upon rows of flourishing apple trees, bearing so much fruit that they were almost inviting us to fill our bags. The weight of the apples caused the branches to droop, making them the perfect height for picking!
And the smell. A crisp, fresh apple scent danced through the trees and followed us wherever we went.
We also managed to make a slimy little friend! I’m terrified of most insects, but I have a soft spot for slugs. It’s something about their sweet little eyes on stalks, coupled with their shy nature. As a kid I used to put them on my arms, but that thought makes me shudder now!
So, why should you visit a PYO farm? I thought you’d never ask…
- It’s a fun day out. There’s something magical about picking your own fruits and vegetables straight off the tree (or out of the ground!) You can make so many memories with your partner, friends and children. If pets are allowed, bring them along too! Our puppy Fujin loved sniffing the apples on the ground and meeting fellow fruit-pickers. It’s a stress-free, cheap activity and you’ll be surprised at how much fun you’ll have!
- It’s much better for the environment. In this day and age, we vote with our wallets. Choosing to support local businesses (particularly those who are environmentally conscious) instead of big chain supermarkets feels pretty good. You’ll also reduce road emissions as the produce won’t need to travel up and down the country – you’re just picking it up right where it’s grown!
- It’s cheaper. We walked out of the farm loaded down with apples, marrows and homemade biscuits for just a few pounds. I hate to think what I would have paid at a supermarket! You’ll also find more interesting produce, such as kabocha squash – it’s pretty hard to find in the UK and you’ll be paying through the nose for it. We picked up a huge one for less than £2!
- It’s good for your mind, body and soul. Getting a little mud under your fingernails is so refreshing, particularly if you live in a large city like London. Taking the time to forage for produce is a great escape from everyday stresses – some may even call it therapeutic. And of course, you can’t deny the positive impact that eating a wide variety of fresh seasonal produce has on your body. I always feel amazing when I eat in tune with the seasons!
Have I managed to convince you? Skip the shops next weekend and visit your nearest PYO farm – your wallet, body and the environment will thank you!