Monday, August 11, 2014

Strawberry Picking at Strawberry Fields Farm

Strawberry Fields Farm

As a grown up, I feel like I have an obligation to fill my down time with productive activities. Gone are the days when partying and slothing felt like an adequate way to spend the weekend. That's not to say I don't do that anymore... but I can no longer feel good about it. Marc and I are constantly making empty promises to go hiking or camping but it wasn't until someone else got on board that things got put into motion.

A couple of weekends ago, Jenny planned a hiking roadtrip for us complete with an itemized itinerary. We packed a picnic lunch to enjoy before a walk through Kondalilla National Park in Montville. One of my favourite things about this day was our stop at the Strawberry Fields Farm.

I already knew that fruit-picking as an activity was a 'thing' around here. My mum and dad went to a longan farm with their friends and really enjoyed it. I sort of figured that it was more about the novelty of picking your own fruit than the fruit itself. In that case of Strawberry Fields at least, I was well incorrect.

We arrived there on the way to Montville so it was probably between 11 to Noon. The place was a lot bigger and more popular than we expected and the fine weather that morning probably had something to do with this.

At the entrance, there's a cafe and a store where you can buy souveniers and pick up plastic trays. I thought there'd be one fee to pick the berries but instead, picking is 'free' and you just pay per kg for what you pick. When we were there, it was $16 per kg of strawberries.

Although there are many fields of strawberry plants, only one was active that day. I suppose they circulate this to ensure there are sufficient berries for picking in any particular field. There was no need to be worried that the berries would be ravaged by everyone who got there before us. There were plenty of berries to go around.

Marc and I took up one lane towards the back of the active field and worked our way along. Very soon, we had a loaded tray full of the largest and freshest looking strawberries I've ever seen. We were told that a trayful was about one kilo's worth so we limited ourselves to that.

Although the berries looked amazing, I was unsure how they'd taste because we all know looks can be deceiving. We paid and took our tray to the berry-washing station (very thoughtful) and parked on the grass to wait for Jenny to finish picking. And, of course we started eating.

WOW. These were honestly the best tasting strawberries I've had in my entire life. They were unreal. Each berry was juicy and sweet with no hint of tartness. They were perfectly ripe (or was this due to my awesome picking skills?) and burst with flavour. I've always been picky with strawberries. I LOVE good strawberries but I don't include them in my list of favourite fruits because bad strawberries suck. These should be put in a whole separate catagory of fruit and elevated to 'Cora's Favourite' because they are that good.

Marc and I finished our whole tray (yep, that's one kilo) right there on the lawn.

I had a punnet of regular supermarket strawberries a week later and they tasted abysmal by comparison.

I've already recommended to my parents that they visit Strawberry Fields. I think this kind of activity is very seasonal so make sure it's strawberry season before you go. You can make a day of it by bringing the kids and enjoying lunch at the cafe, or simply go there to pick up some amazing strawberries.

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