A few weeks ago we found ourselves looking for something to do on our Friday afternoon, the sun was shining and we had run out of jam… going fruit picking solved both problems.
Fruit picking of any sort has always been one of Monkey’s favourite activities (actually as I write this we are driving to visit friends to do just that!). He will often come home from nursery to check the strawberry patch, fruit bushes and tomato plants to see if there is anything ripe (or even unripe) ready for picking. He was very excited about the potatoes when we dug up our first earlies rescuing even the smallest morsel. We are lucky he’s not a fussy eater, but just like any child he can have his off days, but when we’ve picked the food that ends up on the plate he will always without fail eat it ….all. Ive just brought a spirellti as I am expecting a glut of courgettes again this year, he’s not a fan generally so it will be interesting to see if the whole grown your own/pick your own theory works with them as well.
Roundstones is near Worthing, on the A259 dual carriage way and easy to spot with all the signs. There is a lot more to Roundstones than just strawberry picking although inevitably that is what draws us there each year. When we went in the first week of July they had strawberries, raspberries and black currants on. You can check their website before arriving and it will tell you whats ready which is handy if your little one has their heart set on something. Roundstones.
Just be warned they do not take card, so you will need cash. There is a new Asda just up the road with cash machines if you forget like us!
They also had a selection of veg on – peas, broad beans, carrots, potatoes, onions, beetroot and cabbage. I didn’t really expect Monkey to be interested in picking the veg … but I was wrong as I read out the sign to him he decided he wanted to pick carrots! Hastily I grabbed a couple of bags along with out punnet we headed to the strawberry fields first.
It was a popular activity for a Friday afternoon, but rather helpfully Roundstone’s put up signs pointing you in the right direction of the best crops. It wasn’t long before we were filling up our green plastic trug (which are great if you wash them out after for role play after) with ripe or almost ripe strawberries.
Monkey was obsessed with picking the biggest ones he could find, and it took a while for him to understand red on one side and still white on the other does not constitute a ripe strawberry. He was really good though understanding you can’t eat them until we’ve paid for them, I think maybe only one or two made it into his mouth this time round!
After we jumped on the free tractor which takes you from field to field. Monkey had seen it driving past and wanted to get on it straight away! It is great idea as it saves little legs gives you a welcome blast of cool air and also means you don’t have to carry all your pickings back to the start. Our (his) plan was to pick broad beans for Daddy as they are his favourite and then go back and get carrots or beetroot, he was having trouble deciding. Monkey discovered that broad beans were a little harder to pick than strawberries:
While waiting for the tractor to take us back to the carrot field Monkey stumbled across an onion which had been disgarded. It was a fair size and suddenly of great interest, excitedly he decided we needed to find more giant onions. Which we did. Many had already had their flowers taken off and just required a little tug to get them out of the ground.
If he had his way I think we would have taken a full bag home, but there is only so many onions you need! Thankfully the tractor was passing again and we hopped on. In the end his favourite onion (as he told me) actually ended up being a small onion about 5cm across, probably because he managed to pick it without any help.
Back at the start we picked up an ice cream when we paid for our haul and sat on the benches next to the car, they also sell soft drinks and water. A well deserved treat for an afternoon of hard work! There is also a cafe and farm shop on site. We didn’t visit either this time, but they do have toilets if needed. It was a really nice couple of hours, especially seeing Monkey getting excited about the onions. And what happened to said favourite onion? He held it in the back of the car all the way home, even in his sleep, proudly displaying it to Daddy when he came home from work. I am sure we will be back again this Summer!