As June approaches, thoughts turn to ripening fruits and for many, who do not have the space or time to grow their own, the “pick your own” fruit farm is the ideal place to be.
Most soft fruit in the supermarket is sold at a premium and although a small tray of raspberries may be nice with a bowl of ice cream it would certainly be uneconomical to buy enough to make jams and pies.
Fruit farms offer people the chance to pick fruit fresh and harvest as little or as much as they like, priced by the punnet or by weight.
Strawberries are the first to come into season in June, famously served up as a treat to the fans at Wimbledon. Gooseberries along with red, black and white currants follow close behind, some ready as early as late June.
Raspberries and their hybrids are available from late June to September and sometimes October if the weather is kind.
Picking your own is also great exercise, quite a distance can be covered during a fruit picking session and the bending and reaching uses most of the major muscle groups. In a half hour session upward of 200 calories can be expended and even if you eat the produce on the way round (many places allow this), it’s only fruit, perfectly healthy and part of your “Five a Day”.
Even if you don’t wish to make jams and pies, fruit freezes exceptionally well and a handful of frozen fruit mixed with fruit juice and maybe a little yoghurt can be easily blended to make a great smoothie.
Many of the vitamins that humans require are found in soft fruit, generally, the darker the fruit, the higher the level of anti-oxidants. Picking fruit outdoors will also boost your vitamin D levels, as this vitally important vitamin can only be manufactured in the presence of sunlight (but carefully does it) 10 -15 minutes exposure of face and arms will be enough, always have something you can cover up with so that you do not burn.
You may even find places offering pick your own vegetables. Popular are peas beans, which lose their vitamins quickly if picked and packed for the supermarket, but are much healthier picked and eaten the same day and if frozen as soon as possible after picking they have been found to retain their freshly picked vitamin content.
So find your nearest growers and go picking!