This weekend I regressed to childhood to do something I haven’t done since I was aged six or seven.
White House Farm is Norwich’s PYO centre with fields of fruit and vegetables, ready to be picked and enjoyed. The benefits of picking your own fruit and veg are that you know exactly where it’s come from, you know it’s 100% fresh and it’s great fun on a sunny day.
Just outside the city, the farm is accessed up a long, winding driveway complete with cockerels and hens wandering free. The farm is located off Blue Boar Lane in Sprowston but you feel as if you are miles from anywhere; surrounded by fields and the sound of nothing more than birds.
The farm has a large, free car park, a cafe selling home-made produce and a farm shop as well as the PYO fields. Plenty of people seemed to be making a day of it, taking a break from picking to enjoy the sunshine with an ice cream.
We decided to pick strawberries first. Armed with a punnet each, we wandered among the fields looking for splashes of red amongst the leaves and competing to find the most perfectly formed fruit.
You can take your container to the shop and weigh it yourself to gauge how much you’ve gathered. With bulging punnets, we left the strawberry fields in search of the raspberries – not least because we wanted to pick something where you can stand up straight!
The day brought back memories of when I worked on a lettuce farm in Australia. I had to complete 88 days working on a rural farm to qualify for my visa. Picking fruit and veg just for fun is infinitely more enjoyable than when you’re doing it for eight hours a day in the tropical heat of Queensland. Also, these Norwich fields seem mercifully low on spiders!
The raspberries were hanging pink and plump in row after row as we trundled up and down, chastising each other for daring to taste one as we filled our little baskets.
I had wanted to visit the PYO fields for a while after reading so many Buy Local campaigns and knowing that fruit and vegetables in a supermarket could travel hundreds or thousands of miles before they reach us. At White House Farm the crop calendar runs from June to October with various fruit and veg available at any one time.
Picking fruit was definitely good fun and great value for money – the collection in the photo above cost us less than£4.50.
The really important thing is to know whether or not it actually tastes any better?
A good way to find out is to warm some pancakes, tumble over some fresh, red berries and drizzle with golden syrup.
- White House Farm is open Tuesday to Sunday 9am-5pm
View the crop calendar here
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