5 of the best pick your own farms in Hampshire

Strawberry field on fruit farm. Fresh ripe organic strawberry in white basket next to strawberries b

Strawberry picking is the ultimate summer activity - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Hampshire has some wonderful pick your own farms, with more than just fruit on offer says Sam Ellis-Cosgrove

One of my favourite childhood memories growing up in rural Hampshire is spending afternoons in the summer sunshine filling punnets with sweet juicy strawberries and soft plump raspberries. 

Since the diversification of small farms in the 1950s and the first boom of ‘pick your owns’ in the 1970s, we have seen local farms branching out in response to our increased interest in food provenance and sustainability. As well as a chance to get out as a family in the fresh air, a day at your local PYO is also a great way for children to learn where food comes from and seasonality as well as encouraging healthy eating. 

These days, it’s not just about delicious fresh fruit and vegetables, PYOs are offering a whole raft of attractions and facilities to provide all you need for a fun packed family day out. From zip wires, trampolines and pony rides to cafés and dog friendly picnic areas, here’s the lowdown of some of my favourite farms and, if you haven’t scoffed it all on the way home, a few fruity recipes to make with the goodies you have picked. 

A bumper crop can be found at Bourne Valley

A bumper crop can be found at Bourne Valley - Credit: Sam Ellis-Cosgrove

Bourne Valley Pick Your Own, St Mary Bourne 
Nestled on the edge of picturesque St Mary Bourne you’ll find super juicy strawberries, raspberries, and gooseberries in abundance. You’ll also find rhubarb, asparagus, and other seasonal produce. There is an enchanting woodland walk, sunflower picking, a sandpit, a fun park with ‘Humphrey’s Humps’ climbing frames and slides, a café, picnic area, pony rides and zip wire…. And if that wasn’t enough, they also have pumpkin picking and a spooky Halloween trail in the autumn. bournevalleypyo.co.uk 

Durleighmarsh Farm Shop, Petersfield 
In the heart of the South Downs, this family run farm shop and PYO sell a wide range of local produce and hand-picked seasonal fruit and vegetables. You’ll find artisan cheeses, freshly baked bread, eggs, sausage rolls straight from the oven and even some locally crafted gin. There are beautiful fresh flowers and delicious herbs, pick your own strawberries in the summer and pumpkins in the autumn. Why not also visit the neighbouring Tea Barn for a spot of lunch or afternoon tea. durleighmarshfarmshop.co.uk 

Berries and cherries can be found at Goodalls

Berries and cherries can be found at Goodalls - Credit: Sam Ellis-Cosgrove

Goodalls Farm, Lymington 
Find here delicious table-top grown strawberries plus raspberries, cherries, redcurrants, and blackcurrants to pick or buy from the farm shop. The shop also stocks locally baked bread, rare breed pork and artisan cheeses. And, there’s the added bonus of an adventure golf course next door. goodallsstrawberries.co.uk 

Hollam Nurseries, Fareham 
The farm shop opens in spring selling their daffodils and tulips alongside rhubarb and asparagus. Around late may they are open for pick your own strawberries and broad beans followed by raspberries, sunflowers, and sweetcorn. There is pumpkin picking in the autumn with a chance to buy their spring bulbs ready to be planted for the next year. hollamnurseries.co.uk 

Pick ripe raspberries ready for jam making at West Green 

Pick ripe raspberries ready for jam making at West Green - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

West Green Fruits, Hartley Wintney 
Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, redcurrants and gooseberries are ripe for the picking alongside a well-stocked fam shop selling fresh vegetables, homemade jam, new potatoes, local honey, free range eggs, Jersey cream and ice cream. There is a grass labyrinth to keep the children entertained and they also have a festive Christmas barn which opens late November selling trees, wreaths and decorations. westgreenfruits.com 

Summer pudding

Summer pudding - Credit: Sam Ellis-Cosgrove

Summer Fruit Pudding 

Ingredients  
1.25kg mixed summer berries, washed 
175g golden caster sugar 
6-7 slices medium sliced white bread 

Method 

Most Read

  1. Mix the sugar with 3 tbsp of water in a large heavy bottomed pan. Gently heat until the sugar dissolves and bring to a rolling boil. Add the fruit and cook for 3 mins over a med-low heat to soften slightly and release the juices. Put a sieve over a bowl and tip in the fruit and juice. 

  1. Line a 1.25ltr pudding bowl with 3 layers of cling film leaving an overhang of 10cm. Cut the crusts off the bread, leave one slice whole and cut the others in half at an angle. 

  1. Dip the whole piece of bread into the juice to coat. Push this into the bottom of the pudding bowl. Now dip the other pieces in one at a time and press around the basin’s sides so that they overlap slightly creating a triangular pattern that completely lines the bowl, leaving enough bread for the lid. Spoon in the softened fruit until it is full then top with the remaining bread. Keep the leftover juice for later.  

  1. Bring the cling film up and seal. Put a few side plates on top to weigh it down and chill for 6 hours or overnight. To serve, open out the cling film then put a serving plate upside down on top and flip over. Serve with the leftover juice, extra berries, a sprig of mint and pouring or clotted cream. 

Bakewell Tart

Bakewell Tart - Credit: Sam Ellis-Cosgrove

Bakewell Tart 

Ingredients 

For the pastry 
215g plain white flour 
30g icing sugar 
120g unsalted butter, cubed 
2 free range egg yolks 
2 tbsp cold water 

For the frangipane filling 
150g unsalted butter 
150g golden caster sugar 
150g ground almonds 
2 tbsp plain flour 
2 tsp almond extract 
Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon 
2 free range eggs, beaten 

For the topping 
200g icing sugar 
1 tsp almond extract 
Pink gel food colouring 
2 tbsp homemade raspberry jam 

Method 

1. To make the pastry, place all the dry ingredients in the bowl of your food processor and give them a quick pulse. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Tip the mixture into a large mixing bowl and add the egg and water. Bring together with your hands and then gently knead the mixture a couple of times to make a smooth pastry. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight. 

2. Pre-heat the oven to 160c fan and butter a loose bottom 23cm tart tin. 

3. Roll out the pastry and line the tin, pressing into the edges. Lightly prick the surface of the pastry with a fork, cover loosely with a sheet of baking paper, fill with baking beans and blind bake for 15 minutes. 

4. Remove the pastry from the oven, discard the baking beans and paper and spread the raspberry jam evenly over the base. 

5. To make the frangipane, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, fold in the remaining ingredients and place the mixture in a disposable piping bag. Cut the end off the bag to make a hole about 10mm wide and pipe the mixture evenly into the pastry case over the jam layer. Smooth out gently using a dampened palette knife or spatula. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden then place on a wire rack and leave to cool completely. 

6. To make the topping, put the icing sugar in a mixing bowl with the almond extract. Stir while adding a little water until you have a thick, smooth fondant. Place 2 tablespoons of the fondant in a small bowl and colour it bright pink. Place in a disposable piping bag fitted with a 2mm plain round nozzle. 

7. Pour the white fondant mixture onto the frangipane. Pipe parallel lines of pink fondant on the white and then drag a skewer across the lines back and forth to create a feathered effect.  

8. Allow the icing to set and serve with fresh raspberries and cream. 

Strawberry daquiri

Strawberry daiquiri - Credit: Sam Ellis-Cosgrove

Strawberry Daiquiri 

Ingredients 
400g strawberries 
150ml white rum 
4tbsp lime juice 
2 cups ice cubes 

Method 

  1. Set aside 4 strawberries for the garnish.  

  1. Put all the remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  

  1. Pour into 4 glasses and decorate with a strawberry on each. 

Summer berry bramble

Summer berry bramble - Credit: Sam Ellis-Cosgrove

Summer Berry Bramble 

Ingredients 
4tbsp fresh berries 
100ml gin 
Juice of 2 lemons 
30ml sugar syrup 
1 cup ice cubes 

Method 

  1. Put the berries and gin in a cocktail shaker and muddle until the berries are broken down and have released their juice.  

  1. Add the rest of the ingredients and shake gently or stir to combine.  

  1. Pour into 2 glasses and decorate with more berries and mint leaves.