It’s the freshest possible way to enjoy Kent’s wonderful selection of fruit and veg: fields and orchards where you can simply fill your boots (or, rather, your punnets, bags and baskets) with nature’s seasonal bounty. Here’s our guide to picking your own, right here in the Garden of England



Lower Ladysden Farm, Goudhurst

Asparagus season here runs from late April until June 21, the longest day of the year. You can opt either for thinner or thicker asparagus (they get thicker with age and some think thinner taste sweeter and that the thicker have a better texture – surprisingly less fibrous) – just snap them off at ground level, take them home, cook, serve and enjoy. You’ll also find runner beans, soft fruit and sunflowers here, a maize maize, and a farm shop that’s been named the county’s best by none other than Kent Life magazine!

And where to buy the asparagus fresh from the Kent farm if you can’t PYO

Birchenden, Tunbridge Wells

Make the most of the seasonal offering from this farm, whose asparagus grace the plates of many local pubs and restaurants. Soft fruit and apple juice to buy by the punnet and bottle here


Asparagus grown on the Isle of Thanet, so benefit from the area’s sea breezes and mild climate, with a longer growing season and a richer taste. Buy at the Sevenscore farm shop, near Ramsgate, along with other seasonal veg including Kent purple flowering broccoli and cauliflower.


Castle Farm, Shoreham

Best known for its glorious lavender fields, there’s a treat here to look forward to in autumn, too, when its pretty little orchard boasts some of the freshest, sweetest and juiciest apples around, including The Norfolk Royal, which looks like just the sort of fruit Snow White would have found irresistible. Say the team: ‘As far as we know, Castle Farm is the only commercial grower of this rare and beautiful variety - one of the few apple trees that will grow happily on the chalky soils of the North Downs.’ Open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, just bring bags or a basket for your harvest. Refreshments available on site.


Bentink Farm, Pembury

A great idea, this (and tried and tested by the Kent Life team!): you rent your cobnut tree from March to October, get seasonal updates as to its progress and can then head off to the plat pick the sweet nuts – either new and green from the end of August, when they have a sweet, creamy flavour, or later in October, to be dried out, lightly toasted and enjoyed throughout the winter. Delicious! A true Kentish speciality that makes a great experiential gift. From £42; cherry trees and apple trees also available to rent.


Felderland Farm, Worth, nr Deal

At Felderland, nestled between Sandwich and Deal, you’ll find soft fruit in all its glory, from strawberries to cherries, blackberries to plums – plus sunflowers, apples and pumpkins. They’re hot on sustainability, with eco-friendly initiatives including using local suppliers, keeping packaging and punnets recyclable and encouraging biodiversity on the farm. Dogs on leads welcome, there’s a play area for children and a coffee shop for refreshment.

Stanhill Farm, Birchwood Road, Dartford

With its 150 acres run by brothers Toby and Max Williams, Stanhill Farm near Dartford is a great spot in which to PYO strawberries and raspberries, lose yourself in the maize maze (bring a pencil so you can fill out the card game), stock up on provisions at the shop and enjoy a treat at the in-house Berries & Beans café. Come back in October and you’ll find pumpkins galore waiting to be picked.

Lower Hadres Farm Shop, Canterbury

Yes, the shop’s enjoys a great reputation all year round (it even has its own in-house butchery) but in summer its PYO soft fruit comes into its own. You’ll have to go elsewhere for strawberries, but for less easily-found gooseberries and tayberries, this is the place. Pesticides are kept to a minimum, encouraging biodiversity and beneficial insects on the farmland, and – as Hadres’ owners point - if you want to keep your carbon footprint down, PYO really is the way to go.

Stonepitts, Seal Chart, near Sevenoaks

This spot – at the foot of the north downs and with lovely views - has real family-friendly charm and a great history. Back in the late 19th century, Stonepitts was a household name, a major fruit and hop-growing enterprise sending produce up to London daily via horse and cart. On a smaller scale, it’s been offering PYO for some 60 years, one of the first UK farms to do so. Not only can you choose from six varieties of strawberries and three of raspberries here, the farm runs educational visits for primary-school children and wonderful low-key music nights. At Folking in the Strawberries, organised by Dan Clew, whose family took over Stonepitts in 1989, you can bring the whole family, enjoy a picnic or buy food from a few little stalls and listen to music from local bands as the sun goes down, all while surrounded by fruit in the fields.


Milebush farm

Just outside Maidstone Milebush Farm offers a really hands-on experience – not only can you pick soft fruit, apples and plums, you can even dig your own potatoes! Come October, you’ll find pumpkins too.

Meopham PYO at Broomfield Farm

Somewhere else offering everything from soft fruit to sunflowers to pumpkins – and with The White Finch tearooms on site, so you can treat yourself to coffee and house-baked cake after all that harvesting hard work!


Great British Life: Enjoy a PYO flowers session at Blooming Green, LintonEnjoy a PYO flowers session at Blooming Green, Linton (Image: Getty)

Oh - and don’t forget the flowers!

Not only do many of the PYO farms listed above offer the chance to pick sunflowers, but there’s a specialist PYO flower farm in Kent too (no, you can’t eat them, but you can admire them!) On Saturdays from late June through until the end of October, Blooming Green in Linton near Maidstone offers visitors the chance to pick an ever-changing array of seasonal flowers and foliage, chemical-free. Customers report that selecting their own choice, direct from the field, is not only ultra-satisfying, but therapeutic and relaxing experience too. Come with family and friends and make an afternoon of it – containers and snippers supplied, but you’ll need something of your own to take the flowers home in. Look out, too, for The Flower Farm at Denstroude near Canterbury and Town Flowers in , Tunbridge Wells, where, come summer, armfuls of blossoms should await you. Bloominggreenflowers, @the_flower_farm_denstroude, @townflowers¬¬_tw.

Great British Life: Sevenscore aspapargus grow on the isle of Thanet, where sea breezes add to their sweet flavour Sevenscore aspapargus grow on the isle of Thanet, where sea breezes add to their sweet flavour (Image: Julie Friend)

PYO season

From May: Asparagus

From mid June: strawberries and raspberries, gooseberries

From July: blackcurrants, blueberries, plums and cherries

From September: cobnuts, apples, pears

From October: pumpkins


Great British Life: Strawberry picking's an essential part of summer in KentStrawberry picking's an essential part of summer in Kent (Image: Getty)

Heading for the fields with children?

A few PYO top tips….

Make sure everyone’s dressed practically – with trainers, long shorts or trousers to cover small knees and sun hats if necessary.

Don’t forget sunscreen, water incase anyone gets thirsty and antiseptic wipes for any grazes or insect bites. If you’re picking a large amount, you might want to consider bringing a kneeling pad, too.

Many PYO spots will want you to use their containers for picking – but do take plenty of your own incase not, or so you’ve got extra if required.


Make the most of you PYO bounty with these two easy recipes


Great British Life: Special asparagus cheese toastsSpecial asparagus cheese toasts (Image: British Asparagus)

Special asparagus cheese toasts recipe

This is great way to make the most of Kent asparagus – you only use the tips here, so you can keep the rest and used sliced in a risotto. Don’t throw out any woody stems, either – they’re great for flavouring soup.

You’ll need

250g Kent asparagus tips

4 slices crusty bread

150g grated cheese – we like Kentish Ashmore from Cheesmakers of Canterbury, but you could use cheddar, gruyere or red Leicester.

2 beaten eggs

Sea salt & black pepper

1 tbsp chopped chives

What to do

Preheat the oven to 180⁰c.

Trim the asparagus tips and blanch briefly in boiling water, refresh in cold water.

Lightly toast the bread in the toaster and leave it to cool.

Mix the grated cheese into the beaten eggs and season.

Divide the cheese and egg mixture between the four slices of bread and spread to cover up to the edges.

Put the bread on a baking sheet and bake for five minutes. Take the baking sheet out and push the asparagus spears into the hot cheese mixture. Put the tray back in the oven for another five minutes or until the cheese is puffed up and bubbling. sprinkle with chopped chives and serve. Serves four

Recipe courtesy of


Great British Life: Strawberry shortcake - summer in a bowlStrawberry shortcake - summer in a bowl (Image: Getty)

Strawberry shortcake recipe

This American favourite is great way to make Kent strawberries go that little bit further, with the buttery base (more like a shortbread, really, and a doddle to make) setting off the sweetness of the berries to perfection. Serves 6.

You’ll need

For the shortcake:

225g plain flour

Pinch salt

½ tsp baking powder

115g room-temperature butter, plus a little more for spreading

60g caster sugar

½ an egg

1 tbsp milk

For the filling and topping:

Small punnet of Kentish strawberries, sliced, plus extra to serve

1 tbs caster sugar

What to do

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees/gas 7

Grease 2 x 20cm sandwich tins

Mix all the ingredients together to form a stiff dough.

Pat into the sandwich tins and prick with a fork.

Bake for around 5-8 minutes, keeping an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.

Remove when golden, turn out and spread with more butter.

When cool, fill and top with sliced strawberries, sprinkled with caster sugar.

Serve with whipped cream and more strawberries

Recipe courtesy of Ann Lindsay