There’s something so rewarding about picking your own strawberries straight off the vine. You’re supporting local farms and you have the lazy, sunbaked pleasure of choosing each and every berry you put in your basket. Strawberry season starts in late spring in New South Wales, so we’ve compiled a few key farms throughout the state where you can pick your own until every finger is as pink as a perfectly ripe berry.
Situated at the base of Mount Canobolas, a few hours northwest of Sydney, Orange is a food lover’s heaven. We can’t think of a more perfect place to collect fixings for a picnic lunch before heading over to the longstanding Huntley Berry Farm to pick your own strawberries for dessert. With crops ranging from strawberries and blackberries to currants and gooseberries, you’ll have overflowing baskets full of sun-warmed fruit before you know it. Don’t forget to pop into the on-site shop for berry jams, vinegars and a cheeky ice block for the road.
Pick your own from mid-November: Huntley Road, Huntley NSW
If you find yourself on the NSW South Coast during December and January, it’s worth a detour to visit this working farm. Making as little impact as possible on the ecosystem, Clyde River grows blueberries for the Sydney wholesale market. For two months of the year, you can pop in and pick your own strawberries and blueberries, as well as a number of other berry varieties, including loganberries, raspberries and even boysenberries.
Pick your own December and January: Lot 22 River Road, Mogood NSW
Located on the mid-North Coast of NSW, Ricardoes is cropping strawberries year-round, which means you can pick your own any time you please! Grown in climate-controlled greenhouses, the berries and tomatoes are coddled to keep them – and their sweet-seeking visitors – happy. As an added bonus, these berries are grown on A-frame structures, so you can pick to your heart’s content without having to bend down.
Pick your own year-round: 221 Blackmans Point Road, Port Macquarie
Top tip: Strawberries won’t ripen further once you pick them, so make sure to select firm, fully red berries.
Now that you’ve stocked up on seasonal strawberries, it’s time to eat ’em. And while we can’t resist eating fresh-picked strawberries as nature intended, they do add something special to even the quickest sweet treat:
- For a refreshing strawberry-lime slushie, blend a few handfuls of fresh, hulled strawberries and the juice from a quarter of a lime with plenty of ice. Mix through maple syrup to taste, if you wish.
- Turn a container of good-quality vanilla ice cream into fresh strawberry ice cream in the blink of an eye. Roughly chop fresh strawberries and fold through slightly softened ice cream. Serve with a drizzle of pureed strawberries for an extra berrylicious treat.
- Or try the towering layers of biscuits, custard, fresh berries and praline of our summer berry trifle!
Top tip: Fresh berries freeze brilliantly – just wash, dry and hull before freezing in a zip-lock bag.