Strawberry Picking In Scotland: The Pick Of The Crop
Find me a better way to spend a morning than filling a basket with strawberries (dorky hat optional) and I'll find you a tenner. We're well into mid-June and that means strawberry picking season is fast approaching. Forgive me for my eagerness here, we are still three weeks out from the official start of strawberry season - but I just couldn't resist. Scotland has been blessed with some weird kind of wonderful weather over the last month or two (I think it's called sun?) that has meant a few farms have opened the gates early. Now of course, as I sit to write the sky seems to have opened up and it is now pissing from the heavens, but let's pretend we are still basking in 25 degrees and walk through the best places to go strawberry picking in Scotland. Maybe I'm a big kid at heart, in fact, I am a big kid at heart, but strawberry picking will always be up there for one of my favourites days' out. It's a perfect way to get out and about and fill the fruit bowl for the coming week. Double whammy.
STRAWBERRY PICKING NEAR EDINBURGH
I have the biggest soft spot for Craigie's. Located in South Queensferry, it's around 45 minutes or so from Glasgow, but it is well worth the journey. We discovered Craigie's back in October on my quest for pumpkin farms in Scotland although I was more impressed with the strawbs than I was the pumpkins. Although it was October and very much the end of the season, we left with a mammoth punnet of strawberries and vowed to return when the farm opened again in June. Now, at the moment there are strawberries and rhubarb up for grabs, with raspberries and gooseberries still ripening up - there is a handy chart here that is updated daily to let you know what is available for picking, so you can always check before you go. They opened the strawberry picking a few weeks early due to the lovely weather so I didn't expect to be able to pick much, but we had no problem filling an entire punnet with ripe strawberries. The farm is massive which means it never feels crowded and you really do have the run of the place. There is a flat rate fee of £3 per person for entry (even for the one year old), but that was then taken off the cost of our fruit at the end, which was fair. For that entry fee, you'll also be able to mooch around the farm and see the animals, visit the play park or nip into the fields - actually, I don't think your supposed to do this, but we got some bloody good pictures from it...
Cairnie Fruit Farm & Mega Maze is far from just a farm, think more along the lines of local-landmark in Fife. It definitely doesn't have the small family farm feel in the way some others do, probably because it isn’t a small family farm, but it's the place to go if you want to make a full day of it. In terms of strawberry picking, you'll certainly get the pick of the bunch here - there are four varieties to choose from! Along with the Pick Your Own fields, there is an Outdoor Maze and Funground, which has everything from Go-Karts to Trampolines and various play areas. It's a really cheap day out for what you get, especially if you can hold off until July when the Mega Maze opens. Nothing like getting lost in a maze for four hours to get your moneys worth...
STRAWBERRY PICKING NEAR GLASGOW
East Yonderton was the very first farm I ever visited as a child for strawberry picking, it's situated near Glasgow airport and it will open up for picking in July. It's no landmark, but it's a lovely family-owned-family-friendly farm and a perfect way to spend an afternoon. It's cheap, it's cheerful and for those of us who live in Glasgow it's a great option.
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STRAWBERRY PICKING NEAR DUNDEE
With these two, I'm relying solely on Trip Advisor feedback because as much as I love strawberry picking, even I don't love it enough to hike myself two hours north to Dundee. For anyone who does live in that region (or who is really keen for a long-ass drive) these two appear to be great options...
Charleton brides the gap between the family run farm, and the bigger day out. While it is a working farm, it has a play zone for the kids and and a lovely looking cafe and coffee shop (if your hungry, steer away from looking at pictures of the strawberry tarts!). The pick your open opens mid-march, although as with most, it's not recommended to bother trying before the end of June. If you wait until mid-July, they'll have a whole host of things to pick, so it's well worth a visit.
Is it bad that I kind of want to visit just for the name alone? This one is a winner purely because they've opened early, there is no need to wait until the end of June to visit, pick your own has been up and running since the very start of the month. It's a much smaller affair than the likes of Cairnie, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The cafe food seems to have an all around thumbs up over on Facebook, and fruit is plentiful.