There is a great deal of pride that goes into growing Britain’s fruit. From strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries to apples, blueberries, plums, blackcurrants and more, Wiltshire’s farms and countryside offer the best in fresh produce.
For those enjoying a cottage holiday in Wiltshire, you can stroll the farmers’ market stalls for fresh fruit. Or, if you want to do it yourself, fruit picking at one of Wiltshire’s many farms is a great way to enjoy fresh local fruit.
To help you be part of Britain’s passion for fresh fruit, here are some of our favourite Wiltshire fruit farms and some advice on the best times of the year to pick:
Woodborough Garden Centre
In early spring, Woodborough Garden Centre is well known for fresh daffodil picking. During the summer months, they specialise in strawberry picking, with the best months being June, July and August. Exact harvest and picking times vary, so it is best to consult the centre prior to making the trip.
If you are looking for more than just picking your own, there is still plenty to do at Woodborough. Beyond produce picking, you can shop for plants, garden furniture, outdoor equipment and gifts, and grab something to eat in the café.
They are located in the Vale of Pewsey and have great access to the nearby Wiltshire White Horse Trail and the Kennet & Avon Canal. Located in a quaint village, there are plenty of local shops and stores to visit around the garden centre as well.
There is a host of activities to keep the entire family entertained at this Swindon farm. This award-winning farm has been around since 1983 and welcomes visitors to pick their own produce – with a special focus placed on sweet, juicy strawberries. You can also pick raspberries, currants and gooseberries. For those looking for fresh veggies, there is also potato picking, as well as courgettes, runner beans and sweetcorn.
More than just fruit picking, this farm has so much to offer visitors. There are farm animals to see, an outdoor play area for kids, occasional summer fayres and a great farm store. Even dogs are welcome at Lotmead Farm.
Finally, the farm also provides direct access to a 1km nature trail that leads to a nearby lake and bird sanctuary.
Ansty Pick Your Own
For fresh raspberries, strawberries, and gooseberries, the Ansty PYO and Farm Shop is a great Wiltshire destination. Located between Salisbury and Shaftesbury in the Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this farm-turned-attraction has developed over the last 14 years.
They offer a detailed picking calendar to help make your journey worthwhile. In addition to the standard British fruits, they offer the chance to pick tayberries, loganberries, blackberries and currants as well. Fresh potatoes, beetroot and spinach can also be picked. They are also constantly trialling new and unusual fruits. Currently, they are growing pink and white currants, as well as yellow raspberries.
Ansty was started as a small farm shop and has grown into a pick-your-own destination complete with fully stocked and expanded local produce shop. You can also visit the farm’s egg-laying hens, ducks and pigs. In the summer months there is a Maize Maze and a great pumpkin event in October.
The tea room is the perfect place to relax after picking. You can enjoy a full line of teas and coffees, as well as fresh cakes and biscuits. They also offer light fare such as pasties, pizza and sausage rolls.
If you don’t fancy picking your own fruit, there is an option to get fresh Wiltshire fruit without walking the fields. At Mayfield Organic, they gather some of the best local produce just for you - farmers combine a number of locally grown fruits in large, medium and small family-friendly crates.
Mayfield brings in a number of local growers to contribute their freshest produce. You can also purchase fresh bread, farm-raised turkeys, vegetables and fresh herbs. Their fresh produce is available for delivery – right to your cottage door.
Why pick local fruit?
Fruit picking is a great way to spend time with the family, wonderful entertainment for children and also a chance to make something tasty! Aside from this, there are other reasons why picking fresh fruit is a great idea when on holiday in the UK.
The British Growers Association is focused on raising the profile of local fruit growers. They believe that local fruit plays a key role in the British economy and helps to encourage people to buy locally grown products. The Fruit Growers Alliance (FGA) endeavours to do the same thing. As a way to thank the British public for supporting local fruit, the FGA – along with the National Farmers Union – created a video:
Fruit production is one of the strongest sectors in British agriculture. According to the British Growers Association, 40 per cent of the nation’s current fruit consumption is from produce grown in the UK, and that is going up. In an annual report from IBIS World, it was determined the fruit growing industry includes some 6,350 independent fruit growers, who are responsible for growing some 395,000 tonnes of fruit each year.
But more than just important economic factors, our passion for British fruit is about the taste. There is just something magical about biting into a fresh strawberry, or coming upon a country hedge covered in sweet blackberries. Britain simply loves its fruit.