Seven Places to Pick Your Own Summer Berries
Berry-picking is such a simple delight and always a highlight of the Kiwi summer
There’s more to this classic activity than just picking the fruit — the fights that break out when two of you spot the supreme strawberry, the inability to resist having one (or five) from your bucket and the safeguarding of heaped bags during the trip home are all part of the fun.
Here are Viva's picks of top spots for picking berries, plus recipe ideas for using them.
Ruakura Berry Farm, Hamilton
Fossick through the long rows of strawberries at Ruakara Berry Farm and stop in for a coffee, pie, or real fruit ice cream afterwards if you've worked up an appetite. If you can resist them long enough to get them home, you could try this recipe for Healthy Rocky Road Icecream with them.
Blueberry Country, Ngatea, Ohaupo and Otautau
The name speaks for itself — Blueberry Country prides itself on being the largest blueberry orchard in New Zealand. They're open to the public from December to February, so there’s absolutely no chance of you missing out. Gather up a group and make a decent day trip out of this one, and you'll be feasting on the spoils for weeks.
The Troost Family Strawberry Fields, Coatesville
It would be a good idea to time your visit to the Troost Family strawberry farm with a visit to the Coatesville Market for a full day of wholesome fun. They're open seven days from 9-5 and you'll find them at 114 Sunnyside Rd.
Phil Greig Strawberry Gardens, Kumeu
This popular spot in Kumeu opens to the public every summer, this year from December 26. We suggest bringing along the biggest bucket you can find, or you can always pick one up when you get there. They guarantee the sweetest strawberries all summer long — so plan your visit trip soon so you can get in there before the rest of Auckland does. Head along to 464 SH16, Kumeu.
Sweet Red Gourmet, Helensville
This is the farm famous for its fresh strawberry icecream, and it's conveniently close to Auckland too. Sweet Red has 40ha of strawberries to pick from, which ensures that you’ll be leaving with a full bucket and likely a full stomach. Always do the picking first and reward your team with a refreshing treat to end the day. Open from December 26 to February 6.
Julians Berry Farm and Cafe, Whakatane
Pick raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, boysenberries and rare Ranui berries at this Whakatane farm. Include this as a must-visit if you’re planning a Bay of Plenty/East Cape road trip over summer. There's plenty to keep the children entertained at Julians too, including an animal farm, playground and a mini-golf course — and don't leave without trying one of the berry icecreams.
The Strawberry Patch, Havelock North
If you are heading to Hawke's Bay, call into this iconic spot, which is surrounded by beautiful scenery. Considering that the region has an abundance of fresh produce — and plenty of sunshine — the berries here may just be the best of the bunch. The Strawberry Patch claims its berries are some of the largest around, so you’ll likely be travelling home with heavy buckets.