Join us on a pick your own strawberries adventure as we explore the freshest Granite Belt strawberries and indulge in farm-fresh delights. Our blog reveals everything you need to know about strawberry picking on the Granite Belt. Come and enjoy a day of harvesting happiness.
The Granite Belt strawberries experienceThe proof is in the tasting, say the farmers at Stanthorpe on the Granite Belt, who throw open their gates to visitors during strawberry season for a hands-on strawberry farm experience. When you bite into one of these strawberries after plucking it from the field yourself, not only will you know exactly where it came from, but you will also be rewarded with the true strawberry taste from which childhood dreams are made. The pick-your-own strawberry season lasts from October to May. It is a great time to visit this region, which is about a two-hour drive from Brisbane.
Photo: Kerry Heaney enjoys an Ashbern Farms strawberry sundae. Photo: Christina Pfieffer, Travel2Next.
Tips for Strawberry PickingPicking strawberries can be a fun and rewarding experience. Here are some tips to make your strawberry picking adventure more enjoyable:
- Dress Appropriately: Wear comfortable clothing and shoes suitable for outdoor activities. It’s a good idea to wear closed-toe shoes that you don’t mind getting a little dirty. Don’t forget a hat and sunscreen if you’re picking in the sun.
- Inspect the Berries: Look for plump, firm, and fully red berries. Avoid berries that are underripe or overripe. They should have a rich red colour with no white or green areas.
- Gently Twist and Pull: To harvest a strawberry, hold the stem just above the berry and gently twist and pull. Avoid pulling the berries too hard, as this can damage the plant and surrounding berries.
- Go Low: Don’t forget to check for hidden gems near the ground. Some of the sweetest berries can be found closer to the base of the plant.
- Respect the Plants: Be careful not to damage the strawberry plants while picking. Be gentle and avoid stepping on the plants or leaning on the beds.
- Taste Test: If the farm allows it, feel free to sample a strawberry or two while you pick. This is a great way to ensure you’re getting the sweetest berries.
- Follow Farm Rules: Respect the rules and guidelines set by the farm, including any restrictions on where you can pick, payment methods, and any other policies they have in place.
- Stay Hydrated: Depending on the weather, strawberry picking can be hard work. Be sure to bring water to stay hydrated.
- Enjoy the Experience: Strawberry picking is not just about the fruit; it’s also a fun outdoor activity. Enjoy the fresh air, beautiful surroundings, and the satisfaction of picking your own strawberries.
- Plan for Preservation: If you plan to preserve or store your strawberries, handle them gently to prevent bruising. Refrigerate them as soon as possible, and use or process them within a few days. A cooler pack or esky in the car will keep them cool on the way home, if you don’t eat them first!
Ashbern Farms, StanthorpeI had the best strawberry sundae I have ever tasted at the Ashbern Farms’ cafe. They have a secret trick of using locally produced Lira Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar on the strawberries in the sundae, and it amplifies the sweet strawberry flavours beautifully. I would drive from Brisbane to Stanthorpe, just to eat one of these. (I would have to have a piece of Sutton’s apple pie as well.) Brendon Hoyle says what surprises most people when they visit their strawberry farm is the taste of the freshly picked fruit. It is all thanks to the cold nights combined with sunny days, which enhances the natural sweetness of the berries. “Strawberries taste so much better at room temperature and even better when they have been in the sun. They taste very different when they are straight off the farm, and we often see families where kids have said they don’t like strawberries but are converted when they have tried the fresh ones,” says Hoyle.
Here’s how they pick strawberries at Ashbern Farms at Stanthorpe.With a young family themselves, the Hoyles know the joys of sharing the farm experience with kids. The Hoyles believe is important for kids to see the whole paddock-to-plate sequence. At the farm, one can see the growing process, from the tiny little strawberry forming inside the flower to the strawberries where the petals are falling away. Children love eating the ripe red fruit they pick. Take the Ashbern Farms challenge to hunt the strawberry patches for the largest strawberry and possibly enter the Hall of Fame for the Ashbern Super Size Strawberries! The largest strawberry found on the farm so far weighed a whopping 50 grams. Part of the farm visit is often a treat at the farm café, where strawberry ice cream, made on the premises, tops waffles for the most favourite dish. If you love this farm-to-plate experience, stop for the best apple pie you’ll ever taste at Sutton’s Apple Farm.