Berry Good: Strawberry picking at Charleton Farm
It’s become somewhat of a tradition of ours in the summer months to drive out to a fruit farm to pick our own strawberries. Not only does it get everyone outside, but it’s a great opportunity to teach the boys about where fruit and veg comes from and the process of how the foods they love end up on their plates. There’s a real satisfaction filling up a few baskets in the fields and the berries always taste better than anything you can buy from the supermarket!
Over the years we’ve visited a few fruit farms up here in Scotland, but one of our favourites has to be Charleton Farm, a family run business where you can pick your own fruit, grab a bite to eat in the cafe (converted from an old barn and stables), browse around the gift shop, and let the kids play in the large, enclosed play zone. It’s one of those places that you want to tell your friends about and visit time and time again!
It’s a lovely scenic drive to the farm, just 1 mile north of the coastal town of Montrose which sits between Dundee and Aberdeen. Even on a popular summer weekend, the farm is well managed with plenty of parking and space. Throughout the year there are a number of seasonal events to get involved with from Easter egg hunts and haunted pumpkins at Halloween to choosing your home grown Christmas tree in December.
Pick Your Own starts in Spring and depending on the season you’ll find a range of berries which are all available to pick yourself. The boys love nothing more than to roam the fields, happily hunting for the juiciest strawberries they can find (often taste testing a few when no-one’s looking). Multisensory learning is one of the best ways to help kids absorb new teachings, allowing them to see, touch, taste, and smell all helps them connect and form a deeper understanding of their world.
If, like us, you end up picking too much, we like to share some with our neighbours or store the extras in the freezer to enjoy later. However, if you’re looking for another fun summer activity then why not have a go at making some homemade jam! We love this simple Jamie Oliver recipe - It tastes incredible and takes under an hour to whip up.
Charleton Farm’s cafe is another highlight. Everything on the menu sounds delicious and there’s a tasty kids menu to cater to all ages. If it’s a nice day you can enjoy your meal al fresco, however, there’s plenty of seating indoors too and even a cosy little play area for the kids to hang out whilst you’re waiting for your meals.
Free for customers is the incredible outdoor play area! It’s enclosed, so kids can run free safely and has everything from trampolines, a sand pit full of trucks, hay bails, go-karts, a football pitch, a large castle, summer houses, and lots of toys and trikes for the kids to play with. If you’ve managed to find a comfy spot, there’s also a small hut where you can buy drinks as well as ice cream.
Whilst it’s tricky persuading the kids to leave after such a great day out, our boys are always chuffed that they can head home with something to show for their efforts. Plus, it’s never long before we’re back with our empty baskets, ready to stock up again!