Owners of Canalside Farm, near Stafford, announced today that they have re-opened their ‘Pick Your Own’ strawberries.
The family-run farm, who have been growing their own produce for over 35 years, say they were delighted to see visitors back on the farm, enjoying themselves.
Chris Barton, owner of the farm, said: “It has been a very challenging few months for everyone, so we were absolutely thrilled to see people back on the farm having a great day out. It has been one of the hottest May’s on record, and with the children at home, I think people were desperate to get out and about again, and to do something ‘normal’.
“We have put strict safety measures in place and had a few ‘trial runs’, so we are confident that our new systems ensure that everyone is safe and adhering to all the guidelines.”
And it’s no wonder everyone is keen to get out picking again, when you consider strawberries are the nation’s favourite summer fruit and we eat a staggering 150,000 tonnes of them a year!
So what can you expect if you visit the farm? Chris explains: “The access to the PYO is no longer through the Farm Shop, but outside in the fresh air, so if there is a queue, people can easily stand two metres apart.
“A member of staff is on hand to greet people, and show each ‘household’ to their designated ‘lane’, where they are the only people picking on that row. Once they have picked their strawberries, they can pay at the outside till, that has a contactless card machine.”
Better still, Canalside’s strawberries are grown under cover in polytunnels and on table tops, so they can be picked whatever the weather, and you don’t even have to bend down to pick them!
Chris continues: “We grow our strawberries in a protected environment on raised up beds (called table tops), so they are very easy to pick from pushchairs or wheelchairs. It also means they are frost protected and enables us to give customers an extended Strawberry season, from May right through until October.”
The farm is also hoping to open their PYO raspberries at the end of July and PYO pumpkins in October.
If you would like to visit the farm, the PYO is open daily from 10am to 3pm, but please check their Facebook page before making a special trip, as occasionally they have to close, if all the strawberries have been picked.
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Their café is currently closed, but there is a new take-way hut, serving light refreshments such as coffee, cakes and sandwiches, which is open every day from 10am – 3.30pm.
The farm is located in Great Haywood, just 6 miles outside Stafford (postcode ST18 0RQ).
For further information please telephone 01889 881747 or log onto the their website www.canalsidefarm.co.uk.Enjoy more Towpath Talk reading in the monthly paper. Click here to subscribe.