One of my best friends said to me the other week, “I’m sick of spending all my money in Tesco – food, petrol, alcohol, cosmetics ... Krispy Kremes!” Krispy Kremes aside she does have a point.
When I was growing up, my mum got her fruit and vegetables from the greengrocer, meat from the butcher and our milk was delivered by the milkman each morning. At the time there was only one large supermarket in town. As the years went by and more and more supermarkets invaded, the local greengrocers, butchers and milkmen disappeared with people preferring to use the ‘all under one roof’ supermarkets.
That got me thinking, perhaps I should start to try and shop more locally, more seasonably, more fresh. I’m in no way preaching (don’t get me wrong, I am guilty of using Tesco to purchase my weekly essentials; it’s convenient) and it’s not a new concept – we’ve all heard it before from various celebrity chefs, but maybe if I did, it would put some fun into buying food, especially as me and Mister Murf both love cooking (he cooks, I bake).
I started researching local shops and food in and around the City and was surprised at all the things I found, so a few Saturdays ago, we decided to go fruit picking!
I’ve never been fruit picking before, Mister Murf used to go all the time as a child, but I never did, I’ve always wanted to give it a go.
It felt like a bit of an adventure as we drove just over 10 miles outside of Manchester to Poynton Fruit Farm, a family-run, Pick Your Own (PYO) farm. For once the weather was beautiful and the sun was shining (fantastic considering the downpours the day before). The farm is located on Coppice Road and there are signs on the road to direct you.
When we arrived, there were quite a few people already there eagerly picking away, from couples to full families. Some of the children made us laugh with their faces and t-shirts full of strawberry juice; you just know that there were more going in their mouths than in their baskets, but there were happy smiles all round and we couldn’t wait to get started.
“Oh decisions, decisions on what to pick” I said to Mister Murf as we donned our wellies. There were so many fruits and varieties of each to choose from - gooseberries, strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb and currents.
The fields looked beautiful bathed in the sunshine and all the fruits are well sign posted, so it’s easy for novice pickers like me.
We decided on strawberries and rhubarb. Handy little signs explained the different strawberry varieties and their qualities, such a lovely and informative touch.
It was brilliant rummaging through the countless plants in our quest to find the perfectly ripened strawberries. I think secretly Mister Murf and I were having a little competition on who could pick the biggest, best looking strawberry, we are both quite competitive.
We took a little detour to visit the chickens and pigs. Although we didn’t see any pigs, we watched the chickens for a while, some even posing for a photo. They looked like very happy chickens indeed, free to roam and bask in the sun.
When our baskets were full, all that picking had worked up an appetite, so we decided to relax on the benches and treat ourselves to some of Ruth’s homemade ice cream which is made from fruit from the farm and on sale at the shop. I am not just saying this, but it was the freshest, most delicious strawberry ice cream I have ever tasted.
There was an array of other produce from the farm available to buy at the shop, so we also bought some gammon steaks, chicken eggs (from the chickens we had visited), duck eggs and cream.
What a fantastic and fun way to spend a sunny afternoon and very satisfying knowing you have picked your own fruit.
I was excited and my mind was full of ideas about what I was going to make with the rhubarb and strawberries. Stay tuned as it’ll be in my next post!
From what I understand there’s not much longer left of the picking season, so pop in for a visit whilst you can, it’s well worth it.