Summer is here and so are the strawberries! Tennis last week at The Nature Valley Nottingham Open had put me in the mood for some fresh strawberries. Luckily, just down the road from me in the small village of Heather there’s the perfect place to grab some.
Cattows Farm is a place that I discovered pretty much instantly when I made the move to North-West Leicestershire. In addition to the top quality farm shop, they also have tearooms and an enclosure with goats and sheep. If you have kids, there’s also a play area right beside the shop. It’s a real gem in the local area.
Cattows host the annual Strawberry Fields festival – a popular music event that draws a large crowd. We arrived interested in the actual strawberry fields themselves. Rolling up the farm track and entering the rapidly-filling car park, we went off in search of strawberries.
You can grab punnets in various different sizes from just outside the entrance to the farm shop or a basket if you plan to pick quite a lot. We got a punnet that I estimated should hold the capacity for a good kilo.
Strawberries aren’t the only attraction here. Gooseberries were also available to pick on our visit with raspberries, blackcurrants and and redcurrants starting later at the beginning of July. We made the quick stroll down the farm track to the huge field housing various varieties of strawberry.
A top tip when strawberry picking is to head well away from other pickers and target the very back of the field. There you will find ruby red specimens that kick the ass of any supermarket strawberry. We found the Korona and Elegance varieties to be the best looking out of the many available.
While many people turned and wondered why 1. We were in the distance and 2. We were taking photographs of our haul, we set about filling our punnet to the brim. The joy of strawberry picking is that you can get whatever size you like. I wanted some for a recipe which meant I needed larger, juicer types for a sorbet and smaller for presentation.
As we left the field we found many people heading towards where we had just come from, no doubt a glistening punnet of top class strawberries had a hand in their decision. You simply take what you have picked (and not eaten on the way round!) to the farm shop counter. We weighed in at just under a kilo which cost £3.10, an absolute bargain.
The weather at the moment here in the UK is superb. Why not take advantage and go get yourself some top quality fruit? Strawberries are as versatile as they come. It really is a great afternoon out as many people turned up with children to have fun gathering the first strawberries of the summer.
For the price of a quality, local ingredient you can’t go wrong. We will definitely be back for more!