Where to Pick Strawberries and Find Your Own Oranges
If you feel the need to go back to your hunter-gatherer roots,fruit picking might just do the trick. As a fun way for children and grownups to spend a day out in the fresh air, the chance to eat as much delicious fruit as you can fit into your basket (or cram into your mouth while you walk) is as much of a reward as the actual picking process itself.
With the huge number of organic farms and orchards popping up all over the country, picking your own fruit is also a good way to do your bit for the environment and avoid those nasty pesticides. The best part is that you can enjoy a day in the orchards in winter or summer, depending on your fruit of choice.
Mouth already starting to water at the thought of all that vitamin loaded goodness? Here’s what you need to know before you go.
When to Go
First up, you need to know which fruit is available during each season. You may vaguely remember learning about seasonal fruit in Geography, but in case you missed that lesson, here is a reminder. Oranges are a citrus fruit, which are in season during the winter and spring months. Browsing the orchards is therefore best between April and November. The height of winter is often the best time to pick your own oranges however, as the first batches are long gone by then, giving way to the peak of the orange season.
Strawberries on the other hand are a hybrid fruit, grown during the summer months. As they are grown in fields, the best time to find the most succulent strawberries is November. In hot, dry regions such as Cape Town, the dry climate can lead to reduced crops as summer hits its peak, so be sure to go while the pickings are good.
Where to Go
Now that you know when to go, you can decide where to begin your fruit picking adventure. You will more than likely find fruit farms in every town within South Africa is you look hard enough, but to make things easier, we have selected a few of the best places to pick fresh fruit in the provinces of Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape. SA Fruit Farms also has a complete guide to fruit farms across the country if you are seeking something in another part of South Africa.
Fruit picking in Cape Town offers a number of excellent options, with strawberry farms and beautiful orchards both to be found. Options to try include the following:
- PolkadraaiFarmstall–Strawberry picking can be enjoyedMonday to Sunday from 09:00 – 16:30. Polkadraaiis on the VlaebergRoad between Kuils River and Stellenbosch. Contact 021 881 3303 for details.
- Mooiberge Farm Stall – Enjoy freshly picked strawberries from 08:00 – 18:00 every day of the week. The farm is on the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset-West. Contact 021 881 3222 for details.
- Piket-bo-Berg – This sleepy mountain village lies above the town of Piketberg in Overberg region, which lies along the N7. While many of the orange farms are private, if you are lucky enough you may get a chance to savour some of the best citrus fruit in the Cape.
Fruit picking in Gauteng mostly offers the chance to find strawberries, while oranges prove to be more elusive. Indulge your passion for strawberries and cream by visiting the following:
- The Strawberry Farm – The farm is situated on Tangaroa Farm, S46 on R560 near Hartbeespoort Dam. There is also a horse trail and other facilities. Contact 012 207 1116 for times and dates.
- Meadowcroft Berry Farm – This farm has strawberries and many other berries. It is situated Magaliesburg on the West Rand. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for hours.
KwaZulu-Natal fruit picking is a whole different experience, as this region grows tropical fruit. If you are in the mood for something different, why not try litchi picking?
- Cane Cutter’s Resort – Situated near Ballito in KwaZulu-Natal, this is where you can pick your own succulent litchis. Contact 032 947 0851 for details.
While it may be a challenge to be at the right place at the right time, the rewards the come from fruit picking in South Africa are too good to ignore – when your favourite fruit is in season, go forth and pick it!