Pick only ripe fruit!
Ripe fruit tastes much better than half-ripe fruit. Generally un-ripe or half ripe fruit will not ripen satisfactorily once it has been picked. Strawberries should be red rather than orange.
Similarly raspberries should be deep red rather than pink. Blackcurrants should be fully black with no green on them. Blackberries should be fully black with no red on them.
Cherries should be a deep red colour and the flesh should look plump. Plums should be well coloured and be starting to slightly soften.
Handle the fruit carefully!
Correct picking technique will ensure your fruit is undamaged and will greatly increase its shelf-life. Strawberries are particularly vulnerable to damage.
When picking strawberries do NOT grip the berry with the finger-tips, instead gently support the berry in the palm of your hand while pinching the stalk between your thumb and forefinger.
If your thumb nail is sharp enough you can cut the stalk with it, if it is not avoid pulling on the stalk as this will probably pull off a whole bunch of unripe fruit.
In this case hold the stalk between thumb and forefinger of one hand while breaking it with the thumb and forefinger of the other hand.
Leave the stalks on the berries until just before serving as removing them will inevitably bruise the fruit and it will start to go mushy very quickly. Cherries should also be picked by the stalks and the stalks left on. Take care not to break any woody spurs off with the stalks as this will reduce the crop next year.
This year we are only allowing pickers to use our own containers to avoid increased handling and therefore potential contamination. If you have one of plastic buckets or cardboard baskets from previous years you are welcome to bring it to pick into. Or we can supply them.
These are very sturdy and are able to be used again and again.