Strawberry Picking at Sweet Red Strawberries Whenuapai
Summertime is fruit picking time here in New Zealand, it’s a time where families and friends drive to farms to pick and choose their own fruits. One of the popular fruits to pick during this season are strawberries and most of the near locations in Auckland can be found within the North Shore as well as West Auckland areas. One of these areas is the Massey Gardens and Orchard.
Massey Gardens and Orchard is a large strawberry farm approximately 27 ha in size making them the largest producers of strawberry in New Zealand. They also produce a very popular variant called the Sweet Red, Sensationally Sweet and Scrumptious Little Sweeties. These strawberries are of high quality and really sweet. You can find them in Supermarkets, Fruit Shops and even in Flea Markets like the one in Takapuna.
I tried their strawberries from the Flea Markets and today it’s time to pick our own from their farm. It’s just 20km from Central Auckland so if you have a car then by 20 minutes you will be in their premises. Located in Fred Taylor Drive of Massey North it’s quite hard to miss as their farm building is big and signs are everywhere. Parking is ample and paved so you won’t have to worry about this.
On premises you can either enjoy their ice cream first or go ahead picking your own strawberries, I suggest the latter so you can enjoy your ice cream while relaxing on one of their umbrella sheds.
Before picking your fruits remember to use a lot of sun screen as the sun in New Zealand is quite strong, have some good shoes and a hat. Like any fruit picking you will be handed a bucket per person and the price last time I’ve been there was $8.00 a kilogram. There are a lot of strawberry patches if I can remember there were 15 so you won’t run out of strawberries even if you see a lot of visitors.
The place is quite large and usually the patches at the end are the rarely visited ones as they are far from the main entrance. Going there will ensure you of big sized strawberries but regardless of the size as long as it’s so bright red their strawberries are sweet. You can try it while picking and I guess it’s safe because we did try some while where on the patch (shhhhhh!) and according to their website they use an Integrated Pest Management System (IPMS) where possible and by doing so they are able to ensure the lowest possible use of chemicals on the farm.
After picking you then head back to the place where the buckets are handed over and they weigh your harvest, usually beginners will be really excited and pick a lot (that was me 7 years ago) and if you do so just put anything you can’t finish in 3-4 days in the freezer so you can use them for smoothies later on.
Now it’s time to have those swirly ice creams and definitely in this summer season you will expected to see quite a long queue. Ice creams here are mixed in front of you where plain vanilla ice creams are mixed with their sweet strawberries, a really nice treat to beat the summer heat. Apart from ice creams they also serve smoothies, milkshakes and frozen yoghurt all using their sweet strawberries.
While at the place you can also go to their viewing area where you can see how your strawberries are graded and packaged. You can also buy pre packed strawberries as well as occasional vegetables in premises.
Overall it’s a nice experience especially for families, friends and especially kids, they will love picking them and knowing where these berries come from. Picking your own usually starts on Boxing Day (December 26) and open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, then the close on Waitangi Day (6th February) preparing you next batch of strawberries for the next year. So right now you still have a few more days to wait and plan your visit and after that you will definitely have some strawberries to use and if you do try out some of the recipes here that uses them.
Sweet Red Strawberries
Address: 45 Fred Taylor Drive, Whenuapai, Auckland 0814, New Zealand
Phone: +649 416 8262
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