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Whetstone Pastures Farm
For a day of rural calm, visit this traditional mixed farm. Fruit is grown outdoors and in the ground. Picking now are blackcurrants, blackberries and raspberries. Small fields and traditional hedgerows make for abundant bird life, with yellowhammers, swifts, buzzards and an ancient rookery. The open-sided tea room looks out on to an ancient cattle courtyard, and there’s a wood-fired pizza oven.
Whetstone Gorse Lane, Leicester, LE8 6NB, 0116 277 4627, www.whetstonepasturesfarm.com
A farm since 1871, just 15 miles from central London. The Thompson family have farmed here for five generations – as a PYO they’ve been supplying Londoners for 30 years. There are more than 40 varieties of fruit and vegetables on offer, including apples, plums, beetroot and kohlrabi, and flowers such as sweet peas and sunflowers.
Winterdown Road, West End, Esher, Surrey, KT10 8LS, 01372 460181, www.garsons.co.uk
Home Cottage Farm
The season starts in August here, when they open up for picking autumn raspberries, plums, loganberries, damsons, blackberries and tayberries. The real draw is their collection of ancient apple and pear varieties, some grown on trees 150 years old. Try heritage varieties such as Blenheim Orange, Lord Lambourne, Laxton Fortune and Lane’s Prince Apple.
Bangors Road South, Iver Heath, Bucks, SL0 0BB, 01753 653064, www.homecottagefarm.co.uk
This ancient farm is owned by New College, Oxford, whose tenant farmers have been supplying local residents since 1539. A PYO since 1980, it was the PYO farm of the year in 2012. The season starts with asparagus but extends into September with raspberries, blackberries, beetroot, broad beans and carrots.
Pound Lane Stanton St John, Oxford, OX331HF, 01865 351677, rectoryfarmpyo.co.uk
With fruit arranged on a tabletop bed system, picking your own has never been easier. Farmed by the same family since 1938, Parkside offers strawberries that crop through August, as well as raspberries, blackberries, plums and blackcurrants and vegetables such as broad beans, spinach and Swiss chard.
Hadley Road, Enfield, Middlesex, EN2 8LA, 020 8367 2035, www.parksidefarmpyo.co.uk
Jojo Tulloh is author of ‘The Modern Peasant’ (Chatto & Windus, £16.99)