Pick Your Own Soft Fruit

Rows of gooseberry bushes at Dovecote Farm NorthantsStrawberries and Soft Fruit

From early June until August we have a vast array of soft fruits available for you to pick. The whole family can get involved and it’s great fun for the children. A large part of our strawberry crop is now grown of special “table top” containers, so you don’t have to bend your back!

On arrival, just select the container size for your needs and then our friendly staff will direct you to the best picking area. Your full containers will then be weighed and priced at the farm shop. After picking, why not take the opportunity to enjoy some refreshments in The Buttery restaurant and tea shop.

Ripening strawberries at Dovcecote PYO FarmOur soft fruit is suitable for any culinary purpose including:

  • jam and preserve making
  • red currant jelly making
  • making fruit purees for home freezing
  • simply for enjoying fresh (don’t forget the double cream!)

Dovecote Farm soft fruit picking season

Our soft fruit picking calendar is shown in the following table as a guide.

Due to the nature of the English climate, it is impossible to accurately detail when each fruit season starts and finishes.   Please call us on 01536 742227 to check availabilty

Asparagus Late April to June
Strawberries Early June to Late July (now finished for 2018 due to the weather, as stated above)
Gooseberries June to July
Raspberries Early July to Mid August
Redcurrants Mid July to Mid August
Blackcurrants July to August

By using several different varieties of fruit plant, we are able to provide a long picking season for the main type of soft fruit. Some of our strawberry crop is grown under polythene tunnels to extend the picking season and to help off-set the effect of any wet weather conditions that our British summer can often produce!

English asparagus growing at Dovecote FarmEnglish Asparagus

The English asparagus season is very short in comparison with other vegetable crops. The asparagus crop is well suited to the light, sandy soil at Dovecote Farm. Light, sandy soils warm up quickly in the spring and promote early crop growth.

Traditionally, the asparagus season starts on 24th April and ends on 21st June, but due to the fickleness of the British climate, don’t hold us to those dates! Our asparagus beds will usually produce saleable spears for 6-8 weeks.

You can recognize good quality asparagus by the uniform green colour throughout the length of the spear; a light colouring towards the bottom can indicate a fibrous tough part. This is something you won’t find with Dovecote Farm asparagus.

Our asparagus is cut early in the morning and goes on sale in Dovecote farm shop on the same day. With such a short supply chain and zero food miles, we can guarantee the freshness and quality of our asparagus.

Cutting asparagus spears requires a little bit of care and skill – and a special knife. At least we do the back-breaking work for you!

Asparagus storage tips

In the fridge

If you don’t plan on using your asparagus for a few days, simply place it in a jug of water and store in the fridge.

In the freezer

It’s advisable to blanch your spears in boiling water to kill off the plant enzymes that would cause loss of taste and colour. First clean the spears thoroughly and leave whole or cut into shorter pieces as required. As a general rule, boil thin spears for 2 minutes, medium spears for 3 minutes and boil the thick spears for 4 minutes. Cool rapidly under cold water and pack into freezer bags.