The smell of fruit, the warmth of the sun. What says summer better than picking your own tasty berries on a glorious sunny day? A visit to a Pick Your Own farm is a great way to spend some time with the family, enjoy the fresh air and teach kids about where our food comes from.

Here’s a list of the places to Pick Your Own in Essex and the surrounding area:

Lathcoats Farm, Chelmsford
Beehive Ln, Great Baddow, Chelmsford CM2 8LX
Opens mid-June to August
Lathcoats is a third generation family farm in Gallywood, Essex. Fruits that are usually available to Pick Your Own at varying times from mid-June to August include strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, cherries, plums, blackberries, and boysenberries. The farm also grows over 40 different types of apple, which can be tested before you buy as they come into season. On-site there is an award-winning farm shop, the Bee Shed Coffee House selling fresh coffee and homemade cakes. Kids will love the farms’ goats, pigs and donkeys, new natural play area, and pedal toy tractors.

McLauchlans of Boxted Fruit Farm, Colchester
53 Straight Rd, Boxted, Colchester CO4 5RB
Opens around early June
McLauchlans of Boxted is open seven days a week from 9am – 6pm. At varying times in the growing season, you can pick strawberries, gooseberries, broad beans, jam strawberries, raspberries, dessert gooseberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants and sweetcorn. Staff will be on hand during the day to direct you to the best areas to pick that day and do a pre-pick weigh of your empty containers. Freshly picked fruit is also available in the farm shop during high season. They accept debit and credit cards when you spend over £5.

Carpenters Farm, Colchester
St Mary’s Road, Aingers Green, Colchester, Essex, CO7 8NJ
Opens around June to August
One of the few original and surviving PYOs in Essex, Carpenters Farm offer pick your own strawberries, gooseberries, tayberries and plums. Bring your own container (remembering to have it weighed in the shop first) or use one of the farm’s baskets. The farm shop stocks a wide range of home grown, local and regionally sourced food and drink. Meals are available in the cafe. The farm also sells coal and compost.

Park Fruit Farm, Frinton-on-Sea
Pork Lane, Great Holland, nr Frinton-on-sea, Essex CO13 0ES
Opens mid-June to November
Open Monday to Saturday from 9am – 5pm, Park Fruit Farm grows blackberries, 3 varieties of raspberries, 4 varieties of pears, 10 varieties of plums and damsons, and 39 varieties of apples. Available for Pick Your Own are the black berries and raspberries from mid-June and the plums from mid/late July (call ahead to check what’s ready for picking). This small family run farm also has a farm shop where they sell the majority of all the fruit they grow as well as other local farm produce such as honey and meats.

Wash Farm, Halstead
Queen St, Sible Hedingham, Halstead CO9 3RH
Opens Seasonal Farm Shop and Pick-Your-Own site from mid/late April through to early August.
Wash Farm is small family farm set on Colne River in the petty Sible Hedingham all about returning to nature. Everything is sold directly to the public with an emphasis on great service. As they come into season throughout the summer, you should be able to PYO strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants and cherries. Asparagus can also be purchased fresh, usually from early April until late June.

Spencer’s Farm Shop, Halstead
Park Road, Halstead CO9 2PX
Opens June to September
Established in 1973, PYO fruit and veg includes strawberries (at tables top height for easy picking), gooseberries, raspberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, blackberries, loganberries, tayberries, plums, cherries, runner beans, sweetcorn, and courgettes. Asparagus, apples and pumpkins can also be purchased (picked by staff) at the farm during their growing seasons. There is also a coffee shop and a large play area for children including a sandpit, climbing frame, vintage tractor and ride on tractors. In May 2016 they opened a small petting farm with goats, rabbits, guinea pigs and chickens. The farm won Farm Shop of the Year 2016 in the Essex Life Food & Drink Awards.

Little Mountains Farm, Great Totham
Mountains Road, Great Totham, Maldon, Essex, CM9 8BY
Open June & July for PYO
On the farm, families can pick their own strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries, blackberries. You can either take along your own container or purchase a basket from the farm. Children can see the live pigs and turkeys and picnics in the car park are permitted.

Craner Produce, Waltham Abbey
Common Rd, Roydon, Waltham Abbey, Essex EN9 2DF
Opens August
No longer offering soft fruits for PYO, this farm is still growing plums, apples and damsons which should be ready for picking in August. On-site parking is plentiful and free, but there is no cafe or picnicking permitted so eat before you arrive!

Cammas Hall Fruit Farm, nr Bishops Stortford
Hatfield Broad Oak, Near Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, CM22 7JT
Opens around the end of May
Pick your own fruits and vegetables during their growing seasons, including strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants, sweetcorn & onions. You can also buy ready picked cherries and sunflowers. On-site is a tea barn, farm shop, maize maze (August to October), nature trail and children’s play area.

Parkside Pick Your Own Farm, Enfield
Hadley Road, Enfield, EN2 8LA
Opens early-mid June to October
Set just north of Enfield, just over the Essex/London border, the farm grows a wide range of PYO fruits and vegetables, including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, black currents, and redcurrants. Vegetables include broad beans, french beans, spinach, courgettes, onions, beetroots, squashes, marrows, tomatoes, and sweetcorn. ‘Table-top strawberries The on-site shops sell cold drink, ice-creams and a few other sweet treats. Accessible toilet and ample parking, but no picnics are permitted on the fields. Minimum spend is £4 per person.

Stanhill Farm Shop, Dartford
The Farm House, Birchwood Rd, Dartford DA2 7HD
Stanhill Farm is a family run farm in Wilmington, Kent, just outside London. During the PYO season, they grow strawberries, raspberries, sweetcorn, runner beans, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, black tomatoes, sunflowers, blackcurrants, blackberries, broad beans, pumpkins. In addition to the seasonal Pick Your Own, Stanhill also has a farm shop which is open all year round, a Maize Maze and Pumpkin Patch.