Guest post by Rectory Farm PYO
With our beautiful homegrown strawberries, raspberries and sweetcorn set to be with us well into September, we still have several glorious weeks ahead for PYO. Days out are different these days, and if we’re planning an excursion we want to make the most of it. So, we’ve put together some tips for getting the very best out of your trip to Rectory Farm. See you soon!
How to PYO:
1. Bring your own fruit punnet to help us reduce plastic waste
If you’re a regular customer, keep your recyclable plastic punnets from your last visit and bring them back next time to fill them up again. We’ll take any empties off your hands to wash and reuse.
2. Pack Well
- Water, suncream and sun hats (there’s little shade in our fields, and the polytunnels can get very warm in the midday sun).
- Dog leads and poo bags if you’re bringing your four-legged friend
- A picnic blanket if you fancy enjoying a post-PYO ice cream/coffee/lunch on the ground, rather than one of our picnic tables.
- A shopping list. Our Farm Shop stocks all the essentials such as milk, cheese, bread and eggs as well as a huge range of locally produced meats, fruit and vegetables – including our own freshly harvested potatoes – cooking oils and marinades, chilled dips and tapas, cooking sauces, condiments and cakes and biscuits – and much more.
3. Let us take care of lunch
Our Tractor Shack Café serves a weekly-changing selection of freshly prepared sandwiches and salads, as well as serving excellent teas and coffees, ice creams, milkshakes and fruit juices. Rectory Farm ‘Summer Hampers’ can be pre-ordered online the day before your visit if you’d like to let us take care of the catering. These boxes can be purchased for groups of four or two. The hamper varies week by week but typically comprises a hand-picked selection of fresh, homemade and local produce for the perfect summer picnic:
- 2 x prepared salads
- Freshly baked bread (ciabatta, focaccia, baguette)
- A pot of dip
- A pot of olives
- A freshly-made, savoury pie
- Selection of salami
- Large bag of crisps
- Lettuce and tomatoes
- Rectory Farm fruit
- A sweet treat for pudding
TOP TIPS FOR STRAWBERRY PICKING
- Once you hit the strawberry fields, look for deep or bright red berries without any white or green patches on them. We recommend you taste one or two strawberries along the way, to check you’re picking them the right colour!
- Try not to handle the actual berry itself too much, as strawberries bruise very easily. Cradle the fruit in the palm of your hand and nip through the stalk with your thumbnail just behind the shoulders of the fruit (leave at least a centimetre of the stalk).
- Place picked fruit gently into your punnet and avoid jamming them in, letting them get too hot, or piling them too high. Squashed strawberries won’t last as long.
- Back home, don’t wash or hull your strawberries until you’re ready to eat them. Strawberries are very absorbent and will soak up all the water they come into contact with, before swiftly turning mushy. Just hull and rinse each portion as and when they’re about to be used or eaten; they’ll taste better and last longer.
- When refrigerating, line a shallow bowl plate with several layers of kitchen roll or a clean tea towel. Place the unwashed strawberries onto a single layer on the towels, cover them over and pop into the fridge. Stored this way, your fresh strawbs will keep for several days. Lots of people swear by giving their strawberries a vinegar bath before refrigerating – this can prolong their use-by date even further!
- Making a whole day of it? Why not start or finish with one of Stanton St. John’s circular walks? Waterperry Woods and Bernwood Forest are both great spots for a leg stretch, and nearby Beckley has a great playground in the absence of our play area this summer. Check out the Facebook group ‘Footpaths, Bridleways and Walks of Forest Hill and Stanton St John’ for maps and tips – or ask any of our shop staff for recommendations, as we’re all locals ourselves!
Win a £50 PYO voucher
COMPETITION NOW CLOSED
We have a £50 PYO voucher to give away to one lucky Bitten Oxford reader. The voucher can be used on multiple visits to Rectory Farm, Oxford, and for all our PYO crops (strawberries, raspberries, sweetcorn, broad beans).
The competition closes at midnight on Monday 31st August. One winner will then be chosen at random and notified directly.