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A berry sweet way to spend the day

A berry sweet way to spend the day

Credit: JESSICA EDEN

Berry-picking season is arriving soon at Heeman's and other local fruit farms.


Jessica Eden | Interrobang | Culture | May 27th, 2016




Now that summertime has arrived, so has the berry-picking season. Fresh fruit is a summer essential that can be eaten fresh, frozen or used in jams, pies and drinks. Why not skip the trip to the grocery store and make an outing of picking your own fruit? Buying local not only supports local businesses but also guarantees fresher products. Pick-your-own also allows you the freedom to pick the fruit that you want and avoids baskets half-full of rotting fruit. There are many fruit farms in London and the surrounding area, the closest being Heeman's, Kustermans and Millar Berry Farms.

Heeman's is mainly known for its wide variety of strawberries and separate building garden centre. Located just off of Dundas, this strawberry farm features different types of strawberries throughout the season such as Wendy, Jewel, Mira and Albion and includes a free wagon ride to the field. The garden centre has an indoor and outdoor section that has different weekly flower, shrub and vegetable features. The garden center also has a large selection of gardening tools, lawn products and plant seeds. Heeman's is located at 20422 Nissouri Road and is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

Kustermans offers blueberry and raspberry picking as well as birthday parties, group tours, a farm market and farmyard animal visits. The farm market has baked goods, kitchen tools, refreshments and souvenirs that you can pick up at the end of your visit. The website even has a tool called the “Daily Crop Report” that describes the ripeness and quantity of the fruit. Summer tours include activities especially aimed towards young children including riding the ziplines, playing on the playground and visiting the various farm animals. Kustermans is located at 23188 Springwell Road. Opening hours vary depending on the month.

Millar Berry Farms has a large selection of pick-your-own fruit such as cherries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches and currants. The time frame in which these fruits are available are displayed in the “timeline” section on their website. The strawberries are ready for picking in early June to mid July and the raspberries are in season between early July to mid August, making berry picking an all-summer event. Their market opens at the same time as the farm: 10 a.m., and is dependent on the weather. The market sells already-picked fruits and vegetables picked straight from the farm. Millar Berry Farms is located at 7375 Longwoods Road and can be reached on their social media pages.

Note that all fruit-picking times and dates are dependent on weather and individual farms so make sure to check their website or social media page to see when they are open. Don't forget to wear bug spray, sunscreen and bring water. Happy picking.
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