On a grey sunday morning in mid October, we headed up to Swanmore in Hampshire to visit Hill Farm Orchards on their pick your own Apples open weekend. I didn’t know what to expect because it seems to be the first year they have done this event, but I saw a post on Facebook, and I’m not about to miss out on a chance to do a traditional Autumn activity now am I?
It ended up being not only a really lovely hour or so picking fruit as a family, but it also led to one of my favourite sets of photos that I’ve taken this year. I’m such a sucker for Autumn colours and those Pear trees are just beautiful.
The orchards are absolutely gorgeous with rows of pear trees as well as a few different varieties of Apple trees such as cox, gala and braeburn.
All of the children loved pulling the fruit from the trees, with Mabel and Greta hunting for the best and biggest looking examples they could find and Ernie just going for whatever was closest to his hands. He was our most enthusiastic fruit picker though and was particularly determined that every apple and pear had to go into the bag, even the slightly rotten ones he found on the floor unfortunately! He stomped around the orchard shouting ‘APPLE!! BAAAAAAG!!’ and clutching one in each hand most of the time.
The fruit was priced at £1 per kilo and we filled a bag for life type shopper which ended up as 8 kilos… probably more fruit than we really needed but certain members of the family got a bit carried away :cough: Ernie :cough:.
On the way out we stopped by the Hill Farm Juice stand to sample a few of their different apple juices and let the children pick their favourite to take a bottle home of. The cloudy apple won the day which was absolutely delicious and didn’t even make it to the fridge at home before being guzzled down by a thirsty family!
We’ve been talking about the yearly cycle of a tree, seeds, fruit and seed dispersal, so this was another lovely opportunity to see it in action on a very grand (and beautiful) scale. When we got home we cut open the pears and apples to compare the insides and the seeds and we had a go at sketching, painting and labelling our own apples and pears in our nature journals (and of course having a little/a lot of a taste).
It really warms my heart to see my children taking the utmost delight in the such a simple thing and we were all so excited, feeling like we’d stumbled upon a bit of a hidden gem because although there were a few other families there it was perfectly quiet compared to the chaos of the pumpkin field that we visited later that same day.
So…. I’m not sure whether I really want to tell you this but I did see an announcement on their facebook page that they would be making the Pick your Own even an annual thing so you should probably go and follow them there if you don’t want to miss out next year…. but don’t tell too many people!
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