A couple of years ago a hydroponic strawberry farm popped up, right in the middle of Wagga Wagga. For one reason or another I never managed to make it onto the farm during the growing season, so when I saw an advertisement announcing the opening of the farm for the year, I made a note in my diary to schedule a visit.
Strawberries rank fairly high on my favourite fruit list, so the thought of being able to access locally grown, in-season berries was pretty sweet. And this weekend past Paul and I stopped by for a spot of strawberry picking…
We arrived at the farm late morning, after a night of rain and storms. I was a little worried the farm might be a bit muddy underfoot (making pushing a pram a bit of a nightmare), but apart from a few impressive puddles at the farm’s entrance there were no worries.
After paying an entrance fee ($3 for myself, Paul was free) and selecting what sized punnet I wanted to fill (small $5 and large $20), I was given a pair of freshly sanitised scissors and introduced to Michael, one of the owners of the farm.
He showed me to my row of plants, gave me a brief lesson in strawberry picking, and encouraged me to ‘eat as I go’ (no chemicals are used on the fruit, so they’re safe to eat straight off the plant). For the next half an hour or so, I picked to my heart’s content.
The farm’s very near the Murrumbidgee River and a local wetland, that’s always teeming with birds. It was so peaceful to be outside amongst the plants, listening to the local birdlife. The day was quite overcast and a touch cool, so Paul and I were only one of a few groups at the farm, which also added to tranquility of the visit.
Paul has never been much of a fan of strawberries, but he easily gobbled up at least half a dozen freshly picked berries, pink juice running down his chubby chin and onto his t-shirt. He obviously knows a good strawberry when he tastes one and I have to admit, it’ll be pretty hard to ever go back to supermarket berries after tasting the locally grown ones. They were sweet, luscious and fragrant. The berries themselves glossy, firm and delicious straight off the plant.
Having never grown strawberries myself I also found it interesting to see how the fruit develop: from flowers to green fruit, then bright, ripe berries.
Facilities are pretty basic on the farm, but you are able to get a tea or coffee on site, as well as strawberry ice-cream, sorbet and chocolate covered strawberries. Paul was ready for a nap by the time we finished filling out punnet, so there were no sweet treats on this particular visit. But I’ve got a feeling I’ll be visiting the farm again soon… and I think a strawberry ice-cream will be in order then.
Directions, visit options and pricing can all be found on Bidgee Strawberries and Cream’s website.
Have a wonderful week.