There is much pleasure to be had in harvesting your own fruit and vegetables and more of us are now finding the confidence in growing our own and becoming more self-sufficient.
Growing your own is a great activity for all the family, not only does it provide enormous satisfaction when you cook your first harvest of vegetables, but it allows the whole family to re connect with nature and children to learn the importance of healthy eating, not to mention the nutritional benefits of freshly picked fruit and vegetables.
Pick your own
If you don’t have the space for a veggie patch or own an allotment, you can still reap the benefits of local produce by visiting a pick-your-own farm such as Pickwell Farm in Netley. With over 1000 PYO farms in the UK, the farms and farm shops sell a variety of local produce supporting local farmers and suppliers.
The best time to visit pick-your-owns is later in the week or early on a weekend to avoid the rush and to get the best of the crop. Pick your own is a great family activity in the outdoors – you don’t get to hear the birds sing in the supermarket! And an education opportunity with ‘Guess the fruit and vegetable’ quiz. It is also a good form of exercise, burning 200 calories in a half-hour session of picking your own; the delicious fruit and vegetables will taste better from your efforts and count as part of your five-a-day!
Visit one of the Hampshire Farmers’ Markets and purchase the finest Hampshire local produce with plenty of opportunity to sample before you buy. Taking place every month, the Hamphire Farmers’ Markets include stalls selling local free-range meat, poultry and eggs, cheeses, pasta, bread, cakes and seasonal fruit and vegetables.
Visit a garden centre
Why not visit one of the many garden centres in the Hamble Valley to help kick-start your own veggie patch? Get children involved by allocating a small plot for their own produce – select fast-growing crops such as radishes and sunflowers, so impatient little green-fingers will see fast results! Those mucky hands are part of the fun – and who knows what treasure or creepy-crawlies will be found when digging. Visit garden centres such as Garson’s in Titchfield, Haskins in West End, Arturis in West End and Fair Oak Nurseries for seeds and gardening equipment to get started.