"I'm a writer living in the Perth Hills with my relentlessly fun seeking children.
Published February 26th 2017
Vegging out on the weekend
There something slightly romantic about the notion of picking your own fruit. Perhaps it's the fun of loading the kids in the car with your assembled bags and baskets, the drive out to the country or the fond memories of doing just the same thing when you were a kid, Whatever it is, it feels good.
Pick of the crop
Get Fresh Yes, you can probably get your food cheaper at the supermarket, but you won't get it fresher and you can even find an organic or sustainable grower. Even if you are just buying from a regular grower at least there is more transparency about the process involved. You know exactly where your food has been grown. You know it hasn't been waxed, treated or left sitting in cold storage for a month before you buy it and that's reassuring.
Local harvest have lots of good tips on buying and using fresh produce locally.
Out in the country
Take a Drive
There are a few areas just a short drive away from Perth where you can find premium produce, from Pickering Brook in the hills, to Neerabup and the Swan Valley. There are of course many others further afield if you venture down South past Donnybrook, but you don't have to drive for miles to find what you are looking for.
Miss Lily 'testing' the plums
Get Seasonal Fruit and Veg is seasonal, in fact, this is one of the main reasons I love local growers, you can call me old-fashioned, but there is something lovely about knowing it's a particular fruits 'time in the spotlight' and buying up big trays of whats available. It's fun to go home and get creative making things to freeze, preserve and plan exciting meals to use up all your goodies.
If you don't have the inclination to pick, you can still have a drive out and visit the farm door shop. We love picking, for us it's fun and the main reason we come. Now, most places will have a small door charge to pick your own; usually that covers for someone to give you a bit of a guided tour around the place.This charge is often waived the next time you visit and is usually only a few dollars. I like to think $2 or $3 for entertaining my kids for a couple of hours and the fruit and tomatoes they have to 'test' is more than fair.
Getting driving skills in early
Do your Homework This is not big chains fleecing you out of your hard-earned cash, mostly these are families trying to make a living.
Back to the Picking. It's a great idea to identify a few growers in the area your visiting and look at their websites or social media sites to find out special deals and whats in season. Some growers only open in the mornings and only certain days, so always check the trading hours before you go. Do make sure you take lots of bags with you too. If you start early you can visit two or three growers and make a morning of it, then stop off somewhere for lunch. Once you're out in the open fields with the beautiful trees, the sun shining and a gentle breeze blowing, it's like being transported to a different time. Everyone is busy finding the brightest tomatoes, the rosiest plums and the biggest capsicums. It's a treasure hunt you can eat.
Rare Tomato Snowman
There are squeals of delight when tomatoes are found in funny shapes and bragging rights for those who find the biggest eggplant or pumpkin. It's a laid back affair, there's no rush and everyone is happy.
When you have finished you can end up with quite a haul of fruit and veg. It's worth mentioning that many smaller growers don't have the facilities for EFTPOS so please make sure you take cash with you.
Feast for the eyes
Eat with your eyes The stash of fresh produce we picked ourselves in the photograph only cost us $20. When you consider a pack of 3 capsicums at the supermarket would set me back $10 easily, I was very happy. The only other thing to do when you get back in the car is debate the best way to use them up on the way home.I'm rather hoping for some delicious roasted veg and Halloumi after all my picking adventures.