I am an Australian freelance writer living in Adelaide.
Published October 19th 2011
On yet another of my weekend visits to Adelaide, we visited the Beerenberg Strawberry Farm. All I knew about Beerenberg was that I recognised the picture from the label on those tiny pots of jam often found at the breakfast bar in hotels (over 300 hotels to be exact, as their website proudly informs me).
Over 28,000 people picked strawberries at the farm last year and it's something that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Before we could begin picking the biggest, reddest, juiciest-looking strawberries, we needed to stop by the Beerenberg farm shop. Here we were given a large container (to put the strawberries in) and were warned that whatever strawberries we picked, we had to pay for.
We walked down a grassy hill to the farm and saw rows and rows of green leaves shading the ruby-red fruit from the harsh sun. With the enthusiasm of a child, we began hunting for the best berries we could find. It was easy to pick them from their stem yet some of the nicest ones were hidden further back amongst the leaves. My mouth was salivating over them upon inspection. No bruises, no unripe green stems and with their heavenly scent perfuming the air, they were perfect. If I'd given in to temptation, I would have felt like one of those people who feel entitled to taste-test grapes in the supermarket but I resisted.
You don't realise how quickly your container can fill up and there were only the two of us so if you take kids, just be aware of how many they're picking too. After about half an hour, we were satisfied. We held our almost-full container like a prized possession and headed back up to the farm shop to pay for and be tempted by their other goodies.
Me proudly showing off our container of strawberries
Even though Beerenberg products are sold in Victoria, I couldn't help myself but buy something to take home as a memento of where the produce literally comes from. The range here is much bigger than in the supermarket with jam flavours like fig and cinnamon, chutneys like Australian mango, dressings like gourmet blue cheese, mustards like red wine and garlic and even rose petal jelly. I went for the strawberry dessert sauce which was rich and thick.
We finished our afternoon off at the shop with a cup of vanilla ice cream topped with of course, sliced strawberries. I have never tasted fruit so fresh and delicious that it makes you wonder why we buy any fruit from the supermarket these days. The only negative aspect of the experience was that I didn't get to eat all the strawberries - we were on our way to the airport that afternoon. Now that I live here permanently, I think it's about time we revisited Beerenberg.