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Published January 21st 2016
Strawberry, strawberry, where for art thou strawberry
Ever been sitting at home on a nice warm day. The kids are tearing around the house getting into mischief and you have no idea what to do with them. You want to go out but have no idea where to take them. You went to the water park last week. You went to the river the day before that. And you really can't be bothered fighting the crowds at the local shopping center.
What does it leave? Not much really...
Why not fruit picking? But where? And what kind?
There are the big pick-your-own places that everybody goes to in nice weather but whilst these places are great and produce nice fruit they are almost always overcrowded and you can stand in line on busy days for over an hour, often in the sun waiting just to get in.
Once in you search through rows and rows of dirt (if strawberry picking) for the leftover fruit, which people have not half eaten and thrown away. Bending and standing, walking a bit and the bending to search through some more dirt.
Well now I can tell you where to find another fantastic strawberry pick-your-own destination.
This particular place is set up in a different way. Instead of being grown in the ground as other strawberry picking places have the fruit. The Strawberry Forest owners/staff have experimented and have come up with the innovative vertical strawberry trees!
The trees are spaced so that the strawberry trees are both pram, walking frame and wheelchair accessible.
By having the strawberry's growing vertically like they are, it is possible for all members of the family. From the toddlers to the fully grown members, the able bodied to the wheelchair bound or elderly family member or friend to enjoy the activity together.
Wide spaces suitable for wheelchairs,walkers and prams
The Strawberry Forest is chemical free and to control/keep a handle on weeds, they use all natural products, making the fruit safe to consume.
With most fruit farms a traditional sprinkler system might be used whereas at The Strawberry Forest a 'dripper' system has been set up and is running. This system reduces the amount of water needed to keep the fruit plump, bright and fresh and keeps usage to a minimum.
While wandering (and in the case of the younger members of the family, running) through the well set out maze of brightly coloured strawberry pillars. Keep a watch for the hidden treasures that have been placed in the forest. These are part of the 'Strawberry secrets' Treasure hunt. Find 4 of these items and you will receive a 5% off voucher for the Fruits of Life, which is right next door and sells a variety of fresh fruit and veg as well as dairy, juice, pantry items and more.
There is off street parking and the staff are friendly and welcoming. You are more than welcome to stop and have a chat before entering or leaving with a container of juicy, tasty, freshly self-picked strawberries.
The strawberries are a good price considering you can sample as you pick and are just $10kg to take home (free entry) when you have finished picking.
The strawberries are sweet and juicy and in my opinion well worth the $$ for a fantastic day out and the fruit made for a fantastic dessert once we got home.
If you're coming from Melbourne, they are the THIRD strawberry farm, only one on the right. (Directions taken from their FB page) Please see google maps for further directions
The Strawberry Forest is open weekends but keep an eye out on their fb page for updates as times and days may change.
This is definitely one weekend outing I would recommend to anybody. Having mobility problems myself, I know how hard it can be taking part in activities such as fruit picking (strawberries in particular) when you have to bend.
Visiting The Strawberry Forest was a fantastic experience and I hope to visit again soon. It was easy, exciting and the fruit as tasty and everything was well kept. An amazing achievement on the part of the owners and staff. Well done!
I definitely recommend that everybody living local or just visiting, try to make a little time to visit this fantastic little place and show your support as they try to expand and build their customer/visitor base.