Summer is here even if some days it doesn’t feel like it with the wind and rain we have been having. One of my favourite thigs to do with my children this time of year is to visit one of our local fruit farms and pick our own strawberries, the New Forest has some of the best strawberries in the country.
One of the most famous fruit farms in the New Forest is New Forest fruit in East Boldre, established in 2009 and led by owner Sandy Booth. New Forest Fruit’s main produce is Strawberries but also early-season Asparagus, Raspberries and Blueberries. All the fruit is produced, processed, packed, and distributed on-site. The farm spans eighty hectares and supplies local farm shops, supermarkets and greengrocers.
If you want to enjoy the New Forests strawberries there are a few pick your owns you can visit.
Goodalls strawberries Lymington
Goodalls is just a stones throw from Lymington and right next door to Lymington golf centre and adventure golf. They have delicious strawberries, raspberries and cherry’s available to pick from June. They also have a farm shop with other local produce to buy.
Sopley farm shop and pick your own
Sopley farm shop have strawberries raspberries and more they even have beautiful sunflowers to pick when in season. They also have an on site bakery making cakes and pasties available to buy so you can grab cake and a drink after your time picking fruit
Cat and fiddle
We visited the cat and fiddle farm pick your own last year and picked some delicious fruit and sunflowers to take home. The children had a great day hunting for the perfect strawberries and we enjoyed a refreshing milkshake after under their stretch tent. They also have a farm shop with other produce such as honey, eggs and a variety of vegetable.
My favourite things to do with these locally grown and handpicked strawberries is to make a pavlova and my go to recipe is from aptly named Dame Mary Berry queen of desserts. I’ve made a few adjustments to the recipe. I have made this recipe more times than I can remember and its foolproof and makes the perfect crunchy on the outside soft on the inside.
4 large egg whites
225g (8oz) caster sugar
2 level tsp corn flour
2 tsp white wine vinegar
( I add vanilla bean paste to the mix while whipping)
For the filling:
300ml (½ pint) whipping or pouring double cream, whipped
About 350g (12oz) strawberries, halved or sliced ( New forest strawberries of course)
Preheat the oven to 160°C/Fan 140°C/gas 3. Lay a sheet of non-stick baking parchment on a baking sheet and mark a 23cm (9in) circle on it.
Put the egg whites into a large bowl and whisk until stiff and cloud-like. Add the sugar a teaspoonful at a time, whisking well after each addition, until all the sugar has been added. Blend the cornflour and vinegar together and whisk into the meringue mixture. Spread the meringue out to cover the circle on the non-stick baking parchment, building up the sides so they are higher than the middle.
Place in the oven but immediately reduce the temperature to 150°C/300°F/gas 2. Bake for about 1 hour until firm to the touch and a pale beige colour. Turn the oven off and allow the Pavlova to become quite cold while still in the oven. If you keep the oven door closed you will encourage a more marshmallowy meringue.
Remove the cold Pavlova from the baking sheet and parchment and slide onto a serving plate. Top with the whipped cream and strawberries, then chill in the fridge for 1 hour before serving.
I decided to make a long pavlova today rather than a round one as I find it easier to serve
thanks to Laura at New Forest fruit for giving me the history of new forest fruit and their amazing company.