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Welcome to West Green Fruits
Pick Your Own fruit in Hartley Wintney, Hook, Hampshire, RG27 8LP

May 19, 2020

This is just a brief update of how our Winter and early Spring has gone, which you may enjoy reading before visiting us this summer.

After closing the gate last autumn we set to after a brief intake of breath and the fallow strawberry ground (to give it a three year break between crops) was worked down and an acre was planted up with new summer plants. The weather last autumn, as you  may remember, went from lovely dry days to rain that once started seemed to never stop all the way through until this Spring!

This presented some problems for us with replanting, and not just strawberries. However, there was a window of opportunity in the early rains and we tentatively booked the strawberry plants for delivery with the option to dealy if necessary. We delayed! The window had moved forward and so we re-booked and because things looked a bit tight ordered them all down at once, which we rarely do.

Suffice to say they arrived on the Tuesday morning and everything was made ready for a Wednesday start. Well, you've guessed. Between pressing the send button and their arrival the forecast had changed yet again. It is vital that strawberry plants go into the ground fairly exactly. They need to have their roots straight in the ground otherwise they never correct and thus are less productive; and so a good non-wet seedbed is necessary.

Andrew was bleak and I suggested we just started rather earlier than normal. And so it was that by 8am Andrew had worked the ground ahead of us and three of us had prepared enough plants for two of us to climb aboard the planting machine to be dragged up and down the field at some quarter of a mile per hour! Mind numbing for the tractor driver but like a rocket for those of us watching a wheel go round all day putting plants into its clips.

All went well and we had food on the run, as it were, and by nearly dark we had about a 1500 plants left. Martin and I couldn't really see well enough to do a final planting run up the field so that all the prepared ground was planted up. The worry was rain coming in before midnight. Thus, we planted with a tractor following us with its toplights giving us a shadowed light to work by. It was a nightmare! Between the shadows creeated by our bodies and the lights reflecting of the inside of my glasses lenses it was like some sort of light torture, but it did the job.

The forecast changed again and after the gloom that we might have to waste the final thousand plants there was a possibility of a few hours of dry from midnight on Friday morning. We were back at it by 7am on Friday and as we finished at about 9.30am the first spots of rain started again. The job was done and, as it turned out, there was never another opportunity for the whole autumn. We had been lucky.

With regard to the planting of other bush type fruits we were never able to plant them. However, thanks to our wonderful advisor and his enthusiastic son and daughter they were able to come and do this for us shortly after lockdown. Jeremy's daughter, a student doctor, was en route to be returned to Southampton to work as a care asssistant on the Covid wards. She enjoyed her day outside in the sunshine hugely and was so excited to be able to go and help on the front line. I understand she has thrived and the experience will stand her, and all her ilk, in such good stead for their futures, andof course ours should we need their services. 

The raspberry plantations for 2020 will be a little different to what our regular customers will remember. The acre of Cascade Delight near the gooseberries has never performed well and picking is difficult because of the excessive growth on the plants. Thus, we have abandoned them and while you will see some of the rows still in place albethey dead, there are potted plants in the rest of the rows. We have retained the dead rows purely for logistical reasons of management for this year, plus we have a member of staff health shielding because of coronovirus and so this has given a little leaway timewise with our work.

Last year we had three sections of potted raspberries which enabled a better spread of crop through the season and also they presented so beautifully they made picking easier, especially for children and those new to such an activity. Thus, this year we have even more, which will spread the raspberry crop across the whole season from around late June until we close. It also means that we will have a longer Tulameen season, a variety that many customers particularly like.

New for this year is a trial of strawberries grown on bales to lift them off the ground.These will be later in our season and as such they extend the picking season for strawberries, much like the raspberries, which we hope you will enjoy. If successful we will modify the system to something a little more sophisticated!

Also new this year which we hope will be of great interest to many customers will be the availability of blackberries for most of the summer. We have a greater number of plants this year, which should fruit for most of the season. This is a fruit that is always wanted and up until now has not been something we have had enough of.

Aside of the plant work there has been the usual maintenance required replacing broken posts and replacing irrigation and other bits and pieces.
A big consideration for this year are the measures we need to put into place for keep everyone safe iin the Covid times. We will have a screen in our shop along the counter to enable staff and customers to face one another. Luckily our till points are sufficiently far apart for social distancing and we can add an additional temporary till for busy days to assist everyone. We have additional card machines so that no-one needs to use or handle cash and we will have all of our jams and honey behind the counter so that they are no fingered by many hands before being bought. 

We will still have a lovely display of pre-picked fruit and vegetables in our shop and for this year our customers will just need to pick things up on their way to a free till. Customers will not need to rush or feel flustered. We will all be there to help and make it work for you, and whilst out picking and moving around West Green Fruits we will have people clearly visible to help and assist.

As a first this year, because April was such an incredible growing month we had a real flush of rhubarb and so we decided that we would open the gate for one Sunday morning so that it would not be wasted. This was fairly eaarly on in the Coronavirus lockdown and so it also presented us with a good opportunity to see how solely contactless payments would work, how some of our customers were feeling about being out doing pick-your-oen in due course and so on. Importantly it was just so nice to see people!

Thus, we put it all into bundles and did a 'drive/cycle/walk through rhubarb sales'. It was a huge success. Everyone was so happy to be doing something a little different and we had many helful ideas and comments that have been put to good effect as we look twoards the start of our season proper. On topof that our facebook page was showered with glorious pictures of rhubarb creations and even the certificate for a family rhubarb baking competition. The whole day lifted everyones' spirits.

The one thing, however, that will not be safe to have is a loo. We have only ever had a porta-loo but we feel we cannot ensure that it would be kept wiped down sufficiently with regards to coronovirus and surfaces and so the advice from our supplier was not to provide one in the interests of everyones' safety and wellbeing. Thus, as you are reading this please bear that in mind when you visit. We apologise but are sure everyne will understand in these trying times.

The main farm, with traditional crops such as wheat and barley, has also had to cope with the vagueries of the winter weather and dry Spring. It, along with the fruit field, could do with another soak of rain but I am wary about what I wish for. I would hate a summer such as that in 2012 where the only time it didn't rain was during the London Olympics!

Several of our students are returning to work for us again, which is wonderful, and we have a few new faces too. It has given us some sadness not to be able to offer work to more of our applicants, especially the students as there is no bar work or shop work available to them for this summer. Such difficult times.

However, we are looking forward to the summer, it will be great to see everyone again and in the meantime we hope you stay well.

With Best wishes,
Andrew, Carolyn and all who help us

 

CHARITIES

We rotate the charities who benefit from a share of our summer sin bins each year and these charities are:

THE MATTHEW ELVIDGE TRUST:

www.thematthewelvidgetrust.com

NAOMI HOUSE & JACK'S PLACE:

www.naomihouse.org.uk and  www.naomihouse.org.uk/pages/jacksplace

ST MICHAELS HOSPICE:

www.stmichaelshospice.org.uk

ODIHAM COTTAGE HOSPITAL:

odihamcottagehospital.org.uk 

OTHER ORGANISATIONS:

DIPLEY MILL:  

Located close to West Green Fruits the gardens are opened a few days each year to the public, and are truly beautiful and unique and more than worth the visit. The garden is advertised as part of the National Gardens Scheme (NGS). Turn left on to the road as you leave us and follow the lane for approximately 1 mile, towards Mattingley. Dipley Mill is on the right hand side, with well signed parking when open and you can have a delicious tea during your visit. For further details do visit www.ngs.org.uk 

 

HOOK HOUSE HOTEL:

A warm welcome awaits you at this family run small hotel. 
They cater for private parties and functions too.
www.hookhousehotel.com or call 01256 760232

For 2018 we are joining with Hook House for family wreath making - see our 2018 - Christmas BArn information page and the Christmas page for information

MATTINGLEY RESTORATION:

Do you have furniture in need of a little TLC or major TLC?
Andrew Dunn at Mattingley Restoration is a highly skilled and expert restorer of both modern and antique furniture.
He will rennovate repair, polish, remove scratches or marks or deal with anything so that your furniture is back where it should be!

Visit www.mattingleyrestoration.co.uk, e mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 07929 300 928

2020 Fruit Season -  We are now CLOSED for the 2020 PYO season
Thank you very much for visiting us this season. In what has been a bizare and difficult year for so many people we feel priveleged and fortunate that we were able to open and that you all came. 
It has been ahappy season and one during which we are both grateful to and proud of all our staff who have worked so very hard.
We look forward to seeing you in 2021 or perhaps in our Christmas Barn for trees, wreaths and other decorations. There is a link to our Christmas website on the top bar of this site.

Please check this site, follow us on Facebook or call 01252 845772 for up to date information. 

COVID-19 
We will be operating West Green Fruits very much as you would recognise.
However, we are obviously taking the risks associated with coronovirus very seriously for our staff, ourselves and of course for all of our customers and visitors.

With this in mind we will operate with measures to help keep customers and staff safe. There is no need to pre-book to visit, but we cannot take coaches or mini-bus parties.

We ask that our customers help us with this, and we know that you will:

  • Please stay in your group when you visit: as you move about and when you pick
  • Please maintain social distancing all the time you are with us
  • Please pay by contactless payment if at all possible (we are still unable to accept American Express)
  • Please only enter our shop when a till is free to go to
    Collect any produce from the veg/fruit display as you move to your till
    In this way we can maintain social distancing within the shop
  • Please stand within the marked area at the till, including anyone with you
  • Our jams, honey, free range eggs, ice-cream and cream will be served from behind the tills where there is a clear display for you to see and shoose from (very old fashioned!) - just ask!
  • On busy days we will have extra tills to help you
  • Understand that we are unable to allow any pic-nics etc on site this year or any other form of resting on site

To place orders for collection please call 07954730143 during open times.
Where possible please place orders 24hrs in advance, especially for busy times such as weekends, but still always ask.
A dedicated collection point will be used for orders, and for those with vulnerabilities we can bring your order to the car by pre-arrangement.

Please be aware that there will be no lavatories available to the public during the 2020 season.
This decision has been reluctantly made in the light of advice regarding coronovirus and the risk of spread via washroom surfaces.
We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause but in the interests of customer safety we feel sure that you will understand and ensure that you visit us prepared.
Thank you for your understanding.

PRODUCT AVAILABILITY

Product availability is listed below and changes as the season progresses, even during the day as we pick sometimes.
Do call our mobile number 07954 730143 during open hours ONLY for any specific information / availability.
 

CONTAINERS

We do supply recycleable baskets but ask that you avoid wasting them and just take what you need for the quantity you wish to pick,
We use recyclable and re-useable containers.
We cannot re-use dirty baskets that are discarded.

You are very welcome to bring your own containers if you prefer, just get them weighed at the meet and greet point before you go picking so that we can deduct their weight when you return to pay. 

PYO ETIQUETTE - 'Pick, Pay, Eat'

It saddens us to have to make this statement and we really wish we did not have to state the obvious, but to prevent any misunderstanding or offence when visiting West Green Fruits it must be understood that we are a business.

In writing this section of our website we apologise to all of our customers and visitors who understand this and do not need this explaining. 

However, it is important that all visitors and customers understand that West Green Fruits is a business and that 'Pick Your Own' means 'Pick and Pay before Eating' 
i.e. everything that you and your group pick must be paid for before it is eaten.

Normal shopping rules apply at West Green Fruits and so please do not take offence if spoken to by a member of our staff regarding unpaid for fruit.

Unlike many PYO businesses we have chosen not to charge any entry payment as we prefer to rely upon honesty and in respecting our visitors we feel sure that this will be reciprocated.
                                                              Thank from us all at West Green Fruits 

DOGS

We are not able to let you bring your dogs on site other than in a vehicle.

Our only exception is for assistance dogs such as a guide dog or hearing dog. This is an insurance and Environmental Health Department requirement.

We are dog lovers ourselves and have 4, but they are not walked in the the fruit fields all summer, even outside of working hours.

ORDERS & READY PICKED

We offer ready picked produce at our shop and are happy to take orders and give advice if needed. Just ask!
We can also take orders for fruit outside our own season - just ask and if we can help, we will.

If you need more than a kilo or two PLEASE pre-order if at all possible to avoid disappointment.
We pick fresh every day and on a busy day we may not be able to supply a large quantity from the shelf.

During the 2020 season, we will do everything we can to help those who are health shielding and so do please call 07954730143 to discuss any requirements and speak to Carolyn

Other Summer Produce:

 Jude's Ice-cream

Since 2018 we have stocked Jude's Ice-Cream and their Mango Sorbet for those who have dairy and gluten free needs in single portion sized pots. 
If you're having a party we can obtain a wide selection of flavours in larger, or even 4litre, sizes.

Jams and Marmalades

These are made especially for us by the lovely Janet and Amy and bear our own 'West Green Fruits' labels.

Marmalades are made with fruit from foreign parts but the jams are predominently from our own fruit, picked by us. 
The marmalades are quite a speciality and our range includes more than just Orange Marmalade.

Chutneys 

Made locally by Pig 'n Pickles

Local Honey

English Honey is ever rarer but our supplier's honey is certainly English Honey at its very best. 

Our honey is from local producers and one day we may even have our own home produced honey made with nectar from the PYO fruit flowers in due course.
Bee keeping is still in its infancy here!

Free Range Eggs

The truly delicious eggs we sell are from happy hens that live in Mattingley, a couple of miles away, on a farm that has been producing wonderful Free Range Eggs since long before ethical egg production was considered the right way to do things. 
Try some and you'll be converted by their freshness and flavour.

Summer Vegtables 

A selection of ready picked summer vegtables are always available, including ever popular new potatoes.
if there is anything specific you would like us to obtain for you please ask.
We no longer grow and vegetableson site, but wherever possible our produce is British.

Current PYO Seasonal Availability once open:

DO CALL 07954 730143 for up to date information before travelling and to place ORDERS

  • RHUBARB - season finished
  • STRAWBERRIES - PYO strawberries are now finished.
                                    We have ready picked strawberries available in the shop
  • GOOSEBERRIES - picking finished
  • RASPBERRIES - Good quality, easy picking
  • TAYBERRIES, TUMMELBERRIES - finished
  • BOYSENBERRIES & LOGANBERRIES - finished
  • BLACK CURRANTS - Finished
  • REDCURRANTS - Picking now -  picking is coming to an end but good berries still there
  • BLUEBERRIES -  ready picked only. There are no bluberries for picking on site
  • BLACKBERRIES - Good quality, but picking limited
  • CHERRIES - finsished
  • NEW POTATOES - in the shop only
  • SUMMER VEGETABLES - in the shop only
  • ASPARAGUS - British season finished, so N/A
  • RUNNER BEANS - as available in the shop only
  • HOMEMADE WEST GREEN FRUITS JAMS & MARMALADES - Huge variety of jams and 5 of marmalade, as available and a new flavour of jam - Queens' Jam ( a mix of blueberry & raspberry - delicious)
  • LOCAL FREE RANGE EGGS - in the shop
  • LOCAL HAMPSHIRE HONEY - as available and locally produced
  • JUDE'S ICE-CREAM - a selection of flavours available, including sorbet for those who are dairy intolerant
  • ORGANIC JESRSEY DOUBLE CREAM - DELICIOUS!!!! - as available in two sizes

With cash rarely being used this year we anticipate a fall in donations to our chosen cause.
This drop has been seen generally as card sales have increased. All charities have felt this loss because of us all using less and less cash.
Thus, we are going to start asking customers if they would like to make donations added to their card payments. Any donations will be accounted for on the till and then passed to our chosen cause.

This year, we have decided that any donations we are fortunate to receive will be passed to Claire Danson. Claire worked in the shop for a number of years, was hugely popular with our customers and continues to visit us still.
You may have seen her story on the local news over the last months. Following a cycling accident Claire is now permanently confined to a wheelchair having last year become a European Triathalon Champion before her accident.
Her goal is to continue her sporting career as a para-athlete. She has extraordinary grit and determination and I just know she will succeed but in achieving her goal she needs funds for training and equipment.
Thus, our choice of Claire for this year's donations. What a girl, and she remains so positive and cheerful - the facets that made her so popular here.

Full details for our charitable donations for 2020 can be found on our Family Fun page and we thank you inadvance for any generosity that you feel able to give in this difficult year that is affecting so very many people.

2020 Christmas Barn

We have beautiful fresh cut locally grown Christmas Trees and home-produced Wreaths and Garlands for you to decorate uniquely yourself or buy ready decorated by us or decorated to order. 
We also sell unusual baubles, candles and our normal selection of Jams, Marmalades, Chutneys and Honey for those 'little gifts'.

Our Christmas Barn opens in late November.
We are open SEVEN days a week once open until either 22nd December or until we sell out of trees.

We can take orders for any size of tree and deliver for you (for which there may be a small fee).
Follow the link on this site to our Christmas BArn website.

Visits

We enjoy visits from a variety of groups, of all age groups, each year during the fruit season within opening hours but these must be arranged in advance.

We can cater for visits from organisations such as nursery schools and beavers, brownies etc as well as informative visits for clubs and organisations wishing to learn a little about what we do, both with the Pick Your Own and also the farm in general.

However, we cannot accomodate coaches or mini buses

Please contact Carolyn either by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone: 07954 730143 (during open hours) to discuss you needs.

For most such visits we do not make a charge but all fruit picked must be paid for.
Additionally, depending upon the nature of your visit we may ask for a donation for our chosen charities for the year.

 

Sponsorship and Donations

Every year we are asked to donate fruit or sponsor different events.

We are delighted to be able to support local organisations and charities but we have to limit the level of annual donations we are able to make, and do not promote other businesses.

Please feel free to contact us regarding sponsorship and donations but with the understanding that we may not be able to help you at that particular time.

One form of 'sponsorship' that we are very keen to encourage is that asked for by our younger customers who make jams etc to sell to raise funds for their schools and charities.

 

LINKS

The people and organisations we 'LINK' with are local and chosen by us.
Unfortunately we are unable to list any corporate organisation. We hope you understand.

Opening Hours

2020 CHRISTMAS BARN

The Christmas Barn opens:
at the end of November until December 22nd or until we sell out!

We reserve the right to close without notice if necessary

Visit Christmas Barn Website

2020 FRUIT SEASON
September 5th - we are now CLOSED for 2020

(We reserve the right to close without prior notice)

Planting strawberries

Getting ready for the new season, planting out the strawberries.

bowl-of-strawberries

The crop of delicious strawberries.

Kate-visit-2011

The girls in their uniform.

Job well done

Job well done!