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


Reflecting on the whole summer the PYO season of 2018 ended up ok and so did the farm in general.

Not the most positive comment perhaps, but the sleepless nights early on as the weather got hotter and sunnier without rain gradually gave way to a sense of relief that the year, whilst not fulfilling the crop potentials of the Spring, would in fact be alright.

The quality of the berries over all was exceptional due to high sugar content and firm berry quality thanks to the endless sun and no rain. However, this combination presented its worries.

Strawberries will ripen in heat alone and as the heat continued, day and night, so the crop raced on at a faster rate than wanted. Even first thing in the morning the berries were warm when we picked for the shop, which is not ideal as we always want perfect fruit that is perfect when you get it home to your fridge.

The big down side of the weather was two-fold. The season was shortened as the crop raced on and so we only picked strawberries for about four and half weeks instead of six to eight. The other problem was that the final trusses, which produce the berries, didn’t actually come to fruition. The baby berries stayed just that – tiny wee green things that then fizzled away.

The final nuisance was the effect on the oldest bed of Malwina strawberry plants, a variety much loved by you all for their dark colour and size as well as taste. They just rebelled full stop and the bed produced nothing. Having never experienced anything quite like it it became apparent talking to friends in Sussex and Oxfordshire who grow the same variety that they too had had the same problem. On talking to our advisor, Jeremy, about this he investigated and it has been a feature of the variety this summer for a number of other growers too.

The raspberries, on the other hand hate temperatures above 25 degrees. They become much slower as if becoming dormant and so for a while the crops didn’t move despite an enormous amount of water being fed around their feet! When they finally had to give way the flush of fruit was huge and so much was lost as it fell off the bushes and so couldn’t be picked.

By the end of the season, however, whilst the total weight of fruit sold was less than expected from the look of the crops in the Spring, we are pleased enough and I think, rather like us humans, the plants just struggled despite irrigation. Their leaves were very dry despite the water and so probably could not work properly. Having grown up on a fruit farm in Kent this is the first time that I have ever witnessed fields of strawberry plants wilting!

That said our trial plot of potted raspberries performed well as they fruited in the slightly cooler conditions of the later summer and the autumn varieties came ripe slightly earlier than normal too. Thus, we have a lot of plants ordered for next spring to grow in pots to try and make the season ‘smoother’ and so fruit supply more even through August, irrespective of the weather!

Additionally, we have an earlier variety of autumn raspberries already planted, Autumn Bliss, for next year with more to go in in the next month or so along with the normal replacement planting of strawberries. Thus, the fruit growing process roles on.

We thus moved to our late summer opening hours several weeks earlier than normal, which we appreciate is not ideal for our customers and despite advertising through all the options available to us the information still doesn’t reach everyone, but we remain eternally grateful for the good will everyone shows in their understanding.

Thus, all in all, for the PYO side of our business, we had more customers through the shop than last year, despite the reduced hours; quantities of fruit sold were better than expected given the draught and heat; and strawberry plants planted in the Spring for 2019 are looking well despite everything. There still might be some pay back from this year’s plant stress come next season but according to Jeremy everything is in good heart and so we are set fair for next year.

The September doses of rain saw the grass green up again very quickly along with everything else perking up, so all began to look quite fresh again quite quickly. The plants, during the drought, behaved quite oddly even when watered. It was as if they were so stressed they just could not make proper use of the water offered. Much like many of us I think!

The team who worked outside in the PYO fields this year did sterling work keeping plants thinned and weeds hand hoed so that we mitigated conditions as well as possible. It has paid off and the weed challenge even now that we have had rain is much less than in a normal year. There is nothing like removal to control weeds, albeit impractical for everything.

As for the team in the shop they too did sterling work, often in very trying temperatures. Thanks to their energy and cheerfulness I remained relatively good humoured and thus Andrew did too! Thank you all of you. They know who they are and yet again we received many compliments regarding the knowledge and helpfulness of all our staff, not to mention their good manners and cheerfulness.

Farming wise the wheat yielded generally much better than expected. The bushel weight was down, as we knew it would be, but the quality was good so that all in all we cannot complain. We seemed to have had machinery issues rather than weather to hold things up this year.

Mowers of all sorts (farm and domestic) played up, the combine repair pre-season turned into more of a job than originally diagnosed, but it behaved well in use. The baler on the other hand had a breakdown that was completely unexpected and thus cost the end of straw baling before the weather broke. However, the job got done eventually! The clutch on one of the tractors was grabbing. It took a couple of ‘goes’ to get it re-set – all done by computer, of course; and the hydraulics for the grab on the front of the tractor had a bit of a hissy fit, but in the scheme of things none of it has been too serious, thank goodness.

Hay making was easier than it had been for a long time. The size of the crop, like everything else was down on what it should have been, but the quality is very pleasing. Silver linings always need to be appreciated!

All that said, it was a glorious summer even though it will not prove a glorious year financially across the industry, especially in the livestock sector where winter rations have already been fed. Autumn grass will unlikely make up for what has been eaten already but the warm autumn will have given some compensation with the animals staying out longer and, in some areas, more hay and silage was made as late crops. Fingers crossed that the winter isn’t too severe and things will then come to some balance. Nature always does balance in the end!

However, in amongst the work we enjoyed three weddings, a gathering over the Bank Holiday weekend of the wider Hazell clan as Andrew’s brother, wife and eldest daughter visited the UK for the first time in 13 years and of course visits from our girls and their other halves plus our first grandchild.

Now, we are waiting for the fruit plants to become available for this autumn’s planting in amongst sorting out deliveries for our Christmas Barn which opens this year on November 24th. The trees are ordered and the barn is soon to be cleared and organized, whereupon the next ‘season’ on the farm will begin.

However, without all of our customers we would be nothing and so a huge thank you to you all. It is our privilege to meet you when you visit and in so many cases come to know you and your families a little and see the children growing up over the years.

We look forward to seeing you soon, 

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

2018 CHRISTMAS BARN

Our Christmas Barn opens on Saturday November 24th at 9am - details can be found on our Christams page

We are open SEVEN days a week from the 24th until either December 22nd or until we sell out of trees.

We can take orders and make deliveries (for which there may be a small fee)

NEW for this year is an additional way to spend time with us decorating a wreath - at Hook House Hotel:
This is for a family experience - children bring your parent(s)!
Refreshments and all materials are included.
Details can be obtained from Katie or Lisa at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 01256760232 for more details.
Sessions are available on November 30th after school and on Saturday December 1st.
Once our mobile is switched back on you can always contact me directly if you wish.

 

LAST PYO DAY of 2018 - SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 8th 2018
for raspberries and blackberries

We re-open on Saturday November 24th for our Christmas Barn

Please check this site, follow us on facebook or call 01252 845772 for up to date information. 
Product availability is listed below and changes as the season progresses.
Do call our mobile number 07954 730143 during open hours ONLY for any specific information / availability.

For picking your own we do supply baskets but ask that you avoid wasting them and just take what you need for the quantity you wish to pick,
We cannot re-use dirty baskets that are discarded.

Also, while it may seem obvious, 'Pick Your Own' means 'Pick and Pay' and so everything that you pick must be paid for before it is eaten. PYO is no different to any other retail situation regarding payment.

Additionally, whilst it is stated elsewhere on our website we must remind you that 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 5, but they are not walked in the the fruit fields all summer, even outside of working hours.

Orders:

We have ready picked produce available at our shop but if you need something specifically we are very happy to take orders. If you want a larger quantity pre-ordering will avoid disappointment.

Other Summer Produce:

We now sell Jude's Ice-creams, our lovely Jella having moved out of the area, and a wonderful selection of Jams and Chutneys, local Honey and Free Range Eggs.
New in 2017 was our very own jam and new for this year is Seville Orange Marmalade. 
We are having it made locally using all our own fruit (other than for marmalades and the like!) and we will be selling chutneys made locally, some of which include beers from our local brewery - Andwell's.

Christmas Barn:

We open again for our 2018 CHRISTMAS BARN on November 24th until December 22nd (while stocks last), and we hope you will visit us then too.
Please visit our Christmas page for information - we open on November 24th 2016 @ 9.00am 

Current PYO Seasonal Availability: DO CALL 07954 730143 for upto date info before travelling

  • RHUBARB -
  • STRAWBERRIES -  
  • GOOSEBERRIES -
  • RASPBERRIES -
  • TAYBERRIES, TUMMELBERRIES, BOYSENBERRIES & LOGANBERRIES -
  • BLACK CURRANTS -
  • REDCURRANTS -
  • BLUEBERRIES -
  • BLACKBERRIES -
  • CHERRIES -
  • NEW POTATOES -
  • SUMMER VEGETABLES -
  • ASPARAGUS -
  • RUNNER BEANS -
  • HOMEMADE JAM -
  • LOCAL FREE RANGE EGGS -
  • LOCAL HONEY -
  • JUDE'S ICE-CREAM -

 We now 'charge' 5p/bag for each carrier bag you use and donate it to our charities

Visits

We enjoy visits from a variety of groups, of all age groups, each year during the fruit season or at other times.

We can cater for activity visits for 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.

Please contact me either by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone: 01252 845772 to discuss what you need.

We do not generally make a charge but any fruit picked will be charged for.
Additionally, depending upon the nature of your visit we will ask for a donation for our chosen charities for the year.

We CANNOT accomodate coach parties

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 as a general rule we 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, and even one year youngsters taking part in a schools' cookery competition.

 

LINKS

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

Opening Hours

CHRISTMAS BARN 2018:

The Christmas Barn opens:
Saturday November, 24th 2018
until stock runs out
or December 22nd latest

Open DAILY (inc Mondays)
9am - 4.30pm

We reserve the right to close without notice if necessary

Please re-check this site & facebook for latest information

or call 01252 845772 for information from November 1st

2019 - FRUIT SEASON

We open again around the middle of June

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!