25 great places to pick your own fruit

posted in: Food and drink, Things to do | 0

Every summer, New Zealand’s climate and fertile soil combines to help produce some of the world’s best fruits, especially berry fruits.

Throughout the country, farms and orchards sell from the gate, farm shop or cafe on site, and many encourage visitors to pick their own fruits (known as PYO, or pick your own).

Here are some of the best-established spots in New Zealand to find excellent produce at its source.

New Zealand’s best PYO fruit farms

(Listed north to south)

Northland

Blueberries

Blue River Orchard

5 Koropewa Rd, Kerikeri

As well as providing PYO, Blue River also takes its berries to weekly farmers’ markets at Kerikeri and Paihia over the summer. They also make and sell fresh berry ice creams, coffee, cake and smoothies.

Auckland

Strawberries

Massey Gardens and Orchard 

61 Bradly Road, Helensville

This is a third-generation family business that has been growing strawberries since 1974 and champions the “sweet red” brand (claiming they are “the world’s best strawberries”). With more than 40 hectares of crop, there’s plenty of opportunities to put the claim to the test.

Strawberries

Strawberry Corner

217 Alfriston-Ardmore Rd, RD2, Papakura

Established in 1995, Strawberry Corner is open for PYO from September-February and sells various grades of berry from their farm shop to cater for those who want to make jam to those who want to eat their strawberries fresh. Their berries are also available at the weekly Howick village market.

Coromandel

Plums and nectarines

Valley Orchard

1079 Tairua Rd, Whangamata

This orchard grows plums and nectarines beside State Highway 25, between Whangamata and Opoutere.

Waikato

Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries

Ye Olde Berry Farm 

479 Tauwhare Rd, Matangi

Just 10 minutes’ drive from Hamilton, this farm also offers fresh berry ice cream (including cherry and peach).

Blueberries (organic)

Monavale Blueberries

790 Wallace Rd, RD3, Cambridge

With more than 10 hectares of Bio-Gro certified organic crop, Monavale says it’s the largest such orchard in New Zealand. An excellent cafe, Cafe Irresistiblue, offers organic coffee to go with various blueberry treats.

Strawberries

Punnet / The Strawberry Farm

337 Newell Rd, Hamilton 

This site combines a PYO strawberry farm, an excellent cafe/restaurant, Punnet, and a country food store, The Country Providore. Young children will love the themed playground which includes trampoline, and large boat, train and aircraft structures to stimulate their imaginations.

Blueberries, lavender

Lavender Backyard Garden

398 Marshmeadow Rd, RD6, Hamilton

Just 10 minutes’ drive from Hamilton, Lavender Backyard Garden offers PYO blueberries and lavenders, fresh/frozen blueberries, lavender coffee and foods, real fruit ice cream and berry smoothies.

Bay of Plenty

Blackberries, boysenberries, redcurrant, blackcurrants, loganberries, olallieberries, raspberries, strawberries and bayberries.

Julian’s Berry Farm & Café

12 Huna Rd, Whakatane

PYO or go to the berry shop for various berry products including jams, sauces, soaps, moisturisers, and more. Their cafe is well-known for its best-selling berry ice creams.

Boysenberries

Iona Boysenberry Orchard

Corner of Bell Road & State Highway 2, Papamoa

You might need to be quick to PYO as the boysenberry season can be short. Keep checking in December and make the most of these gorgeous berries while you can.

Hawkes Bay

Strawberries

The Strawberry Patch

96 Havelock Rd, Havelock North

The farm grows three variety of strawberry (Cameras, Camille Royal and Albion), but also offers a range of fruit and vegetables at their shop. Real fruit ice cream and smoothies using their own product top off a visit.

Cherries, raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, boysenberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, blueberries, plums, table grapes, peacharines, peaches, pears, figs, feijoas, persimmons, chestnuts and tayberries 

Ruby Glen Orchard

92 Powdrell Rd, Meanee, Napier

Family-owned and been growing and selling seasonal fruits since 1997. You can PYO or go to the gate sales shop. With this huge range of produce available, you’ll always find something in season and as fresh as it can be.

Manawatu

Strawberries, apples, chillies, tomatoes, garlic

Penray Gardens

1199 State Highway 1 South, Otaki

This is a PYO farm with roadside shop on the main highway to Wellington. They offer whatever they can grow well.

Wellington

Bluebank Blueberry & Emu Farm

1301 Akatarawa Valley Road, RD2, Upper Hutt

About 45 minutes’ drive from downtown Wellington, this farm grows organic blueberries and sells them as is, or in farm-made fudge, dairy-free ice pops or as organic ice cream. The farm also breeds emu (they provide a meat similar to venison) and their shop sells emu oil and skin products.

Nelson

Raspberries, boysenberries

Berrylands

108 Appleby Highway, Appleby, Nelson

The raspberries are grown in the sunniest corner of New Zealand and are PYO when in season. You can also buy fresh fruit ice cream.

Canterbury

Blueberries

Broadfield Berryfruits

475 Robinsons Road, Broadfield

This farm is 20 minutes’ drive from central Christchurch and has been growing blueberries since 1992, and the crops haven’t been sprayed with chemicals since 1998. The owners encourage customers to pick fresh and in sufficient quantities to be able to save some for the freezer.

Cherries

Gracebrook Cherries 

156 Ashworths Road, RD1, Amberley

This cherry orchard charges an entry fee as well as a per-kilo price for cherries picked from the tree. Varieties grown are Dawson, Bing and Stella.

Blackberries, boysenberries, raspberries

Smithfield Berries 

90 Smithfield Road 2RD, Ashburton

This four-hectare berry farm has been growing fruit for more since the 1980s and offers PYO in season, and a produce shop. Berries include Ranui (a hybrid bred from Auroraberry and Marionberry) and their blackberry is the Karaka variety.

Otago

Cherries

Darling Orchard and Pure Fruit Juices

5090 State Highway 8, Ettrick

You can PYO cherries but also buy a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables from the shops, including apricots, plums, nectarines, peaches, apples and pears.

Raspberries, boysenberries

Monte Christo

100 Springvale Road, RD1 Alexandra, Clyde

This speciality dessert cafe and gardens has plenty to offer families with a maze, mini golf and other children’s activities, as well as a range of tempting sweet dishes made with berries (and quince, walnuts and other produce) grown on site.

Raspberries, strawberries, boysenberries

The Berry Farm Bed and Breakfast

83 Orchard Road, Wanaka

This farm offers accommodation for visitors who want to wake up close to fresh berries. Located about 3km from Wanaka.

Cherries

Cheeki Cherries 

247 Ripponvale Rd, Cromwell

You can PYO or buy export-grade cherries from the farm shop.

Apricots, cherries, nectarines, plums, quinces, peaches, pears, greengages

Coal Creek Gardens 

3314 Fruitlands-Roxburgh Rd, Coal Creek Flat 

Five minutes north of Roxburgh on SH8, this is one of the oldest orchards in the country, having first produced fruit more than a century ago.

Cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, apples, pears

Mrs Jones Fruit Orchard 

Cromwell to Queenstown Highway, Cromwell

Some fruit is available for PYO and the business has visitor tours of the orchards which are in a beautiful setting.

Southland

Blueberries

Blueberry Country

513 Otautau-Drummond Road, RD3, Otautau

This is the South Island blueberry farm for Blueberry Country who also have sites in Ohaupo, Waikato, and Ngatea. This is no hobby business – it produces more than 100 tonnes of blueberries every season!