Well this is such a special experience! Aside from learning about where our food comes from and all you can eat strawberries, the hanging strawberry plants are a gorgeous (and delicious) sight! Definitely not what I was expecting when we first headed off to pick our own strawberries at Berrylicious Strawberries back in January 2018.
And we had so much fun that we have been back a good number of times since! Actually my boys only ever want to eat the strawberries from Berrylicious Strawberries now. They are definitely the tastiest strawberries we’ve ever eaten!
Berrylicious Strawberries is the only dedicated strawberry picking farm near Sydney. Summer is peak strawberry picking season, but they also have some picking sessions in spring and autumn. BOOKINGS ARE ESSENTIAL. The session times are listed on their Facebook page and you book via the BOOK NOW button on their page.
The Berrylicious Strawberries farm is in Thirlmere, near Picton. It takes us about an hour to get there from Rydalmere. We love making a day of our visit, combining it with lunch in Picton, a wander at The Australian Botanic Garden, cooling off at the awesome water playground at Curry Reserve, visiting NSW Rail Museum (just open on weekends by pre-booking due to covid) or a play at the fab Birriwa Reserve playground at Mt Annan. Scroll down to the bottom of this article for more details on what’s nearby to the farm.
Now unlike most other pick your own farm visits, you can’t just turn up to Berrylicious Strawberries. Bookings are essential. They announce the pick your own sessions on their Facebook page and you must pre-book online. Now it can be difficult to get a spot (they usually book out in an hour), but the upside is that there’s a limited number of people picking at the same time. This makes it a much more pleasant experience for families and you know there will be strawberries available to pick.
On arriving at the farm, you will be greeted by a staff member shortly after entering the driveway. They will check your booking and then there’s parking further along, near the strawberry sheds.
When you arrive, a staff member will explain how things work and show you how to pick the strawberries. You will be given scissors and a shallow tray to collect the strawberries you want to take home. The tray reduces the chance of the strawberries being squashed, like would happen if you collected them in a bag. But you still need to make sure not to pile them up to high within the box.
The strawberries are grown in open sheds, hanging in trays from the ceiling at about 1.5m off the ground. The great thing about this – apart from it looking gorgeous – is that you can pick them rain, hail or shine. But it also means that the ground underneath is muddy from soil and water run off. So gumboots or old shoes you don’t mind getting dirty are a MUST!
There are large sturdy stepping boxes for the kids to use to reach the strawberries. And depending on how tall you are, you may need to bend over to get around inside the shed.
The staff are extremely friendly and helpful and there are a few inside the strawberry shed to answer any further questions while picking and to give pointers. There is an art to picking the strawberries and knowing which ones are good to eat while picking and which are better to take home.
It usually takes us about an hour to pick 4kgs, plus eat probably another kilo. And the kids love picking ‘legend’ strawberries and comparing who has found the biggest or reddest ones!
When the kids were younger, it worked best for us to put our tray on the ground and give the kids strawberries to place in the tray. Even with the tool, our kids couldn’t reach the strawberries until they were about 5yrs old. Now at 6 and 7yrs, they can both easily pick their own.
Once you have had your full of strawberries and picked enough to take home, you just head back out of the shed to Farmer Asaf and his team. He will weigh your strawberries and give you containers to pack them into. The strawberries you take home are priced at $20 a kilo (October 2020 prices) and they have EFTPOS facilities. Our kids seem to find packing them up just as fun as picking the strawberries.
Important Things to Keep in Mind:
- Wear gumboots or old shoes no matter the weather as the ground is always muddy from water dripping down from the strawberry trays.
- It can be slippery under the strawberry plants. It’s a lot less slippery along the edge of the shed and also easier to stand upright there.
- You can eat all the strawberries you want while on the farm.
- Some strawberries are better to eat straight away and others are better to take home to eat later. It’s too hard to explain this here, but ask one of the lovely staff members.
- There are EFTPOS facilities at the farm to pay for the strawberries you picked to take home.
- There is a port-a-loo toilet at the farm or one at the playground you pass on your way through Thirlmere.
This is the more expensive pick your own experiences nearby to Parramatta. But it does depend on the size of your group and ages of your kids. Plus everyone gets to enjoy their fill of strawberries while on the farm!
For the 2020 spring season, each person 10 years and over is $20, kids 3-10yrs are $10 and little ones 2yrs and under are FREE. It’s then $20 per kilo for the strawberries you have picked to take home.
The thing with strawberry picking is that it’s about the experience and taste. There is no comparison with the tasteless ones you buy at Woolworths and Coles. You definitely don’t do it for ‘cheap fruit’!
Strawberries are grown and harvested almost year round at Berrylicious Strawberries, though the peak season is summer. The farm is not open all the time and only opens when there is enough fruit to be picked. During school holidays, they generally open once or twice a week. And outside of school holidays, they will generally open on either a Saturday or Sunday.
BOOKINGS ARE ESSENTIAL. You need to regularly check their Facebook page for upcoming picking sessions, and we generally share them to the ParraParents Facebook page as well. And you need to book quickly once announced as spots fill VERY fast!
Finding Berrylicious Strawberries Farm
The farm is located about an hour south west of Parramatta, passed Campbelltown, near Picton. And 5mins further along West Parade from the NSW Rail Museum. NOTE: there’s a public toilet at the playground across from the Rail Museum.
Places of Interest Nearby
Just before the farm, is the NSW Rail Museum and it’s worth a visit if you have train loving kids. The museum is usually open all year round, except Christmas Day and Good Friday. But due to covid, is only open on weekends and you must pre-book. Hopefully the popular Day Out With Thomas (the tank engine) weekends can start up again soon. Pre-covid, they were held about every 2 months.
We usually stop about mid-way, on the way to Berrylicious Strawberries, for a play at Birriwa Reserve. It has a great outdoor playground with a fab mix of play equipment for babies through to teenagers.
But if the weather is hot when you go strawberry picking, then we definitely recommend checking out the awesome water playground at Curry Reserve in Camden!
Other places to stop at when visiting Berrylicious Strawberries include:
- NSW Rail Museum
- The Australian Botanic Gardens, Mt Annan – they regularly run events and activities for kids and there is also a playground and cafe
- Picton for lunch and a browse of the shops