One of our favourite family days out is at Garsons Pick Your Own in Surrey. We have spent countless days picking fruit, the teens were toddlers when we first came and it is still a family favourite as they approach A levels. Picking your own with children shows them where food comes from. I have also found that once a child has picked a previously hated vegetable it becomes palatable in, spinach I’m looking at you.
What is Garsons?
Garsons is a farm just outside Esher. The Thomson family have been farming there since 1871 specialising in vegetables for the London market since the turn of the last century. In the 1970s the farm became Pick Your Own and also saw the opening of the Farm Shop and Garden Centre. Whilst not actually a London Pick Your Own it is on London’s doorstep.
What to pick at Garsons
What not to pick at Garsons would be an easier question to answer. Thirty different crops are grown on the 150 acre farm. Many different varieties are planted to ensure a picking season that lasts from June until October. Our favourite things to pick are strawberries, raspberries, sweetcorn, carrots and courgettes. Howls of protest have come in requesting honourable mentions for beetroot, apples, cherries and plums.
What do you need to pick fruit?
Fruit picking in Surrey is an outdoor all weather pursuit, so wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. On muddy days I recommend wearing crocs or similar as they can easily be taken off before getting back in the car. Most crops are easy to pick with just fingers but I always take a pair of secateurs to make picking cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, dahlias and sunflowers easier.
How to pick fruit
Well not how to actually pick fruit but how Garsons works. You need to buy a farm ticket for £4 per adult, this will be refunded when you pay for your produce at the end. Pre-booked timed slots are necessary in these Covid times. Once at the farm there is a one-way system in place. As you drive around (you could walk but it is vast and you have to carry your produce as well) you will see signs with the names of crops on them. If you fancy picking, say cabbages, stop the car get out and pick them. Bags and punnets are available for free. As you leave the farm go to a weighing station to pay for your produce, the price of your farm ticket will be deducted from the cost.
Is it only Fruit and Vegetables?
My absolute favourite things to pick at Garsons are flowers. It is one of my summer treats to pick Sunflowers. Sweet peas and dahlias are also available.
Playground at Garsons
When the teens were younger a big draw was the playground. There are two to choose from. The one within the farm itself that has an old tractor in the middle to clamber over. I have yet to come across a small child that does not love an old tractor. Behind the garden centre is a large wooden climbing frame with slides and rope bridges. My favoured playground was the one behind the garden centre as it meant that I could get a cup of coffee from the cafe and watch the fun.
Garsons Farmshop and Garden Centre
If you don’t feel like picking your own the Farmshop has plenty of pre-picked produce to choose from as well as a well stocked butchers and cheese stall. We are not allowed to complete any visit to Garsons without going into the Farm shop to buy a tub of ice cream and a cheese straw to fortify for us for the journey home. The Garden Centre does sell plants but is really a huge garden themed shop with everything from clothes to hammocks via BBQs. There is also a cafe which serves a very good lunch or afternoon tea.
How to get to Garsons
Driving is the best way, pop KT10 8LS into your satnav and it will take you there. Esher is right next door to London, just under Richmond and Kingston making it ideal for a spot of apple picking in London (ish). You could catch a train to Esher from Waterloo but would then need to get a cab for last couple of miles.
- Garsons Farm, Winterdown Lane, Esher, Surrey KT10 8LS
- Open: Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm, Sunday 10am – 5pm
- Admission: £4 refunded when you pay for produce.