P.Y.O. spells SUMMER
It’s that time of year again when middle-class families don the suncream, stock up the Volvo with punnets, and drive down A-roads until they see the magic words: Pick Your Own.

I’m not sure if they have the PYO concept in other countries; it seems a very British thing, inextricably tied up with our work ethic, our obsession with getting a bargain, and our vague, guilty love of the countryside and its traditions. Strawberries are the classic PYO fruit, which is odd really as they are actually quite difficult to pick, requiring much bending down and rummaging. All in keeping with the British belief that one shouldn’t have TOO much fun during the summer holidays, then. In fact, kids tend to quite enjoy PYO despite it being technically Work, mainly because they get to eat/throw/squash more fruit than they take home. But as I found out on Saturday, it’s not all soft fruits and stained lips. Roundstone Farm in West Sussex is a huge, fantastically well organised operation, with ‘tractor trains’ to take you to different crops, signs everywhere saying what to pick when and how, and a massive range of produce. As well as strawberries you can get raspberries, gooseberries, loganberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, peas, sweetcorn, onions, carrots, mangetout and loads more. We picked strawberries for ice cream, more strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants for summer pudding, and peas for… well, because fresh peas are too good NOT to pick.

It was unfair of me to call it a middle-class hobby really, as half the people there on Saturday were clearly buying their week’s food, not just fooling around with a few strawberries for a dinner party. And it makes perfect economic sense, as you could easily see from the price comparison charts Roundstone had kindly provided. Everything was half the price it would have been in the supermarket, if not less. With twice the taste. And you get a fun day out in the fresh air (albeit with Worthing disturbingly close).