We went berry picking on Monday (Labour weekend). There's a wealth of places throughout Victoria to do this, and The Bramble Farm is not far from home. I used to drive past everyday when I was working, we finally called in today. I think Bug was in heaven, (she is a berry fiend). She loved picking the berries herself, and had a great time playing peekaboo between the rows of fruit and running madly between Bwb and myself.
Taking your kids to places like berry farms or growing your own vegetable gardens (a project I've been putting off but MUST begin this spring), or both, is so important when you live in suburbia. It connects children with the earth and seasons, teaches them where their food comes from, and shows them the time and effort involved in producing food. Not only that, but eating fresh and seasonally means the food tastes better too. I grew up in an orange orchard, and I can't buy oranges from the supermarket because I know I will just be disappointed. They are picked too early, stored too long, and just don't taste as sweet and delicious as they should. It's sad because people believe that's what an orange tastes like, when it shouldn't. Anyway..
With our scrummy haul in hand we traipsed back to the little stall to pay. (Passed the horses too which really made Bugs day)
The lady was lovely and super enthusiastic, and she let Bug taste some of the frozen berry's available, which are freshly frozen in season (the blackberries don't start until November) chemical free and so much better than the imported supermarket ones I have to admit to having in my freezer, but no more, we'll be popping back here regularly now. You've got to support places like this so that they don't die off.
Anyway with my 3-weeks-to-go belly (always a conversation starter) the lady pointed out that their Raspberry extract (raspberry juice boiled down with a touch of lemon juice and sugar added), has all these amazing health benefits, including helping your uterus shrink down after childbirth. Its also supposed to be good for gastro, IBS and other stomach/ digestive issues, and has anticancer benefits. Further research suggested it may work similarly to raspberry leaf tea, shortening and easing labour. Considering its so natural - and derived from things I eat anyway, it certainly cant hurt to try. She also mentioned they've had customers who have used it successfully to treat infants reflux and colic. Now I wouldn't be giving anything herbal, natural or otherwise to babies without consulting a doctor, midwife, natropath or other health professional, but I am intrigued (I would much rather give my child raspberry juice than colic medicine with god-knows-what in it), and would love to know more.
If you've had success with Raspberry, or any other berry extracts (blackberries for coughs, heart and circulation, blueberries for Alzheimer's, kidney issues etc) I would love to hear your stories.
Facts and Figures
The Bramble Farm is located in Langwarrin, about 40mins from the city, which I can highly recommend. The farm is clean and well organized, the staff are friendly, and its very well priced. You can get a pre-frozen family pack 1kg each blueberries, blackberries and raspberries for $50. PYO is done by the weight of the fruit you pick, and there is a wide selection of jams, preserves and honeys available also.
The signage on Cranbourne Frankston Rd is good but look out for the sign at the gate, we missed it and had to drive back, and it is a dirt road so don't wash your car right before you go - like we did!
If your on the other side of the city or looking for other pick your own options, you can find a whole list of farms here.
Our breakfast this morning, cheats bircher muesli and fresh raspberries. Yum