WHAT could be better than picking delicious red strawberries straight from the plant in the glorious sunshine?

It’s the kind of memory many of us have from our childhood – going to fields or foraging for fruit on hot summer days with friends or family.

And it’s one of those experiences where the reality of it lives up to the potentially rose-tinted memory.

Pickwell Farm in Bursledon, is a wonderful place to escape everyday life for an hour or two. You can enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, have fun finding the fattest strawberries, juiciest raspberries, and chunkiest runner and broad beans and save yourself plenty of money on your food bill.

Plus you can slash your carbon footprint – buying local food is, of course, a great deal to reduce your personal contribution to climate change and Pickwell’s own produce has zero food miles by the time it reaches the shop.

As well as selling a wide range of pick your own (PYO) produce, they also sell their own produce which they’ve also grown on their 60-acre farm and harvested themselves in their impressive farm shop.

The farm is run by four directors, May and Douglas Draper and their sons Andrew and Robert along with some ten members of staff.

Carolyn Draper, Andrew’s wife, who is also involved in the business, says that one of the main attractions of PYO is that it’s a pleasant and inexpensive activity.

“People pick and eat a bit as they go,” she says.

“That’s part of it. It’s nice to see families out doing it together. I think part of the attraction is that it encourages you to have a bit more thought about your food.”

Although the season got off to a late start this year due to the cold weather, the beautiful summer has made for a bumper crop and business is booming. And the lack of rain hasn’t been a problem as everything is fed through a drip irrigation system from a huge reservoir which fills up with rainwater over winter.

“There aren’t many PYOs left in this area now,” says May, who has been co-running PYO farms since 1970.

“There used to be loads – hundreds of strawberry growers. They had little huts on the side of the road. Business is tremendous for us though but you have to keep on top of it.”

■ Pickwell Farm is in Grange Road, Bursledon. Contact: 023 8040 4616.