By: Lorraine Aitken
With a great array of farm gate sales, and pick your own produce providers on the Mornington Peninsula, it’s easier than ever to get the kids out and about enjoying food the way nature intended it to be…..healthy, fresh, nutritious and let’s not forget DELICIOUS!
Sunny Ridge Strawberry farm is one such place that the kids love visiting and picking their own berries. Whilst I’m sure every family on the Peninsula has visited Sunny Ridge at some stage, it is a great place to go back to when you’re out exploring the surrounding hills and want a healthy snack on the go.
The berries, without a word of a lie, are a taste sensation and I’m not even that fond of strawberries! So it’s no wonder Sunny Ridge is always popular with international visitors and day trippers trying to get a little taste of the Peninsula’s produce.
For the kids, not only is it fun for them to pick their own berries but it’s also a good way to learn about food, farming, growing and even marketing. You can help turn a simple visit into an educational experience by asking them age appropriate questions, such as: Which ones should we pick today? Which ones do we leave for another day? How many strawberries are in the container? Why are the strawberries planted in rows? Why is the strawberry farm only open from November to April? Do strawberries ripen after being picked? Why are there white flowers on the plants? The possible questions are endless and it’s amazing how much they learn without realising when they are interested and engaged in what they are doing.
For anyone that is unfamiliar with the process of picking strawberries at Sunny Ridge, don’t stress it’s as simple as it sounds. You pay for entry up front and receive a punnet to fill. If you want to pick more berries than your pre-paid punnet holds then you just need to pay for the extra berries on exit. Entry for adults is $9 and includes 500 grams of strawberries; kid’s entry for ages 4-12 years old is $4 and includes 250 grams of strawberries, or a family of 4 costs $22.
After picking some berries you may like to indulge in some strawberry kebabs, homemade strawberry ice cream or Devonshire tea with strawberry jam in the Dessert café on site. As well as the café there is a gift shop and store selling jams, strawberry wine, frozen berries, chocolate coated freeze dried strawberries and much more.
Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm is open 7 days a week from 9am-5pm (U-Pick is available Nov-April).
The farm is located at 244 Shands Rd, Main Ridge.
For more info, check out their website: www.sunnyridge.com.au
For other places to buy fresh produce on the Peninsula, have a look at: Bentons Rise Farm, Tuerong (or better known as the “red train carriage”) www.brf.com.au, Woolumbi Farm in Tyabb www.woolumbi.com, Staples apples and cherries Main Ridge (new season apples available in March) www.staplesapples.com.au, Hawkes vegetable and produce farm store, Boneo www.hawkesvegetables.com.au, Main Ridge Dairy www.mainridgedairy.com.au to name just a few.