Living in Waterloo Ontario: PYO Farms
One of the special things that people living in Waterloo Ontario can enjoy in June and early July is strawberries which are now in full season. Ontario strawberries are tiny (unlike those imported from California) and are so sweet that they almost dissolve on your tongue. You may intend to keep some berries for making jam or pies, but don’t be surprised if most of them are eaten by you and your children before you get home.
Depending on your preference, you can buy them fresh from the farmers market or make an event out of taking your family to pick your very own strawberries at a Pick-Your-Own (PYO) farm located within a twenty minute drive from where you’re living in Waterloo Ontario.
Ask anyone who’s been living in Waterloo Ontario, and they’ll agree: the most popular PYO farms are Naumans and Herrles. Both of these family-owned farms give you a chance to support local growers, eat produce from close to home, and connect with the rich farming heritage of Southern Ontario.
Herrles Farm in nearby St. Agatha is celebrating 50 years of living up to their motto “Where Freshness Makes the Difference” and there will be added cheer as eager Waterloo residents get their containers weighed before they head off to the PYO strawberry patch.
Not sure whether you will have time to pick your own strawberries from their farm? Don’t worry: Herrle’s is open seven days a week. They’re open Monday to Friday from 8am to 7pm. On Saturdays they are open from 8am to 5pm while on Sunday you can visit from 9am to 5pm. You’ll also enjoy the children’s climbing area or a gelato cone after your hot day in the strawberry patch.
If you have been living in Waterloo Ontario for any length of time, then Naumans PYO farm is not new to you. Their strawberries are in season now so if you haven’t yet gone there, do so before the fields are emptied by others craving the unique sweet taste of Ontario strawberries.
Naumans strawberry PYO season began on June 20 and will go on until all have been picked. They are open from Monday to Friday (9am to 6pm) while weekend operating hours are 9am to 5pm. The season normally lasts up to a maximum of 5 weeks so just to be sure they still have some for you to pick. You can find them by visiting their website and verify availability before you set off to the farm.
Is It Really Worth the Extra Effort to Pick Your Own Strawberries?
Just ask Carolyn Parks, the publisher of the online magazine slowstruck.com, which inspires people to slow down and enjoy life. Parks says:
“When I was young, my parents took us camping every summer to parks across Canada. I can vividly remember picking blueberries whether it be in Ontario or in the Rockies. We would come back to our camp with bowls full and put the fruit in our cereal. It was such a simple activity, but a total family thing – connecting us from the youngest sibling to our parents. And it was marvelous to taste something that we ourselves had obtained fresh from the earth.”
The value of a family picking their own fruit lies in the time they spend together, and the memories that they build in this simple, collective activity. Parks continued: “While we may not always be able to pack our families up and take them to the mountains or to Killarney, Ontario, we have ready access to PYO farms in our region. By taking our families to these farms, we’re not only teaching our kids where fresh, nutritious food comes from, but we’re also spending quality time together free of expense and chaos. The simple act of picking strawberries together while we talk (or not talk at all!) is truly bonding.”
For other lifestyle ideas and inspiration, visit Parks’ website: www.slowstruck.com.
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