PYO (Pick Your Own) Fruit Farms In Essex

With the arrival of summer and the onset of warm sunny weather wandering through the tranquil fields of a pick-your-own farm (PYO) is a great way to spend a morning. Essex is home to some of the finest PYO farms in the country, boasting a wide variety of fresh, seasonal produce ripe for the picking. From juicy strawberries to crisp apples, and everything in between, PYO farms offer a unique opportunity for families to experience the joys of agriculture and the great outdoors. Many locations have great cafes, farm shops and playgrounds too. This list includes some PYO which need prebooking and those with no need to book.

This post mostly covers summer fruit, you might also want to check out these guides for PYO Pumpkin Patches and Christmas Tree Farms in Essex.

Rows of strawberries in a raised bed at a pick your own farm
There are lots of PYO farms in Essex where you can hand pick a variety of fruit, vegetables and even flowers.

Guide To PYO Fruit Farms In Essex

What You Need To Know Before Going PYO Fruit Picking

  • Many of the pick your own farms require you to prebook entry. Every person, including children, but not babes in arms, need a ticket or voucher. At most locations the cost of the voucher will be deducted from the fruit purchased. 
  • Some PYO Farms operate a minimum spend per person. 
  • Some locations charge for the punnets (baskets) used to pick fruit. They may allow you to bring your own containers, but make sure these are weighed before you start picking so they know how much the fruit weighs.
  • Farms strongly discourage eating fruit while you are picking so make this clear to children in advance. Also make sure they know how to identify how to choose ripe fruit or you’ll end up with a basket full of sour fruit eg they need to look at all sides of a strawberry to ensure it’s red all round.
  • It is difficult for farms to predict exactly when fruit will be ripe and how many visitors they might have. They will often close at short notice if they don’t have enough fruit for picking so check their websites and socials before you leave home to make sure they will be open.
  • Dogs are generally not allowed.
  • The best picking is normally early in the day so visit in the morning if possible.

Typical Seasons For PYO Fruit And Vegetables In Essex

When fruit is available will depend on the variety grown at the farm and the weather so this is just a rough guide. Farms will normally announce what fruit is currently available on their website or social media.

  • Strawberries are the most popular pick your own fruit in the UK. A combination of poly tunnels and strawberry varieties mean they are often available to pick from June through to September
  • Raspberries are normally available late June to early August
  • Broad beans early June to mid July 
  • Blueberries July to mid August
  • Apricots July
  • Cherries have a short window in June or July
  • Gooseberries June to July
  • Redcurrants June to July
  • Blackcurrants July to mid August
  • Blackberries July to early Sept
  • Boysenberries July
  • Loganberries July
  • Courgettes July to August
  • Drawf beans July to August
  • Plums July to August
  • Sweetcorn August to October
  • Onions August to October
  • Sunflowers in late July and August
  • Apples from late September
  • Pears from late September
More than just strawberries, Essex farms have blueberries, apples, plums, pears, sweetcorn and more available to pick

PYO Farms in Essex (In Alphabetical Order)

Bloomfield Fruit Farm 

Address: Ashlyns Lane, Ongar CM5 0NB

Bloomfield is a small farm which specialises in plums. They sell ready picked as well as offering PYO when there is enough. They don’t have a website, so check out their Facebook for latest information on when they are open and the plum varieties currently available for picking.
PYO open roughly 15th July to end of August. No booking required.

Cammas Hall Farm

Address: Needham Green, Hatfield Broad Oak, Near Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire CM22 7JT

Technically in Hertfordshire according to the address, Cammas Hall Farm is right on the Essex border. Cammas Hall Farm is a great PYO location with a wide range of fruit and vegetables, farm shop, playground, cafe  and maize maze (normally late July to end October). The strawberries at Cammas Hall are grown off the ground which makes it a little harder for younger children to reach, but as an adult you (and your back) will hugely appreciate it. As a side note I generally have no phone reception when there so if relying on Google maps to get you there make sure you know the start of the way home.

The website shows clearly what is currently available and the price. You need to prebook a voucher to pick fruit. In 2023 the vouchers cost £3 plus 25p booking fee per person. £3 is deductible from cost of fruit. Vouchers available up to a week ahead, but additional slots can be released if they expect to have good availability. The exception to this is over 60s who don't need to book to pick between 9am and 10am on Tuesday and Friday mornings.
Normal opening days are Tuesday to Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays.
They supply containers.
Opened early June 2023 for fruit picking.

Daymens Hill Farm

Address: Tolleshunt Major, Maldon, Essex, CM9 8JZ

Daymens Hill Farm has orchards with over 4000 apple and pear trees. They are open for you to pick your own fruit from the orchards from early September to mid October (last year they were open Wednesday to Sunday). No booking required, but check their website or Facebook for fruit availability.

Foxes Farm

Address: Basildon: Watch House Farm, Wash Road, SS15 4ER. Colchester: Green Lane, Aldham, CO6 3PR

While Foxes Farm don't actually do PYO fruit (other than Pumpkins in October) I wanted to include them because they have PYO Sunflowers in early August at both their Basildon and Colchester locations. Prebooking is essential (slots sell out quickly) and you have to bring your own secateurs, but I think most people go for the photo opportunities. 

As well as the sunflowers there are refreshments and a 'field of fun'.

Lathcoats Farm

Address: Beehive Lane, Galleywood, CM2 8LX

Lathcoats Farm specialises in apples and their orchards grow over 40 varieties. Their Apple Day (which was Saturday 21st October in 2023) sells out well in advance and is a fun harvest event. In Summer they have a wide variety of fruit and vegetables to pick, but relatively small fields for each. Strawberries are grown off the ground for easy picking. Lathcoats farm also have a great farm shop, cafe and small animal farm. You can read more about it in our Lathcoats Farm Review.

Every person needs a voucher which cost £3 in 2023), £2 of which can be redeemable against fruit picked. The exceptions to this is on weekdays over 65s and people with disabilities (and carers) don’t need to book between 9 and 10am. Weekdays in term time school children and families don't need to book to visit between 3 to 4pm. Some vouchers are released a week before (for Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays) and additional vouchers are released the evening before if there is plenty to pick.  
Normal fruit picking days are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday between 9am to 4.30pm. When there is enough fruit they will also be open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 
You have to pay for their containers to pick the fruit.
They expect to be open for PYO in June 2024.

Little Mountains Farm

Address: Little Mountains Farm, Mountains Road, Great Totham, Maldon, Essex, CM9 8BY

Little Mountains Farm is a busy working farm with livestock (they specialise in turkeys) which is open for PYO strawberries and raspberries in the summer. You pay a fixed price for your container and then fill it with fruit. You can mix strawberries and raspberries in the same container if you want.  At times they only take cash payments, so worth bringing cash just in case. 

They expect to be open from mid June to July and will have updates on their Facebook page. Opening times are generally 9am to 1pm and they update Facebook the night before to advise if they will be open (dependent on having enough ripe fruit). No booking required. 

close up of a big red, ripe, juicy strawberry
PYO is a great activity for families

McLauchlans Of Boxted

Address: 53 Straight Road, Boxted, near Colchester, Essex CO4 5RB

McLauchlans have a chart on their website showing which fruit is currently available for picking, this is updated daily to show the availability. Strawberry plants are on the ground which is great for children. They also have a farm shop and a pop up food seller (The Wandering Blossom) selling coffee, cake and homemade ice lollies between 9am and 4pm. 

The 2023 season opened early June. They are open Monday to Saturday 9am to 6pm and Sundays 9am to 4pm. No booking required.

Olivers Nurseries 

Address: Maldon Road, Witham, Essex, CM8 3HY

As of 2024 they no longer have pick your own fruit. They still have a garden centre, tea room, playground and free mini golf! 

Park Fruit Farm

Address: Pork Lane, Great Holland, Nr Frinton-on-sea, Essex, CO13 0ES

The farm closed permanently in 2023 however a community group expressed an interest in taking it over so it may reopen in some form.
Park Fruit Farm used to have a farm shop and PYO of some of their fruits in season with plum orchards, raspberries and blackberries. Apples, pears and other fruits were available to buy ready picked. 

Parkside Farm Pick Your Own 

Address: Hadley Rd, Enfield EN2 8LA

Technically this farm is in London, but it's not far from the border with Essex. Throughout the season they have have raised bed strawberries, raspberries, beans, courgettes, sweetcorn, sunflowers, plums and beetroot. Advanced booking required which is £4 per person, money redeemable against fruit. Baskets and bags provided. Card payments only.

The farm expect Strawberries available for PYO from 2nd or 3rd week of June in 2024 and the season normally ends mid August.

Spencers Farm Shop/ Wickford Fruit Farm

Address:  Park Road, Halstead CO9 2PX

The farm has a farm shop, cafe, play area and goats as well as PYO fruit in season. From June to August they have pick your own strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, loganberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants. Information on availability is on their Facebook page.

Last year prebooking wasn’t required and you pay based on the size of the container which makes it nice and clear how much you can expect it to cost. PYO expected to open by end of June for 2024.

Disclosure: Information believed correct at time of creation, always confirm details with the farms themselves.

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