Charleston Fruit Farm.

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This afternoon we took the boys to do one of their favourite things. We went to The Charleston Fruit Farm – http://www.charleton-farm.co.uk/

It is a great afternoon out there. It is about a half hours drive from where we are, just north of Montrose, so we headed off just after the Summer Club at the church.

It meant we arrived in time to get some lunch. Food there is basic but brilliant! There is a vast array of sandwiches and toasted paninis, with traditional fillings like cheese and tuna, but they have a twist. The cheese was with a hot garlic chutney, which was lovely, whilst the tuna comes with a red onion chutney. There is also a huge selection of coffee and cakes. There is of course a children’s menu which is limited, but it offers hot dogs, so my boys are happy. The drink of choice for us all is the strawberry smoothie, fresh milk and strawberries blitzed together – yummy and then some!!! The setting for the coffee shop is beautiful too. There are a lot of outdoor tables in a courtyard which seems to be a sun trap, but inside is worth a look, even if you eat out. It is a converted stable block, and the tables are very rustic in the former stalls. Its beautiful!

After eating, it is off to the playground. It isn’t just your basic playground. In fact, it is the playground more than anything that take a lot of people to the farm. It is a huge area, with sunken trampolines, a zip slide, straw bale climbing frame, sand pit, a driving track for the wee tots, and one for the older ones, as well as a huge fort for running about in with slides to leave it. They have even had the sense to install a food kiosk in the area, so aren’t making customers go over to the coffee shop! There are plenty of tables and chairs for the grown ups to sit at while the kids run riot!

We then have to go and do what the prime purpose of the visit was, and that is to pick strawberries. The man handing out the punnets said they were few and far between, but the raspberries were plentiful (there were also gooseberries, tayberries, red, black and white currents). We have done this several times with the boys, and I must say they are brilliant doing it. The first time we went, they were totally supervised to ensure they didn’t pick anything that wasn’t ready, and so they didn’t eat more than we took home! M went with Hubby while D stayed with me, and right enough between us we only managed half a punnet of strawberries. There was plenty of fruit there, but it just wasn’t ripe. We therefore decide to head to the raspberry area. M wasn’t too sure, but I assured him he had like them last time he had them – in fact when he was younger, he lived on them almost! I suggested he tried one to see if he liked it. He wasn’t keen on the idea of eating one before it was paid for, but I didn’t fancy filling the punnets only to discover he didn’t like them any more! He loved it, as I knew he would. I then showed them how to pick them, and we were off. D wasn’t happy – nothing new there I hear you cry, but I had said to be careful of the small thorns on the canes, so in his head that meant they were going to rip his arm apart if he went to close! Some of the canes were in poly tunnels, and of course the insects were more visible in there, and D just went berserk when a darter flew near him!!! We then went outside so he couldn’t see so many things. I know I shouldn’t laugh at him, but his constant fear of everything about him is quite ridiculous at times, but to him it is serious and therefore I don’t let him see how over the top he is being, instead talking through his fear and trying to calm it. I think encouraging M to try a raspberry might not have been the most sensible thing, as he tried several whilst filling his punnet!

We went back to the shop to have our punnets weighed and to pay for them. Also, we had to buy the famous strawberry tarts, because you ask anyone about this place and they will mention them to you! They are huge and just delicious! I bought one each to take home for the old people, who will moan about the size of them but devour ever crumb!

The boys love this place. It has just 2 draw backs in my opinion, and that is, that if you don’t know where it is, it is hard to find, as it is not well signed from the road. The other is the toilets which is one of these old portacabin style blocks you see at outdoor events. Its just out of character for the rest of the environment.

It’s a great afternoon (or morning) out as there is loads to keep the kids entertained. Also, they don’t come away wanting sweeties, they come away munching loads of freshly picked fruit!

I’m telling you about this place because we love it there, and not because I have been asked to do so.

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