The weather in Brussels has been HOT HOT HOT these last few weeks (>30degrees) and getting out of the house has only been enjoyable when the air conditioning has been on full blast in the car. But I had been itching to head out to Marie’s Garden in Overijse for ages (even prior to Monkey’s arrival)… and now I had a good enough excuse….
Strawberry picking!! They grow it – you pick it!
Monkey is 20months old, walking (running) and following instructions (sometimes), so I thought that taking her along would be ok.
About a 25minutes drive from our place in Brussels to the farm in Overijse and I was happy to see that there was sufficient parking. They opened at 10am and although it was only 10.30am, there more than a handful of cars & families with the same idea as us!
We parked the car, put on our hats, lathered up with sunscreen and walked towards the entrance, where we were greeted by staff members who explained the rules of picking =>
- do not eat the fruits before they are weighed & paid for
- do not discard fruits that have been picked and don’t look perfect
- do not pick unripe fruit
- stay in the designated “open to pick” areas
- Ensure that children are not left unattended
Plastic containers were available which would take approx. 500g of strawberries. Cost per kg was 8€ which is somewhat more expensive then the local grocer, but the price was definitely worth the experience and the opportunity to select each strawberry yourself! There was also wheelbarrows available (as well as mini ones for children and little bikes for them to ride on). Not only this – but there is a small area at the entrance where you can sit down and enjoy the fruit of your picking labours.
We only spent half an hour actually picking strawberries and obviously going with a small toddler meant that a good portion of time was spent making sure that she didn’t walk in the plants, or eat the strawberries. I made sure that the adults did the picking and would then pass the individual strawberry to her so that she could then place it in the plastic container.
Confession time – she did take a bite of ONE strawberry, which we quickly confiscated and managed to distract her before a full blown meltdown occurred…
In total, we picked 5 containers worth of strawberries between 2 households (3 of which went home with us) that were :
a) washed and eaten as is (Monkey loved them… but I rationed her to 3 strawberries a day)
b) turned into a strawberry jam
c) tuned into strawberry panna cotta desserts (recipe soon to be posted on my food blog Why I am Not Skinny)
In general – I would say that this is a great family outing and something that I would recommend! Check out their website or FB page to double check on what is available and their opening times prior to heading out there!
Also – bring bottled water & other snacks with you if you are coming with small children. Although they do sell some bottle water there, there is no guarantee that they will always have. And also think about how you will be transporting these plastic containers home in your car… do you have a box or crate in the boot of your car?
I know that we are planning on heading back when the raspberries & blackberries are available for picking!! Will we see you there?