I had a kaleidoscope of pleasing, peaceful, pastoral images floating around my mind as the car climbed the hilly, twisty road en route to the raspberry farm. I had never been there before so I imagined, I would be wandering among the raspberry canes idly picking fruit while simultaneous gazing at the misty mountains and admiring the verdant fields in the middle distance.
When I obeyed the last raspberry farm directional sign and turned to the right, the car crunched to a halt on a gravel drive in front of a house and there was not a single raspberry cane in sight. I did see a sign directing me to the back, where I found a garage mostly occupied by a large table bedecked with a red checked tablecloth and covered in punnets of raspberries and pots of jam. It was not a pick your own fruit farm. The large barquettes of berries which were all filled to the brim with freshly picked fruit, looked very tempting so naturally I bought some. The helpful Ian who was working there was happy to let me take pictures but sadly it was not possible to see the raspberry canes, which are some distance away (according to the farm’s website the fruit is grown in the open air, and ripens in natural sunshine without the use of poly tunnels).
On the way down the hilly road I stopped to take in the view, which stretched right down to the sea. At the viewing spot I picked a bunch of wild flowers and I spied lots of blackberry bushes heavy with ripening fruit. Methinks a return trip in September, to the same spot, to collect some of the ingredients for apple and blackberry crumble will be on the agenda.
I froze most of the raspberries when I got home, I took Ian’s advice on this and placed the punnets in the freezer as they were and only encased them in freezer bags when they were fully frozen. I kept a few aside to make Eton Mess this evening (usually made with strawberries) as you probably know it’s a mix of crushed meringue, fruit and whipped cream.
The trip to the raspberry farm was a berry good idea; an amazing raspberry aroma suffused the car as I drove home and the raspberries from the farm were in taste and texture far superior to those I have recently bought from supermarkets.
Note; Conroy’s Fruit Farm is about 25km south of Dublin on Rocky Valley Drive, Kilmacanogue, County Wicklow. The raspberry season is from late June to early August. The farm’s phone number is 01-286 0618 and their web address is http://www.wicklowraspberries.com