Why the Bay of Plenty is so berrylicious!
Our warm, sunny climate and fertile soil make the Bay of Plenty an ideal place to grow delicious berry fruit.
In late spring and summer, our fields are bursting with plump strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and even a few sweet gems you’ve probably never heard of like ranui berries, kotataberries and loganberries.
If you’re visiting the Bay of Plenty at this time of year, a trip to one of our local berry farms is an absolute must. Not only will you see how these magnificent fruits are grown, you’ll have lots of fun picking your own berries and tasting berry-flavoured products such as ice-creams, smoothies, jams, sauces, vinaigrettes, fruit pastes, muffins, tarts, chocolates, juice and tea. You can even buy berry-flavoured soap!
There are some great berry farms spread across our region. If you’re in the Eastern Bay, check out Julian’s Berry Farm or Blueberry Corner, both on the outskirts of Whakatāne. If you’re in the Western Bay, you’ll find Black Stump Berries at Papamoa, or Somerfields Berryfruit Farm in the Oropi hills above Tauranga.
All of these berry farms sell freshly-picked berries which have been pre-packed for you. Or in many cases, you’re welcome to ‘pick-your-own’. You choose which size container you’d like to purchase, then head into the fields and fill it up. It’s tradition to eat a few while you’re picking, as long as you don’t take advantage of the situation too much!
Berries may be small in size but they’re a nutritional powerhouse, packed full of antioxidants to help boost your immune system and protect you from disease and the aging process. They don’t ripen further or change flavour once they’re picked, so make sure you choose berries that look ready to eat.
Most berry farms have a delicious café and shop attached, so you can buy some berry coulis or enjoy freshly baked berry tarts or muffins with a coffee. The other main drawcard is the soft-serve berry ice-creams which are made on the spot (from whatever combination of berries you choose). They are simply enormous! There’s no better way to celebrate summer in the Bay of Plenty than by devouring one of these.
The best time to pick your own berries is late November to early December, although each berry farm will generally open from October through until January or February depending on what variety of berries they grow.
Each farm has its own Facebook page (and often their own website and Instagram) so check online before you go to see what’s on offer.
WHERE TO GO BERRY PICKING
JULIAN'S BERRY FARM, WHAKATĀNE
Where: 12 Huna Road, Whakatāne. Phone +64 7 308 4253
When: Open Wednesday to Monday from 9am to 4.30pm from October until February each year.
Sneak Peek: www.facebook.com/JuliansBerryFarmAndCafe
BLUEBERRY CORNER, WHAKATĀNE
Where: 364 Thornton Road, Whakatāne. Phone +64 7 308 0444
When: Open daily from 8am to 5pm.
Sneak Peek: https://www.facebook.com/blueberrycornernz
BLACK STUMP BERRIES, PAPAMOA
Where: 1865 State Highway 2, Papamoa.
When: Open daily from October until January each year.
SOMERFIELDS BERRYFRUIT FARM, TAURANGA
Where: 1002 Ōropi Road. Ph +64 7 543 1513
When: Open daily from November until mid-January each year.
Sneak Peek: www.facebook.com/SomerfieldsBerryfruitFarm
IONA BOYSENBERRY ORCHARD, PAPAMOA
Where: 4 Bell Road, Papamoa
When: Open during summer months.
Sneak Peek: https://www.facebook.com/IonaBoysenberryOrchard/