Fruit pickers’ free for all ends Fruit farms have stopped “pick your own” strawberries due to people eating too much produce without paying.
Hacker’s Fruit Farm, near Cambridge, had offered pickers the chance to select their own strawberries for the last 40 years.
Mark Spight, who runs the farm, said he was annoyed at the number of people not paying for the strawberries.
One family were caught dipping the berries in cream as they picked them.
Mr Spight said he used to get angry watching people gorging themselves then only taking a handful of fruit to be paid for.
Bowl of cream
He said some people were eating up to £15 worth of strawberries and would come to the checkout covered in juice.
There had also been an increasing problem with unruly behaviour leading to plants being trampled and fruit damaged.
“We don’t mind people going picking and trying some strawberries, but we once had a family come with a bowl of cream. It was shocking,” said Mr Spight.
“We used to have a lot of children playing in the fields and trampling the plants. We thought it was not worth it.”
This year the farm does not have any strawberry plants to be picked but sells them in the farm shop grown by other local farmers.
Mr Spight has replaced them with rows of redcurrants, blackcurrant, loganberries, tayberries and gooseberries.