Annabelle Mallia heads straight to the farms for the freshest and best fruit of the season.
Summertime is smothered in strawberries, freshly picked straight from the fields.
Being from Australia, where fresh fruit and veggies are grown all year round, it took me some time to get used to the seasonal
availability of produce here in Germany. I was dismayed that, come spring, I couldn’t find pumpkin anywhere to make my favorite roasted vegetable salad or that I had to endure a long winter of apples and cabbage. But before long I too was hooked on the intense colors and flavors that would pop up at farmers' markets with each change of season. Summertime in Berlin is smothered in sweet strawberries. Train stations and busy street corners sprout giant, strawberry-shaped stands tempting commuters with freshly picked berries from the fields. The only thing better is plucking them straight off the vines yourself at places such as Berliner Beerengarten (www. berlinerbeerengarten.de), or "berry gardens," located all around the city and in the Brandenburg area. Raspberries and blueberries are also on offer, depending on when you visit. The deal is always the same: The more you pick, the cheaper the price, but you only ever have to pay for what’s in your basket and not what you’ve eaten along the way. Another such heavenly place is Vierfelderhof (www. vierfelderhof.de), where you can also retreat to the café for a well-deserved break and refreshment after a hard day's work (or perhaps just an hour or so) of picking in the fields, while the kids get an insight into life on the land, visiting the animals and climbing on the tractor and haystacks.
At Karls Erlebnis-Dorf (www.karls.de), just west of Berlin, you can’t pick your own, but you can experience strawberries in all their glory. There are piles of fresh strawberries to buy, jam- and candy-making demonstrations, and a smorgasbord of strawberry-themed products in the store. And when the kids have had their fill of berries, they can head to an adventure playground with a splash pool, petting zoo, maze, and a great potato sack slide while you savor a delicious strawberry cake topped with whipped cream.