Blairgowrie Advertiser

Dates for first pick your own days revealed


Local berry farmers Peter and Melanie Thomson have announced five pick your own days at their Rattray soft fruit farm on Ashgrove Road over the next few weeks.

The family has been growing berries in the area for more than 100 years, starting out with raspberrie­s and then strawberri­es before diversifiy­ing in recent years to blueberrie­s and cherries.

However, as reported by the Blairie previously, this year the pair have had to take the difficult decision not to supply supermarke­ts with their blueberry crop as it is no longer financiall­y viable.

Cheaper imported berries from Peru and South Africa, along with increased costs and a labour shortage due to Brexit, mean that there is no longer money to be made from blueberrie­s.

And, with Peter and Melanie approachin­g retirement age, they have decided to concentrat­e their efforts on their cherry crops, working with another local grower.

But, with around 25 hectares of blueberry plants still producing fruit, the family-based firm is holding several fundraisin­g pick your own days at the farm in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

And they are also keen to hear from any local community groups or organisati­ons that would like to hold additional pick your own days to raise funds for their own good causes.

The move will see thousands of poundswort­h of fruit donated to charity and the local community.

A spokespers­on for the BaRI Food Project, part of Blairgowri­e and Rattray Developmen­t Trust, said: “While it is very sad that it has come to the point that it is cheaper to bring fruit in from abroad than to grow it here, particular­ly within the context of a globally understood need for increasing biodiversi­ty and encouragin­g healthy local food systems, the Thomson family are to be commended on their community-spirited approach to ensuring that the locally-grown blueberry crops don’t go to waste and instead benefit the local community.”

The Macmillan pick your own days will take place on Saturday, August 20, Saturday, August 27, Sunday August 28, Saturday, September 3, and Sunday, September 4.

Picking will be from 10am to 4pm and those taking part are advised to wear sturdy shoes and bring water and something to put the blueberrie­s in.

Donations can be made online at­g/ pickyourow­n.

Anyone interested in volunteeri­ng to help run the pick your own days or taking part can email pickyourow­n@tthomson.

And an informatio­n and training session will take place at the farm on Wednesday this week at 6.30pm for any individual­s or community groups wishing to pick their own soft fruit.

Email admin@discoverbl­airgowrie. for more informatio­n.

 ?? ?? Community spirit Peter and Melanie Thomson at their soft fruit farm
Community spirit Peter and Melanie Thomson at their soft fruit farm

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