Pick fresh and have fun

Jola and John Stewart pick raspberries on their farm. 204989 Pictures: ROB CAREW

Jay Berries is a family-owned berry farm located in the Yarra Valley and run by John and Jola Stewart.

It offers visitors a pick-your-own experience in Wandin East.

John and Jola have grown strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries for over 25 years and have diversified into tourism for the past eight years.

The weigh and pay system for u-pick gives visitors value for what they take home, especially for family groups where some people want large quantities of luscious fruit and others a small amount.

An entry fee of $5 for those 5 years old and over and $2 for ages 2-4 years makes it affordable for family groups who want to share a great day out for all.

The price per kilogram of berries does vary with the type of fruit but John and Jola said it is considered great value by those who visit regularly.

John said the farm is operated on safe-to-eat practices where chemical sprays are not used on any of the u-pick fruit or vegies.

“We use nature to control nature and are happy with the results of safe and healthy berries for the customers,” he said.

Jay Berries also make their own jams and cordials from fresh berries which can be tasted before purchasing.

“The natural berry flavours are unlike any others and have nothing artificial added to them, following the policy of fresh is best in all our products,” John said.

“Our homemade berry slushies are a popular request on many customer’s lists after they have finished picking all the berries they desire, especially the young.”

For those who want to relax with the family there is indoor and outdoor seating or even a ride on the berry tractor which tours the property around the berry fields.

On the tour, visitors can hear how Jay Berries grows and maintains different crops in an eco-friendly way.

Freshly picked berries are also for sale in the shop and many people pre-order to ensure they get what they need.

Jay Berries is open six days a week 8.30am-4.30pm and closed every Saturday.

The farm’s berry season runs from October to May depending on the seasonal weather, so there is plenty of time to enjoy picking in autumn when the weather is mild and the fruit is sweet.