“ Address: Winwick Lane / Croft / Warrington / WA3 7ED / Cheshire „
Kenyon hall farm is technically a fruit and veg shop. The main area consists of a very large shop which contains a wide range of fresh produce along with other bits and bobs. The main attraction of this place however is that you are able to pick your own fruit and veg. For us the main purpose of doing this is to get my daughter more involved with what she eats without having to go through the troublesome process of growing our own fruit and veg. We try to go every Sunday in peak seasons to gather some vegetables for our afternoon tea which my daughter then helps to prepare. There are other reasons to go to Kenyon hall farm though and the obvious is that you can choose what you want, you can see it, touch it and feel it and ensure that you are getting the freshest of foods.
Kenyon hall farm has most of your typical fruits and veg from carrots to apples to strawberries. There are however different times of the year when different foods are available. In the spring foods such as herbs, rhubarb and asparagus are available, this is obviously not a wide variety and we never tend to go around this time. In the summer all of the more popular fruits and vegetables are available such as strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries, redcurrants, broad beans, peas, onions, tayberries, blackberries and blackcurrants. In the autumn there are again a less amount available but there are some popular ones around this time such as apples, sweet corn, pears and plums. You can also get fresh pumpkins around this time. During the winter time they don't particularly have fruits and vegetables but they do have Christmas trees, wreaths and free range turkeys. So despite summer being the more obvious and popular season at Kenyon hall they do aim to provide a range of different things throughout the other seasons.
We really only go in the summer as this is when the range of things that we are interested in are available. If you chose to pick your own (which you don't have to do) you are provided with a couple of tubs and food bags to load your foods into as you go around. If you are with children you are given a little basket in which a little tub can be placed into for children to carry around. I thought this aspect was really nice and my daughter loved the novelty of it. There are several different fields within the area all of which are separated between hedges etc. it can be a little complicated to find what you are looking for as there are rows and rows of different food types and the only way to find out what it is, is to go and give it a close inspection. There are small wooden signs dotted around the place but I have generally found these to confuse me further.
You are able to pick any amount of food that you want, the only problem being that you have to have everything separated into different containers, we have never got such a variety that this has ever caused a problem but bear it in mind before you decide to try a bit of everything all at once. I have found on most occasions that there is a large stock of everything on offer so we haven't been disappointed not being able to pick our own. Saying that however I wouldn't leave it until late season as we found out recently. Our last visit was in mid-august and all that was left to be picked was onions and raspberries. Just for the fact that my daughter was excited we had to go and pick some of these even though we didn't actually plan on doing so. It so happened to turn out that my daughter liked raspberries so it was worthwhile in the end.
The prices for the foods can vary and there is not really a set price that I know of, we just pick what we want and they get weighed at the shop and then you are given a price. I have noticed that these prices are very reasonable however, being the same or near to the same as other shops. I noted on our last visit that it cost 30p per onion which for the novelty of being able to pick your own and for the freshness of the food is a reasonably good price.
At Kenyon hall it's not all about picking your own fruit and veg, they also have them ready picked in the shop for you to buy. The shop also has a wider variety than the fields selling a bigger range of vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, potatoes etc. the prices are the same either way, if you chose to buy them straight from the shop or if you choose to pick your own. The shop also has a wide variety of other things, mainly homemade baked goods, dairy products and homemade jams and spreads. I have found the prices of these to be rather expensive and apart from cream for our strawberry's we haven't bought anything more from this section of the shop, we just stick to the fruits and vegetables.
The farm also has a café although we have never used this; this is a new addition to the farm that has been added within the last year. It also has a childrens park which my daughter loves, this area has a disused tractor and my daughter loved pretending she was riding it, it gives a more realistic feel to the whole experience. As well as these there is also a rather large garden centre which sells your basic plants and hanging baskets as well as herb plants and fruit trees. We have bought several plants from here one time and the prices are reasonable but they can be bought cheaper elsewhere.
There is a decent sized car park close to the shop itself; this has disabled parking which is close to the ramps to enter the shop. There is also an overflow car park which we have had to use several times, especially within peak season. There are no hidden charges or anything like that, parking is free as is the entrance to the farm, and you just pay for what you pick. I think it is a great place to visit, it is educational for children and it gets them interested in fruits and vegetables. I like the satisfaction of knowing that I am getting the freshest fruit and vegetables at a reasonable price as well. I would highly recommend paying it a visit; it is suitable for all ages and has wheelchair access to many areas just unfortunately not within the fields themselves.
Kenyon hall is situated in croft, half way between Warrington and Leigh, it is accessible from the M6 and is no more than a 5 minute drive from the 22 junction. During the main season (Mid June to early August) the farm is open from 9.30am to 8.00pm throughout the rest of the year it is open from 9.30am to 5.30pm. It is also open every day of the week.
Tod and Barbra Bulmer are the present owners of Kenyon Hall Farm, which has been in the family for 400 years. It was originally an arable farm but in 1978 the couple started planting strawberries in 2 acres of one of their fields, and the rest is history, as they say!!
It now boasts to be one of the biggest and most popular 'pick your own' farms in the North West with 30 acres of Fruit and Veg.
I have been to this farm on a number of occasions and feel qualified to give a good review.
Upon entering the farm I am impressed with the signs, saying what they sell, along with a harcore drive, with parking for I would guess 200 plus cars. Plenty of space for the amount of visitors they have. This parking is of course free. It is clean (well as far as farms can be) and has a small, basic, childs play area, to keep the littleuns entertained. On busy days they also have an ice cream hut open.
Well obviously you wouldn't be going here unless you are looking to spend some of your hard earned cash on some fresh produce. You will see a mixture of all kinds here. Most in grown on their farm, but you will also find some others which have been sourced from elsewhere. They also sell jams and cereal etc. The cereal is made from oats from the farm too.
If you are looking to 'pick your own' it is wise to phone them first, or check their website for availability. Most of the fruit is only available for a short period. It is particularly cheap either, but that isn't a criticism. At least you know it hasn't been flown 5000 miles across the world before it hits your fruit bowl.
Here are a few examples of the prices for this years fruit/veg (2009)
Pick Your Own Strawberries £3.99/kg
Pick Your Own Gooseberries £3.80/kg
Pick Your Own Raspberries £5.00/kg
Pick Your Own Tayberries £5.00/kg
Pick Your Own Blackberries
Pick Your Own Red and Blackcurrants £3.80/kg
Pick Your Own Garden Peas £1.99/kg
Pick Your Own Sugar-Snap Peas £4.00/kg
Pick Your Own Mangetout Peas £4.50/kg
Pick Your Own Broad Beans £1.80/kg
As with most 'pick your own' farms, it is not uncommon for people to 'sample' the fruit as they are picking, although it does say that all fruit must be paid for. Besides weighing people before they go in and then again on the way out :-) I can see little they can do to enforce this. I guess they allow extra for this in the price you pay, but of course this can't be condoned. From personal experience my kids love sampling the food as they go around the farm. The fruit I have found is to the highest quality!!
There is a huge green house (well it is more like a tent with a plastic covering) were you can browse the plants and herbs. We also used this when we got caught out in a heavy rain shower!! It is a huge area which I always thought they could do more too. I would guess that only 25% of it was being used to its full potential on the times we have been.
Half way between Warrington & Leigh on the A579 (Winwick Lane)
1 mile from junction 22 (M6) and 1 mile from Lane Head, Lowton.
If using a SAT NAV type in WA3 7ED. It will take you straight there!!
I was extremely happy with our visits at this well run farm. Like everything in life it would be nicer if things were a bit cheaper (our 3 large punets of strawberries cost us £17) but the staff are friendly, and there is plenty to do. I must warn though that you check on availability first. In the past we have been caught out by going to late in the season, and had to play hunt the strawberry!!
Pick your own fruit and vegetables farm.