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Pick your own plums and raspberries at Hill Farm - but perhaps not pumpkins

Hill Farm, in Oundle Road, is now open for Pick Your Own plums and autumn fruiting raspberries – but the family is warning that October's pumpkin season may have been weakened by weather.
Hill Farm, in Oundle Road, is open for Pick Your Own raspberries and plums (Photo: AdobeStock)

The Covid-19 shutdown meant that Hill Farm's Pick Your Own (PYO) service was stopped for much of the year. The farm shop re-opened, allowing customers to drop by and pick up already picked punnets, but the popularity of PYO meant that Hill Farm owners couldn't be sure that social distancing was achievable.

A decision was taken to make the service available for plum season, however, and autumn raspberries have also been added to the crops ready for picking.

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak and government guidance on limiting the spread, the usual facilities including playground, tea and cake facilities, picnic tables and toilets will be closed.

Hill Farm is open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 10am to 5pm. It is closed on Sundays and Mondays. People wishing to visit the farm for PYO are advised to call before they make the journey -- up to date crop information is given in a recorded message at 01733 233270.

The Hill Farm farmers have also shared the sad news that the pumpkin yield may be low this year as a result of unusual localised weather. The early heat and later heavy rain was not ideal for the Halloween favourites. An update from the farm explained: "The plants struggled to get going and then pollination basically failed. Those plants that did pollinate have produced pumpkins, but many are immature, so way behind schedule. We often start picking at the beginning of October, but looking at the crop, much of it looks like it will be very delayed."

Ready-picked pumpkins may be the only ones available from Hill Farm this year, but customers will be kept updated via the Hill Farm website.