Watson Farms in Bowmanville features on my list of Top Five Farms to Visit with Family in Durham for many reasons. It is family-friendly, offers a variety of produce, and promises amazing experiences to boot.
Watson Farms is particularly famous for its pick-your-own strawberries season. Read on to know how to make the most of this experience with kids and family.
Best Time to Go Strawberry-Picking
Watson Farms remains closed through the winter, reopening around May. Keep an eye on their website to track the exact dates when they begin strawberry picking season. Typically, the best time to pick strawberries in Ontario is in June and July.
We went around the middle of July, anxious that we may be late in the season, but the farm was abounding in ripe strawberries.
It is best to go on a weekday if you want to experience strawberry picking at leisure. If you are planning your trip on a weekend, be prepared for crowds. Also avoid the hottest days of the year, since picking strawberries in an open field under the hot sun is not for the faint-hearted.
Strawberry Picking Clarington
While many farms in Durham and Clarington offer the PYO strawberries experience, Watson Farms is among the best. The reason is that they make the experience truly memorable for you. After you choose the size of the basket you plan to fill, you can pay for it and head into the fields. The strawberries are a five to ten-minute walk away, but families with kids may prefer taking the free tractor ride into the fields.
On a beautiful sunny day, you can get amazing pictures to add to your family’s memory books.
Kid-Friendly Farm in Bowmanville
Apart from the tractor ride, children can enjoy the petting zoo and playground on Watson Farm’s premises. There is no extra cost for any of these services. There are small dispensers where you can drop a coin to get some corn for the goats, cows and pigs in the petting zoo. The playground has a remarkably long slide, some old tractor tires scattered across the sand, a climbing structure and a few swings.
My five-year-old son adored every moment at the farm, from the tractor ride to picking his own strawberries, coming up close to the farm animals and romping around in the playground.
Pick Your Own Raspberries, Beans, Peas and Apples
While Watson Farms is particularly famous for their PYO strawberries, not many people know that you can also pick your own beans, peas and raspberries around the same time of the year. For apple picking, you would need to return in the fall.
Watson Farms Produce Store
If you don’t have time to pick your own strawberries, you can also pick up a ready basket with juicy and fresh strawberries from their store, located right beside the parking lot. Apart from strawberries, the store boasts a variety of produce. You can get local produce like cucumbers, blueberries, peaches, potatoes, as well as dairy, bakery and meat items. My husband loves picking up corn on the cob here, because of how sweet and fresh they taste.
I hope you get a chance to pick your own strawberries at Watson Farms or one of the farms near you. While the experience was memorable in itself, the strawberries we picked at Watson Farms were undoubtedly the sweetest and juiciest we have had all season.
Piyushi Dhir is the author of 'In Search of Love', 'I'm Yours, The Next Time', 'Silent Promises' and 'Enmeshed Evermore'. She is a contributor in 'Nineteen Tales of COVID-19', a collection of short stories. A voracious reader, a keen traveler, a businesswoman and a mom, Piyushi currently resides in Canada. A nomad at heart, she loves to discover new places and capture the hues of life with her pen.