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New farm shop opens at Goodall's pick-your-own in Lymington

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AS STRAWBERRY season kicks off at Goodall's pick-your-own in Lymington, visitors to the site can now browse a range of delicious delights in the new farm shop.

The shop, run by Pauline and Cathy Goodall, is housed in what was a kiosk, and sells fruit, vegetables and flowers grown at the farm including strawberries, raspberries, cherries, new potatoes, broad beans and sweet williams.

The shelves are lined with jars of Pauline's home-made jam and marmalade, alongside honey produced on the farm, and the shop stocks bread from Jennings & Son bakery in Lymington, eggs from Hordle, sausage rolls from Esme's bakery in Brockenhurst, tomatoes and asparagus grown on the Isle of Wight and a good selection of cheeses. Sweet treats, also from Esme's, include the classic Victoria sponge, cup cakes, rocky roads, scones and meringues.

Pauline Goodall's home-made jams and marmalade are also on sale
Pauline Goodall's home-made jams and marmalade are also on sale

If pre-ordered, customers can also pick up fresh crab and lobster from Flip n' Tails Seafood based in New Milton.

There is a definite strawberry theme running through the shop, with the vibrant red fruit displayed on tea towels made by Pauline and greetings cards by Joyce Bradbeer in Boldre.

Framed prints by local artist John Webb are also available to buy, along with beautiful jugs by Pilley potter Jackie Giron.

Produce grown on the farm also supplies other local farm shops, including Pilley Stores, Shallow Mead in Boldre and Setley Ridge in Brockenhurst. They also sell to wholesalers Mack in Southampton, which then sells to hotels, restaurants and cruise ships.

"When the pandemic hit last year and shut everything down we thought it was going to be disastrous for us," said Pauline, a grandmother-of-five. "But these food box schemes delivered to people's doors really took off and wholesalers were selling to them instead - that was a new thing and it really saved us."

Pauline and her husband Brian, whose grandfather Herbert Goodall started producing strawberries on the farm in 1912, used to employ pickers from overseas but, since Brexit, employ local young people.

"We had a Slovakian family who worked for us for 10 years," said Pauline. "But a drop in the strength of the pound meant they were able to send less and less money home to their family – and then Brexit really hit that on the head.

"We are employing local people now and it is working out really well."

Anyone who has tasted a Goodall's strawberry will know they are some of the sweetest and most delicious around, and Brian puts that down to the "microclimate between Milford and Beaulieu River".

"The light intensity increases the sugars," he said. "The other thing is that we market them on a daily basis. They are only picked, by ourselves or our customers, when they are perfectly ripe.

"We make sure to tell our customers exactly where on the farm to go to get the ripest fruit.

"What sets us apart from most other strawberry farmers is that we grow for taste, not volume; we don't sell to the supermarkets. If you get strawberries from the supermarket, they have often been picked five days before they are ready and that will really affect the taste."

This year, a proportion of the strawberries are being grown high up on "table tops", which will make picking them a lot easier.

"Growing at this level has also helped to reduce pesticides because the bugs and animals can't get at them," said Brian. "It also increases air flow around them – strawberries are prone to mould, and when they are growing low down, especially when it's wet, it can all be a bit of a soggy mess!"

To visit the farm shop or for pick-your-own, Goodall's Strawberry Farm opens from 9am until 5pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 5pm on Sundays.

The family also runs adventure golf and a golf course and practice range on sites adjoining the farm. Visit www.lymingtongolfcentre.com

For more information about the farm, go to https://goodallsstrawberries.co.uk/

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