Dishonest pickers threaten pick your own berry tradition

Greedy pickers are again threatening the future of the Kiwi summer tradition of picking your own berries, with one Waikato grower reconsidering whether it is viable to continue.    

Ye Olde Berry Farm, on the outskirts of Hamilton, grows a range of berries for retailers and also opens the farm up to the public for the pick your own service over summer.

However, it has been left disappointed by the behaviour of some members of the public and expressed frustration on a post on Facebook.

"People entering and picking strawberries without paying entry fee or for the berries they had picked, people going in and picking from the closed-off blackberry fields when they had been specifically told not too by our shop staff, picking staff and our signs and also picking and then leaving our compostable punnets full of strawberries in the tunnels," it said.

The company was now looking at whether it would continue with the service.

"Pick your own relies on the honesty and integrity of our customers, therefore when we are confronted with situations such as these, we face the dilemma of whether to continue pick your own or not."

Ye Olde Berry Farm near Waikato is frustrated at those who abuse the pick your own system.
Ye Olde Berry Farm near Waikato is frustrated at those who abuse the pick your own system. Photo credit: Newshub

Last summer the Windermere Berry Farm in Whanganui was forced to temporarily close its pick your own service after what it described as thefts, while a Marlborough berry grower also struggled due to the number of people eating fruit before paying.

However Ye Olde Berry Farm was hoping the bad behaviour wouldn't spoil it for the majority of honest customers.

"We absolutely love seeing everyone and their families out in the sun enjoying picking and we thank all our honest and loyal pick your own customers who respect our fields."