Last year I travelled over to Hitchin Lavender along with the rest of the crowds to PYO (pick your own) lavender & sunflowers.
What Instagram doesn’t show you, is the swarms of other people getting in the way of your photos and the thousands of bees and wasps constantly chasing you around the fucking field.
I’ll be honest, it was totally over-rated and not a pleasant experience, even for an insta basic bitch like me.
Paired with the over-priced cafe and the 14 mile trek to get there, I wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice.
However when I saw The Pop Up Farm’s last day for ‘picking’ on Facebook, I thought I’d drag the boyfriend along and give the PYO sitch another go.
And I’m so glad I did!
The Pop Up Farm is just a couple of minutes out of Luton, just thirty seconds off the St Albans/Dunstable roundabout on Junction 9.
We paid £10 per car for entry which included picking as many sunflowers as you like and four corn-on-the-cobs. (I think entry prices are typically a little different but this was priced based on it being the last day of the season). So best check before you go!
Getting out the car, it was quite windy in the field so I looked like a bit of a lemon (quite literally) wearing a yellow summer dress. Never the less, the sun showed it’s face a few times so it wasn’t too cold!
We decided to make cob picking our first port of call, so ventured over to the corn fields. It’s all very well sign-posted and you’re greeted at each part with a team member directing you. All of the staff wear yellow tees, so you really can’t miss them. They are definitely worth stopping and talking to for a minute or so, as they give great tips on how to pick.
They gave us a fantastic tip for using the dying sunflowers. When the centre of the sunflower has gone crispy and hard, hang it upside down in the garden and the birds will feed off it. That pretty much became my boyfriends mission for the afternoon, finding the deadest sunflower he could find.
‘Can you just focus on picking me small ones for my vase please?’
‘No I need to feed the birds!’
There were still huge amounts of corn pickable, even so late into the season. It was also super exciting to see some pumpkins already developed in the fields! (Yes you can pick pumpkins here in the Autumn! But more on that later).
With the biggest cobs I could find in my bag, we headed on over to the stunning sunflower fields. We had to go a little further up the field to find the unpicked flowers but there were plenty to go round. Even if you filled your car in it’s entirety! Which some people did.
Depending on what you’re doing with the sunflowers, there’s something for everyone. I was keen to get the perfect vase sized flowers for my desk!
I also didn’t have to fight off as many bees as at Hitchin Lavender, so thankfully there were not too many pathetic girl vs nature moments.
On our way out from the Sunflower field, another member of the team gave me some great pointers for keeping them alive. (Something I tend to struggle with.) He suggested we put a copper coin in the vase as it fights off bacteria meaning the flowers last longer!
I loved that there was a member of the team of on every part of the PYO journey, helping you make the most of the experience. That really was a great selling point for me and a fantastic USP in competing against a lot of the other PYO farms I’ve been to. It’s nice that they want you to enjoy your picks and not just take your money and kick you out the door.
All the picking got me rather hungry, so we headed on over to the corn stall where corn on the cobs were being grilled on the back of a disused combine harvester. (There’s three words I’ve probably never used in my life!)
I very almost didn’t have one due to there being no butter available but the cook assured me I wouldn’t need butter as they were sweet enough.
He was not wrong! They were bloody amazing. So sweet and tender, I could of easily had another. They were priced at £2 and a must try if you visit here!
I loved the entire experience at The Pop Up Farm and I kind of feel like it’s something everyone can enjoy!
My only real disappointment was that the pizza stop was closed. Absolutely devastated! I mean we did go on the last day so I kind of have to let them off.
Well sadly, the sunflower PYO is over for this year but don’t not fear, Pumpkin picking season is just around the corner! My bloody fave.
The official Facebook page says they’ll be back open again in October so only a few weeks to wait! Eeeeeeeee!
Have you been to the Pop Up Farm this year? Let me know what you think below..