The first Hampshire strawberries of 2024 have hit shelves at a Meon Valley farm shop, marking summer's approach.

The famous super-sweet Westlands Strawberries bring memories of summer days, Wimbledon tennis and sandy beach picnics.

Shoppers at Westlands Farm Shop near Wickham can now enjoy these strawberries rather than rely on high food-mile imports from Spain and Morocco.

Shop manager Harry King said Westlands’ soft fruit is always a top pick for the shop’s customers. 

“Our strawberries are by far one of our most popular products - they’re very quick to fly off the shelves, said Harry.

“You can even see the glasshouses where these strawberries are grown from the window of the farm shop - keeping our food miles to a minimum and the shelves well-stocked for months.”

The Westlands' strawberry and raspberry season lasts until late October or early November, ensuring an ample supply of these delicious fruits throughout summer.

In 2022, the farm achieved a record-breaking harvest of 200 tonnes of strawberries and raspberries, keeping shelves stocked till mid-November.

Besides strawberries, the Meon Valley-based shop offers a variety of locally sourced groceries, gifts, and a butchery.

Daily Echo: The first pick of a Meon Valley farm shop’s much-loved strawberries have hit the shelvesThe first pick of a Meon Valley farm shop’s much-loved strawberries have hit the shelves (Image: Supplied)


Westlands’ Graham Collett said he is expecting another successful soft fruit season in 2024.

Graham said: “We harvest an enormous amount of soft fruit throughout the year. Even if the weather is hot and dry, our own water reservoir means we can irrigate the plants using collected rainwater.

“We’re a family-owned business committed to ethical and sustainable farming. Stocking our shelves with produce we’ve grown and picked ourselves means a lot to us - it’s so important we encourage our shoppers to support local agriculture.”

According to the Royal Horticultural Society, archaeological evidence suggests that we’ve been eating the wild strawberry since the Stone Age.

The berry was first cultivated in France in the 1750s, a hybrid of varieties from North America and Chile.

Popular eaten with cream, this time-honoured combination was attributed to Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who supposedly served strawberries and cream at a banquet he hosted for King Henry VIII in 1509.