AFTER finding I'd accidentally managed to buy asparagus grown and shipped over from Peru, of all places, in the middle of the very short British season last month, I vowed I'd try and make a few more trips to the local Pick Your Own (PYO) farms we have around Hillingdon.
The skinny and limp Peruvian asparagus was well past its best, and nothing like the juicy, chunky offerings available at the Copas Farm PYO that I could have gone and picked myself just a few miles from our home in Uxbridge - and had steaming on the hob less than an hour later.
I'm usually really good at checking labels, but this one missed my ingrained food miles scanner. I was so annoyed with myself for buying food that had flown halfway across the world and it's just ridiculous that a supermarket can even justify putting it on sale.
Well our asparagus season is unfortunately over now, but the local PYO farms are bursting with other fruit and vegetables during July and August, and it's well worth a trip with the kids during the holidays.
It's £2 per person to get into the Copas Farm in Iver, but this is redeemable against produce you pick yourself from the grounds.
I've always hankered after an allotment where you can grow your own, but it's all I can do to keep the flowers alive in our little garden, so for me this is the next best thing.
It's a lovely feeling eating and cooking with truly local and super-fresh food you've just picked yourself but best of all it's an excellent family day out.
Kids just love wandering around finding the biggest, juiciest, most ripe specimens, and you could easily spend an hour or two exploring the farm and playing hide and seek among the trees.
At the moment, Copas Farm has ripe and ready-for-picking strawberries, cherries, raspberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, gooseberries, peas in the pod, broad beans, spinach and beetroot.
Also in Iver is Home Cottage Farm, that has raspberries, tayberries, black and redcurrants and plums available now.
They sell honey from their own bees which, if you are suffering from hayfever, is recommended as a natural remedy.
Later in the season, this PYO farm really comes into its own, with more than 18 varieties of apples and pears on offer.
Both farms have tubs for you to put your purchases into, but it's greener to take your own from home if you remember.
After a family fruit-picking trip, I'm planning to put my feet up, as last week was manic, getting Sunshine Magazine out all over Hillingdon.
I'm so grateful to the lovely 'two Daves' at Space Station Self Storage in Horton Road, West Drayton.
They stepped in and helped me out of a hole by storing a massive pallet of Sunshine Magazines for me while I distributed the magazines.
I don't think I'd have been too popular with my 'significant other' if he couldn't get to his preferred seat on the sofa because of 17,000 copies of the mag blocking his path in our Uxbridge front room.
**Home Cottage Farm is open four days, www.homecottagefarm.co.uk, and Copas PYO Farm is open every day except Monday, from 10am-6pm and closes at 5pm at the weekends.
You need to arrive at least an hour before closing time.
Visit www.copasfarms.co.uk or call the 24-hour line on 01753 652 727.