It finally arrived: the high season for strawberries in Hungary. Even if in the meantime you can buy the sweet red berries the whole year – grown in greenhouses in Spain, Greece and elsewhere – in Hungary they only start to grow on open fields around April and only reach their full flavour around the end of May, at the beginning of summer. This is the time when keen strawberry consumers can get active and go out to pick their favourite fruit themselves.
“It`s so much fun to cook your own strawberry jam,” 28-year-old Krisztina Weil-Mayer explained after she returned from Budakalász-Luppa-sziget (Luppa island) where she went with her friends at the weekend to pick strawberries. The location near Szentendre and the Danube Bend just north of Budapest is one of the many strawberry fields where you can go out and pick the main ingredient for your jams and desserts yourself.
Weil-Mayer and her friends arrived at Budakalász around noon, when many of that day`s strawberries – a member of the roseacea, or rose family – had already been picked. So the group says it is advisable to go early when there are not so many other pickers there yet.
Nonetheless, the three women were still able to take home 15 kilograms of strawberries with them, and all this for only HUF 390 a kilo. Pickers should bring a container, which in Weil-Mayer’s case was a fruit box. This is weighed empty and then full after the picking, to calculate the amount of strawberries.
“Luppa is rather small and family-oriented but very sympathetic,” Weil-Meyer explains. “The visitors are all kinds of people, from hippies up to environment-conscious students. For us it was a great thing to do anyway.”
Despite being fun and a way to spend time in fresh air, strawberry picking is hard work, especially in the heat of the sun. However, the delicious strawberry jam that the three friends made from their pickings more than made up for the hardships.
Where to pick strawberries?
• Budakalász – Luppa-sziget: (along main road number 11 at the shopping centre Hermes), email@example.com
• Szigetszentmiklós: Next to the road leading from Csepel to Szigetszentmiklós, just opposite the Shell petrol station
• Érd: Beside the ring road around Érd on main road number 7.
• Pomáz: Vízmű (coming from Országút utca there is an entrance just opposite the water works on the track across the fields)
The opening times are generally from 8am to 7pm daily.