DIY: From Farm to Dessert

It’s still summer (despite the weather some days), and the markets have been overflowing with berries of all kinds, nectarines and peaches, fragrant melons and sweet cherries. The first plums have already grabbed my attention, the small greengage variety from France, called Reine Claude are fabulous. I never seem to buy enough at the market. Nor can I ever get too many punnets of raspberries, my favorite fruit. I may have come close though when I brought home a kilo of them (as well as a kilo each of blackberries and blueberries), each and every one picked from their stems by Olivier and myself.

Pick Your Own Berries at Riedenholzhof, Zürich, SwitzerlandPick Your Own Berries at Riedenholzhof, Zürich, SwitzerlandPick Your Own Berries at Riedenholzhof, Zürich, SwitzerlandPick Your Own Berries at Riedenholzhof, Zürich, Switzerland

I have fun memories of picking blackberries on the North Fork of Long Island in New York and always wanted to do that again here in Switzerland. Strawberry season was sadly already behind us, but thankfully raspberries were still continuing to ripen.  (Apparently the end of August is the best time to go picking.) Blackberries were at their very sweetest.  And to our surprise, blueberries were in abundance, even if not quite ripe yet; we made sure to grab the bluest of the bunch.

Pick Your Own Berries at Riedenholzhof, Zürich, SwitzerlandPick Your Own Berries at Riedenholzhof, Zürich, Switzerland

With a sunny day to take advantage of, we hopped on bikes (free rental in Zürich during the summer) and made our way to Riedenholzhof (about 40 minutes on bikes from the main train station).  From city streets, tram stops and Migros supermarkets, all of a sudden we were passing vast fields of bright green grass with nothing but grazing cows in either direction. Riedenholzhof farm had perfectly straight rows of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, and a simple rule: pick as much as you want, any mix of berries, for CHF 8 a kilo.

The vines weren’t completely full, but we had more than plenty to fill our baskets.  And it gave us a fun challenge of searching out bright red raspberries that would easily detach from the stem; otherwise we left them to continue ripening.  Just be careful of bees and thorns, both prevalent.  I wouldn’t recommend using their one-kilo plastic containers, as any berries on the bottom will simply get crushed from the weight above. It’s probably best to use several small tupperware containers, as we saw other locals arriving with.

Pick Your Own Berries at Riedenholzhof, Zürich, SwitzerlandPick Your Own Berries at Riedenholzhof, Zürich, SwitzerlandPick Your Own Berries at Riedenholzhof, Zürich, SwitzerlandPick Your Own Berries at Riedenholzhof, Zürich, Switzerland

But I can also tell you that crushed berries taste just as good as jam and in crumbles. After eating more berries than we ever thought imaginable, sharing some with friends and playing around with tons of combinations of fruit crumbles, it was clear that jam was the solution for the rest.  After painstakingly going through the remaining smushed berries for leaves, stems, bugs and who knows what else, it was time to cook them down to jam.  I used raspberries and blackberries, with a touch of lemon juice, cooked with sugar until bright and thick.  The jam is great on toast with salted butter and swirled into thick yogurt.

Pick Your Own Berries at Riedenholzhof, Zürich, SwitzerlandPick Your Own Berries at Riedenholzhof, Zürich, Switzerland

But back to those crumbles… I am a big fan of “make your own” when it comes to dessert for a dinner party. I often show up at friends’ homes armed with trays of goodies, especially the components for “make your own ice cream sundae.” It’s so fun to bring different flavors of ice cream and toppings of all sorts (sprinkles, crushed pretzels, home baked chocolate chip cookies, chocolate syrup or caramel sauce…). You may have read about my favorite ice cream cereal sundae concoctions as a kid, so this should come as no surprise. Everyone loves to pick and choose and create a personalized dessert. So I did this with crumbles too, and it is sure to be another regular on the dessert circuit here.

Pick Your Own Berries at Riedenholzhof, Zürich, SwitzerlandBerry Crumble

Make your own crumble ! Different colored ramekins, so that everyone knows which is theirs when it’s time to serve. Bowls of prepared fruit, and this can be just about anything: sliced nectarines, berries, chopped banana, etc. I gave two choices of topping, using different combinations of oats, nuts, cornmeal, dates and brown sugar. And just think, you can add as much extra topping as you want! Invite your guests to select their fruit and topping and into the oven they go. As you are eating the main course, they will be bubbling away in the oven.  And when you’re done, the crumbles will be ready, just calling out to be topped with a scoop of ice cream*, and everyone ready to taste and compare.

What would be your ideal crumble combination ?

Küchler Family Farm, Riedenholzhof
Riedenholzhofstrasse 122
8052 Zürich
+41.44.301.42.58
www.riedenholzhof.ch
Thursday & Friday: 1:30pm to 6:30pm
Saturday: 9am to 2pm

* Riedenholzhof also has a little shop where you can buy the farm’s produce, cider… and ice cream !  They make the ice cream there using berries from the fields, as well as in chocolate and coffee flavors.

42 Responses to “DIY: From Farm to Dessert”

  1. zenchef says:

    This crumble looks so ridiculously awesome that i want to come over and hug you.
    Did the ladybug make it into the final mix? 🙂
    Looks like a fun day!

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  3. Sam sidney says:

    AAAAAHHHH! This is amazing! I need to make this now! Yum… Xoxox

  4. G. says:

    what better way to spend a summer day?? so, so lovely! and a make-your-own crumble party sounds like my type of party. i love dinner parities with fun, hands-on, group activities around food. everyone’s more relaxed and can enjoy the process together!

  5. Kerrin says:

    zenchef, it was such a fun day ! And don’t worry, I was sure not to make ladybug jam. Poor thing. As for that hug, I’ll trade you – crumble for a hug 🙂

    Sam, do it ! Make that crumble… and let me know what you put in it. Don’t forget the ice cream.

    G., I certainly can’t think of many better ways – bikes, sun, berries. Just throw in a picnic, and it would have been perfect ! 😉 You are so right, when there is a hands-on activity at the dinner (or dessert) table, it changes the dynamic – and it’s just pure fun !! You and I obviously need to have a crumble party together one day…

  6. valentina says:

    My idea of perfect crumble combination? It has to be apples and blackberries.Oh,no hang on..rubharb and apples..oh man.. do I have to choose?? I have to say that since reading your twit about the make your own crumble I have been dreaming about doing it. Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long for it. I have done a lot of berry picking this year. Oh, and how much I love it. I always over pick – well, that cannot possibly be true as one can never eat too many berries. And then I have to be creative. Just a few minutes ago I poste a lovely raspberry and plum slice that I made. roll on berries and stoned fruits for I love you all.

  7. Amy says:

    That is such a great idea! I would have never thought of make your own crumbles. Personally, I think peaches and blueberries sound pretty good, although anything under a crumble topping is good for me! I’m also a big fan of make your own sundaes, and I was actually thinking about that all weekend. Maybe it’s time to put it into action. Yum!

  8. Jack says:

    Nice post Kerrin…we head to this farm frequently (tip: raspberries will last until mid-September and be fantastic to pick after the school vacation is over)… Another interesting fact…some of the blueberries you picked were still a bit white/green on one side. If you leave them in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, then they will turn a beautiful blue color (raspberries and blackberries don’t continue ripening after picking)… Enjoy…

  9. Kerrin says:

    valentina, I see you like apples in your crumble. Why not do apples, blackberries *and* rhubarb ? Worth a try, no ? Your two combinations sound great, as does your raspberry and plum slice – must check that out for sure ! Thanks for the heads up.

    Amy, thanks, so glad you like the idea. You’ll have to do a whole “make-your-own” weekend, ice cream sundaes and crumbles too ! Peach and blueberry sounds like a fantastic combination, let me know how it turns out.

    Jack, thanks ! So glad you like the post. Appreciate your tips here for sure. YES definitely, I forgot to mention about prime time being after school starts up again. I’m tempted to go back… 🙂 I didn’t know that blueberries would continue to ripen in the fridge, really good to know for next time. Thanks again !

  10. Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels says:

    oh, now I really want some freshly made berry crumble!

    I think peaches and blackberries would be my favorite combination – I LOVE blueberries but I wasn’t happy with the ones I have found here in Switzerland. In NY I’d buy frozen organiz blueberries at Whole Foods and keep them in my fridge for smoothies, muffins, cheesecake… yum.

    That said, I now feel that a visit to Riedenholzhof is in order!

  11. Anna Johnston says:

    That crumble is mouth wateringly yum! Lovely pics.

  12. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday says:

    Oh boy!

    I just went blueberry picking myself and blogged about it.

    The blueberries never made it to a dessert. I ate half and froze the rest for the winter.

    http://gamereviewwiki.com/bikinibirthday/2010/08/16/essex-county-showcase-summer-produce/

  13. Kerrin says:

    Elisa, peaches and blackberries sounds like a delicious combination ! That’s too bad that you have been so disappointed with the blueberries here. Have you had the tiny wild blueberries from the markets ? I prefer local berries, but maybe you’ll like those better. Great idea to keep frozen berries on hand. I have a few ziplock bags in my freezer now too – especially for making more crumbles ! 🙂

    Anna, thank you so much.

    Samantha, tis the season ! 🙂 I tried freezing berries earlier this summer and kept defrosting them and eating them. Let’s hope I can leave the current stash in there for at least another month or so… ! Thanks for sharing your link, will check it out for sure !

  14. jkiel says:

    Hi – have to go clean off the keyboard from the drool…

    There’s a restaurant/pie chain here that makes a yummy pie, they call it ‘razzleberry’. It’s raspberries and blackberries combined (easy enough to make a crumble), and when you put good vanilla ice cream on top of a hot slice…

    (goes to clean off more drool….)

  15. Romy says:

    Gorgeous berries, Kerrin! Crumbles are one of my favorite desserts ever, especially when the topping is full of oaty and crunchy goodness. Fantastic idea to let everyone make their own! I only have white ramekins so I might borrow a dry-erase marker from school and let people write their names on the ramekins with it so we can tell them apart after they come out of the oven. Schmatz schmatz!!

  16. Lani says:

    I first have to say that your photography of your day berry picking is extraordinary! The berries just pop right out of the computer …and ooze with the freshness of just off the vine! My favorite dessert has always been a crumble whether it is berries or peaches or anything. The topping of course, as I agree with Olivier, that this is very very important but the fresh berries that you picked must have been so sweet! What a job to clean them but it was well worth it as I see! The jam in refrigerator is just waiting for a fabulous piece of toast or yogurt. Thank you for sharing your berry picking adventure….

  17. iain says:

    Kerrin, don’t be too sad about the end of strawberry season. After all, strawberries rank fairly low in the hierarchy of berries.

    (Quick reminder: blackberries > raspberries > blueberries > strawberries. Groseilles: hors concours.)

  18. Kerrin says:

    jkiel, now you have ME drooling too, yum to that razzleberry pie. I’m just thinking of that jam I made – in a pie, mmm yes ! 🙂

    Romy, I am with you – love crumbles for the crispy sweet topping, and a great texture with oats. I’d love to know your favorite topping recipe in fact. Such a good idea for the dry-erase markers. It’s like wine glasses at a party – there are all sorts of fun accessories now for people to know which glass is theirs. I thought about stickers – but bad idea, they’ll melt in the oven !

    Lani, thank you thank you ! And yes Olivier definitely loves the topping, you would probably do as he did — just put a little bit of fruit at the bottom of the ramekin, and fill the rest with crumble topping, ha ha !

    iain, strawberries – low in the hierarchy ?? Ah bon. I have to disagree, cher iain, here’s *my* order: raspberries (by far #1) > strawberries > blackberries > blueberries > redcurrants (quand même dans le concours !) 🙂

  19. Kelleyn says:

    Yummy! If you like sorbet, the next time your are over in Germany you should check out a product called Frucht Eis Zauber by Diamant. all you do is puree your fruit add the package and freeze. Out comes creamy icecream. It is so fantastic!

  20. Juls @ Juls'Kitchen says:

    Kerrin, I really love this idea of DIY crumbles. It’s a wonderful manner to get people involved into a dinner, let them choose theit favourite mix and match ingredients!
    My favourite combination is apple, coconut ans lime juice, with an almond, flour and brown sugar topping.
    And, to finish my comment, I must admit I’m enviuos for two reasons:
    1. I want a PYO farm next to me as well, it sounds so fun!
    2. I want to have you as dinner guest sooner or later, I’d love to choose and make my dessert!

  21. Emma says:

    Who is this strawberry disdainer?! If picking them wild, it’s much easier to come across a bad blackberry (i.e. way too sour) than a bad strawberry… at least give strawberries their due, man. They work so hard to look so good.

    Maybe I missed this, but how did the berries make it home on the bikes? Any near spills? I hope not! This all looks so tasty, I’m a wee bit jealous. Raspberries and blueberries have finished fruiting nearby, and although blackberries are looking ripe, they’re not yet tasting their best. As such, I’m in a fruit lull, but such is life.

    LONG LIVE STRAWBERRIES!

  22. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    This is one of the best ideas. I love the notion that guests can choose their own dessert and you bake it for them. This idea could really take off! I don’t often use berries in crumbles, as for the price you pay to pick 1kg, we pay that for 125g. So not the cheapest. But if money were no option here, I think I would have to go with a few different taste tests. Maybe apple and blueberry. Raspberry and pear. Or just a simple mixed berry. YUM! What a beautiful day out you and Olivier had. Just 40 minutes from the city you say? Zurich is amazing!

  23. Kerrin says:

    Kelleyn, I do love sorbet, so that sounds awesome to me for sure. Just looked it up – here is the site for others interested: http://www.eis-zauber.de/fruchteiszauber.html I was curious what the product was actually made of, looks like it is sugar, pectin and citric acids. I’ll have to hunt that down and try it. But hurry, before summer is over ! 🙂 Thanks for the tip.

    Juls, so glad you like the idea here. It really is such fun. And how fabulous that would be, to be a dinner guest at your place in Italy – oh what a dream ! 🙂 We could mix and match crumbles and more !! Your favorite combination above sounds fantastic, so original and tropical. Yum !

    Emma, I’m with you, no knocking those strawberries. We’ll have to teach that non-strawberry-lover a thing or two ! 😉 Good question on the trip home with bikes. Remember my mention above of squished berries ? Well it wasn’t only due to the weight of them in their plastic containers. Speeding around town on our bikes didn’t help matters at all. To say it was a mess getting home is an understatement. I’ll leave you with his image… Olivier and I leaving a trail of berry juice from the bike rental place to our apartment !! Oops. Next time, we’ll take the bus home ! 🙂

    Julia, wooh berries are mega expensive over there ! CHF 8 for a kilo is pretty much unheard of here at the markets or supermarkets, that was really an unbelievable deal. I guess they just figure you are doing all the work. I couldn’t believe it myself. What about frozen berries ? Might be cheaper and they are just as good in crumbles. Love your combinations of fruit. Pears are great in crumbles too for sure. Oh, and yes just 40 minutes on bikes, so even closer if we were in a car. Another reason I love living here !! 🙂

  24. Kaylene says:

    Hello,
    I am new to reading your blog, I LOVE TO TRAVEL , as i am not currently traveling ( I live in Australia) reading your blog I have found that I am now starting to work on an itinerary on a possible future trip to Switzerland. Thank you for making not traveling bearable at the moment. 🙂
    Crumble combination: Apple and blueberry , with oats and walnuts in the crumble!!! Green ramekin!

  25. Lauren at KeepItSweet says:

    My favorite crumbles are definitely blueberry and apple… although maybe something to include pumpkin in the fall!

  26. Andrea M. says:

    Even as I read this, I am busily preparing to make fresh Raspberry jam for the fam. What a great idea to make individual fruit crumbles!!! How ingenious. I’m hosting a cute young German couple next week for dinner and this is what I’m doing for dessert. Merci Kerrin!

  27. Juliana says:

    Wow, what a lovely crumble…and the pictures of the farm are just gorgeous…so pretty.

  28. Kerrin says:

    Kaylene, welcome to MyKugelhopf ! So glad to have another fellow travel-lover here. And ooh, a future trip to Switzerland – sounds fabulous ! Hope you can find lots of good ideas here. On the right, there are 3 sub-categories below Switzerland: Gruyères, Schwyz and Zürich. Enjoy reading ! And definitely enjoy that crumble, sounds excellent.

    Lauren, blueberry and apple seems to be a popular choice; I’ll have to try it soon. But you got my attention with pumpkin – I love anything with pumpkin in it ! I never did a crumble, will have to try that. Do you have a recipe you could share ??

    Andrea, how did your raspberry jam turn out ? Yes, totally do individual fruit crumbles next week. Will you prepare them beforehand or let the guests put them together themselves ? Either way, a really great dessert for dinner parties. So glad you like it ! De rien !! 🙂

    Juliana, thank you so much !

  29. Foodie in Berlin says:

    Ooo! Me too! I want to come pick blueberries! I have to get my rear end in gear and go picking here in Berlin

  30. Jess "Klutzy Chef" says:

    So glad you found a place to “pick your own”. We haven’t looked all that closely around here, but the weather is supposed to be nice this weekend, so maybe it’s worth a peek.

    Funny that you mentioned the Reine Claudes! I’ve been (almost literally) making myself sick off of them. Chris, my husband, actually asks permission before taking one. I’m obviously such a Reine Claude piggie that my own husband doesn’t feel comfortable eating one from my stash without consent.

  31. Julia says:

    Hi Kerrin,

    My husband and I went to this farm this weekend–thanks for the recommendation! I ended up making a berry pie from some of the berries…now what to do with the rest? 🙂 Enjoy your Monday!

  32. Kerrin says:

    Foodie in Berlin, so have you found a good spot in Berlin ? Hope so ! 🙂

    Jess, we definitely had some fantastic summer weather this weekend – finally ! I am sure you and Chris spent it outside like we did. And that is too funny about him asking before taking a Reine Claude, ha ha ! Olivier does that sometimes too, not even kidding :O)

    Julia, oh how awesome that you went to the farm, thanks for letting me know. Were there tons of berries to be picked ? Sounds like it if you made a pie and still have left over. What to do, hmm… jam, crumble, coulis, smoothie, galette, clafoutis, sorbet or ice cream, top pancakes or waffles, or simply eat with whipped cream… Options are endless – and all delicious !! Enjoy your Monday too, and the rest of the week !

  33. Jessica says:

    I love the beautiful pictures on your blog. The colors are all so vibrant it’s almost as if I’m there with you, picking to my heart’s content!

    We have raspberries growing wild here, but they’re not very big. Still, they do make lovely desserts, especially crumbles.

  34. Delishhh says:

    I just did a crumble this weekend that was with Rhubard, Strawberry and blueberry and it was amazing. I didn’t know if Rhubarb and blueberry would work but they did. I am posting it later this week. In the US a crumb is a dessert with a crumb topping made from flour, sugar, and butter combined into a mixture that is sprinkled over sliced fruit and baked. The topping is made up of basically the same ingredients as a pastry except it doesn’t contain any liquid. When the crumble bakes the butter melts and mixes with the flour and sugar to create a crunchy, crumbly topping. A crumble is very similar to a crisp except that the topping for a crisp generally contains oats and often nuts, giving it a coarser texture that the crumbles toppings. In the UK a crumble is different more like a crisp? Do you know?

  35. Marilyn H says:

    Hi! I stumbled across your wonderful blog when I was looking for a kugelhopf recipe. My mother’s family comes from the Kaiserstuhl (north of Freiburg, Germany) and she was reminiscing about her mother’s kugelhopf. I did find a good recipe, but I was also grateful for finding your site! And, coincidentally, I made a peach/blueberry cobbler on Sunday. I guess the difference is that a cobbler is spooned dough on top of the fruit so it comes out a little more like a pastry topping. Delicious, nonetheless.

  36. Kerrin says:

    Jessica, thank you ! You’re so lucky to be surrounded by raspberries, I would be eating them all day long if I were you. Enjoy !

    Delishhh, thanks so much for sharing. I see your crumble recipe is up, and it looks fantastic. Here it is for everyone to see – and to get the scoop on crisp, crumble, cobbler and all ! http://delishhh.com/?p=1991

    Marilyn, so glad your kugelhopf research brought you here. 🙂 I hope the recipe you found will bring back delicious memories for you and your mother. Funny that you also made a cobbler, great combination of fruit – and yes, I am sure delicious !

  37. Jamie says:

    Ooooh, Kerrin, lucky you! What I would do for a day spent in berry fields! Gorgeous! And sadly blackberries are a rare and expensive commodity in Nantes because I love them! And you also know how much I love your crumble recipe! And my ideal crumble? Blackberries, raspberries and blueberries for sure!

  38. jen laceda says:

    I love this post!!! With the new (well, not-so-new anymore) baby this summer, we didn’t really get the chance to go berry picking here in Ontario. I love, love, love the whole concept of “farm to table” and “DIY desserts” though! Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are some of my favourite fruits!

  39. Kerrin says:

    Jamie, I didn’t know blackberries were rare over there in Nantes. I wonder if they maybe sell packages frozen ? Could be a good way to enjoy them in crumbles, and all year round too. Love your ideal crumble, triple berry explosion !

    jen, thanks !! You have the same tastes as Jamie above, all those fabulous berries, I love them too. I don’t want summer to be over here at the markets ! Next summer, you’ll go berry picking I am sure… all *four* of you ! 🙂

  40. DuncanRhys says:

    Fond memories of berry picking? Mine are more like haunted memories of forced labor; and we also had to pick beans in the home garden as well as work at the neighboring farm picking tomatoes. I dislike tomatoes, perhaps it’s psychological. But I do like plums, I have some here that are rather flavorless so planned to do them up tarte tatin style, but I am inspired by your pics so will do a crumble instead. Thanks.

  41. Tony says:

    Hi , is there any berry to pick first week of nov ? How to get to the farm beside by bike ?thanks

  42. Kerrin says:

    Tony, berry picking season ends mid-September. You can see all information on their website here: http://www.riedenholzhof.ch

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