I don't often use this blog to slate places, but when I feel that others should know about bad service or facilities I will do just that.
Two years ago I took the kids strawberry picking with some friends. There was a large group of us, but we all split off and did our picking, then met up at the end for a picnic away from the fields. The kids ate handfuls, but the mums picked quite a bit to make up for it. It was a lovely day, one the kids remembered. One of the staff even came by and took a pictures saying it was lovely to seeing us having so much fun.
Last year we missed the season being in Italy, but my friends went again and had another good day.
The kids were looking forward to going out again today, but it was a totally different experience. We were 3 mums and 7 kids. We were waiting for another mum who had gotten lost because they had closed the former site. A man, either a manager or owner, came up and began to complain about the kids, saying it wasn't appropriate for us to bring so many small kids, asking if they were all ours. He didn't want them disturbing the other pickers. The site now has a 2kg minimum pick requirement and he said that the children would also be expected to pick that much. It's a business, he kept saying.
We explained that the kids were here to pick strawberries and we would keep them away from the other pickers and under control. He was really quite insistent that they shouldn't be there, though there were other children there. We were the only ones standing in a group and foreign though. He was really quite rude and even said to one of the other staff in Finnish 'päiväkoti tule/ a nursery comes'.
In the end one mum left, unwilling to give the company money after such horrible service. Another mum took my boys picking as they were in tears at the thought of not going, as was her son. They picked 2kg on their own.
I stood there for an hour and watched family after family of various sizes and ages come up and not get such rude treatment. They were reminded about the 2kg minimum, but it didn't seem to be upheld strictly for the littler kids if the parents picked a decent amount.
It will be the last time we visit Rossitarhat/ Kartonen Marja and would encourage anyone looking to go pick strawberries with their family to find another farm. Our day was completely ruined.
It's a business, but such poor customer service has lost them our business in the future and hopefully that of our friends and anyone else who reads this or asks for advice about strawberry picking near the capital.