Berry picking shaped the school holidays of thousands of youngsters who headed for the fields in Aberdeenshire to pick strawberries and raspberries.
For many, berry picking was a real family event and they would be transported to the fertile fields on berry buses to earn a pound or two while trading banter.
Join us as we open up our archives and take a fond look back at the halcyon days of berry picking.
Extra pocket money
Utter the phrase “the berries” to people of a certain age and you will no doubt be regaled with a story or two from a bygone era when folk piled on to old battered buses and headed for the fields to go picking.
Our first image from July 1981 shows some school children from Kemnay earning extra pocket money at Netherton of Fetternear farm in Inverurie.
In some cases, berry pickers were accommodated on site in huts or caravans.
People would pick into containers then carry their fruit to the edges of the fields to be weighed and then paid according to their efforts.
Weighing the fruit you have picked, like these pickers from Aberdeen Academy in 1955, to see how much money you have earned, was nail-biting stuff!
Two types of berries were harvested.
Those picked into baskets were the best berries and headed for dining tables.
The later crop of fruit would be picked into “luggies” which was a small pail.
These berries were not the best quality and, were therefore used for jams and sauces.
Our third image shows James Hay of Stonehaven getting down to some serious strawberry picking at Forbes pick-your-own near Stonehaven in July 1993.
For “toonies”, the berries was a slightly foreign land, filled with opportunity.
The journey on the berry bus was like setting off on an adventure.
There were new smells – a field fresh with rain and the perfume of 10,000 strawberries.
Our fourth image shows Jackie MacKenzie, of Fordoun, and Michelle Wards, of Laurencekirk, who were picking for farmer Peter Mitchell at Castleton Farm in 1992.
They were long, hard days and, by its end, most people’s hands would be stained red with the juice of the berries.
Our final image is from July 1994 and shows Moray youngsters Louise and Andrew Duncan who were strawberry picking at Gordon Castle Farm in Fochabers.
These days, the berry season attracts a new generation of fruit picker, with many coming from central Europe.