The area around Mount Lawu, an ancient volcano that has lied dormant for thousands of years, is fertile land ideal for growing fruit, vegetables and flowers. Agricultural produce from Mount Lawu is sold to travelers around Grojogan Sewu waterfall or in the market in Tawangmangu. If you visit this mountain in the early morning, you can observe the hustle and bustle as farmers sell their pickings to market traders. To see the farmers at work, though, you should head to the strawberry fields of Kalisoro, a small village in the valley of Mount Lawu, 30 km from regency capital Karanganyar. The road to Kalisoro follows a quiet valley between pine-covered hills. As you reach the middle of the valley, you will start to spot farmers and their families at work in the fields, whose edges are dotted with villas and boarding houses. At an altitude of 1100 meters above sea level, the area’s climate is very well suited to the cultivation of fruit and vegetables. Kalisoro, especially, is known for its fertility and its production of a number of fruits, most notably strawberries. The dry season is optimum strawberry season, as it is then that the fruit is at its sweetest. There is no shortage of stalls hawking strawberries in the area, but if you want a more hands-on experience, you can pick your own in the fields; one kilogram of pick-your-own strawberries will set you back Rp 50,000 (US$4). Armed with a basket and scissors, visitors can walk around the fields picking the freshest strawberries. Retno, a strawberry farmer, teaches visitors to choose strawberries that are completely red without a tinge of white, for these are the sweetest. The best strawberries are those which are perfectly symmetrical, Retno tells us. Misshapen strawberries are more likely to be rotten or infested with pests. Having picked your punnets, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor al-fresco amid the pine forests of Kalisoro.