Throwing all the kids in the car and heading off fruit picking is a great activity that the whole family can enjoy! It’s a great way to show kids where their fruit comes from while also being out in the sunshine and fresh air. We’re lucky here in the Hills to have fabulous farms right on our doorstep – as we all know, with young kids there’s no such thing as enjoying a long, leisurely drive!
Here are our tips for places to visit this Autumn. Most places charge a price for for what you pick. Also, things change due to seasons and weather, so make sure you check the farm’s website or Facebook page for opening times before you set off. And don’t forget to take your own bags.
Bilpin is the place we head for apple picking. Past Richmond, at the foot of the Blue Mountains this is a beautiful part of NSW and a place that you’re guaranteed to pick up a delicious apple pie – a secondary perk! While you’re out this way it’s worth stopping off at Bilpin Cider Co. We also like the look of a cafe called The Hive Berambing.
Bilpin Springs Orchard
Address: 2550 Bells Line of Road, Bilpin, NSW
Open: Saturday and Sunday. Check website for times
Other fruit available: Pears, Plums (just depends on time you visit)
Pine Crest Orchard
Address: 2549 Bells Line of Rd, Bilpin
Open: Friday to Sunday. 9am to 5pm. Check website before you go though as they will be shut for 4 weeks in March.
Website: pinecrestorchard.com.au or Facebook
Other fruit available: Persimmons, Chestnuts and Walnuts.
Canoelands Orchard is our pick (‘scuse the pun!) for tomatoes. It has been owned by the Christie family since 1923 and is now managed by Hills District Mum Jaime and her husband Nathan. The orchid’s main produce is nectarines, but they also grow plums, peaches, passionfruit and tomatoes.
In addition to picking your own, you can explore the property. There are guinea pigs, chickens, horses, sheep, cows, pigs and goats. The animals are beautiful and friendly. They also have some play equipment for little ones and a large grassed area perfect for a picnic. And during the school holidays there’s a free tractor ride at 11am (outside of this, it’s $3 per person).
Harvesting your own usually commences around mid March with tomatoes but check out Canoelands Orchard’s Facebook page for the latest information.
Chestnuts and walnuts
OK, so not a good one if anyone in the family is allergic to these nuts, but it’s fun for everyone else. Make sure your wear sturdy shoes and good quality gloves to protect you from chestnut burrs.