Television Producer & Photojournalist with a passion for sharing adventures in and around Melbourne, Australia. See my www.youtube.com/user/tmztvaustralia for other adventures. Subscribe to me so I can tell you of upcoming fab things not to miss.
Hunt down tasty apples & Win prizes at Harvest Festival
Fresh from the trees of Jeff and Glenda Jones Orchid
Bacchus Marsh has been famous for their Royal Gala apples, but has now become a major hub for the freshest and best produce of western Melbourne. The fresh producers and open market shops and "You Pick" farms range either side of Bacchus Marsh Road, otherwise known as the Historic Avenue of Honor, just off the Western Hwy.
Jeff and Glenda Jones Fresh Food Producers Hosted the Media Launch of the Harvest Festival
I came from South East Melbourne, in off peak, and it only took me a little over an hour to reach this rich farmland and be able to taste, touch and smell this magnificent local produce. There was a huge variety of apples, pears, corn, strawberries, free range eggs, cherries, pumpkin, watermelon, grapes, and honey straight from the farmers backyards to their shops and stalls along the road. You cannot get fresher then this!
Straight from the tree - Red Sensation Pears at $2.00 a KILO WOW - I can afford to make pear jam again.
And I was astounded by how inexpensive they were for stellar quality. And this produce, was from just the one shop at Jeff and Glenda Jones Fresh Produce Farm. I still had not explored the others. You definitely need the complete day to travel and enjoy this area and give your taste buds a journey of discovery of how fresh and tasty food can be. Lucky for you, the local growers, along with Bacchus Marsh Tourism and over 50 proud sponsors are giving you the opportunity to do so, by hosting an all day extravaganza.
This town is about to strut their stuff and show off their plumage, like a Rooster showing off for the girls, at their annual festival. They are holding this year's Harvest Festival on Sunday 13th of March 2016 from 9 am till stumps at 4 pm.
And you are going to need every moment of that time, to explore and sample, as there will be so much to see and do and taste. Bring a very big basket, maybe two, to put all your goodies in to take home. They also supply packing crates, so not to panic.
The day starts with the Apple Hunt Competition so don't forget to pick up your map to hunt down those clues. Fab prizes awarded. "U-Pick your own" fruits and produce farms will be open for family fun.
All you need is a few teeth as these Red Sensation Apples are so fresh!
It was so gorgeous to see the little babies, picking the apples straight off the trees and just sitting down to eat them; their cute little faces covered in juice. No need to add any fast food to these baby taste buds. Just don't do it. Babies know instinctively what is best and tastes wonderful. So only let babies sample fresh food and you will start them on a healthy life path and they will never crave fast food.
Tricia Ziemer host of KIDZ in the Kitchen interviews Glenda Jones and Paul Tettchal at the Harvest Media Launch
There will also be gourmet market stalls, play thyme kids activities, face painting, games, jumping castles and more.
And mum and dad, you get the chance to meet the grower. Get on the farm fresh tours, and you and your children will learn how the farmer goes about their day. They teach you how hard it is to really work on the land, and stay on the land.
According to Paul Tettchal, ambassador for the area, he said "Did you know that we are down from 1400 farms to 400 farms?".
I was shocked. How are we going to feed our children in the future, if farms keep decreasing at this rate? Especially, with our population on the rise. We will need to start importing produce overseas at astronomical prices which a normal family cannot afford. Remember a few years ago when bananas went up to over $10.00 a kilo. What if all our food ends up like this? How will we even afford to put food on the table.
I feel this is a real potential if we do we are not support our farmers with money, land, water, and education to the masses. I don't want to eat products from China and the US that have taken weeks to arrive. And I have no idea of their restrictions on chemical use with their produce. I want my family to eat fresh produce from my local area grower. This is all a bit scary for me. I found this trip was so valuable to learn what is really happening at the grass roots in our farming communities. Take this chance yourself and head to this festival.
Why? Well I feel it is vital to start going direct to the farmer and local growers and markets and not the big super market chains and buy our fresh produce and products from them. These super chains continuously beat down the farmer and cut down their margins so the farmer can no longer afford to stay on the land. All for extreme profits to be given to stockholders. I say, make a stand and walk away from vegies and fruits that have been sitting around in cold storage for weeks at the big supermarkets. I am not saying never shop there, as we will always need these stores for the processed foods, but go direct for fresh and to help keep are farmers on the land.
So make the effort to drive a wee bit further, get out into the wonderful country and get it fresh - picked yesterday. Pick it up, smell how rich it smells. Just pop one of David's Durham's strawberries in your mouth. That strawberry is a testament of the true value of going direct to the grower. It bursts with astonishing sweetness. Its a taste you will not forget, and when you go back to the normal shops, all strawberries are a let down. You have finally tasted it right off the land.
On my trip, I also I bought watermelon pre-sliced and grapes. They never made it home; they were so yum. Just bursting with flavour. That was all I needed for lunch.
You will also learn about their unique range and varieties of products, which you seldom find in the big chain stores. Isn't variety the spice of life and it gives a better mix of nutrition as well.
Why not take a special tour that starts at the Bacchus Marsh Train station at 9:30 am sharp and includes a 3 course gourmet buffet lunch for just $25 per head. It costs half of that to get one soggy burger and stale fries at a fast food joint. It also includes a goodie bag and SAMPLES, YUMM. Contact www.trybooking.com/KJTT, but be quick.
More free events are all around you as well, with live music in the Village Green, a petting zoo, pony rides, roaming performances, gum boot throwing, and arts and crafts and local heritage exhibitions. Be careful with the pony rides, you may end up 10 years later with 4 horses and a lot of manure to shovel like me. Actually live the dream, as just one ride is so wonderful. The kids adore the ponies. I think my mistake was allowing a ride a week.
But I must confess, I have loved every minute and would never change it.
Also there are a range of boutique stores open around the township, for your perusal, so something special can be found by one and all.
Gardening talks are on at 10 am with the western water best backyard veggie patch contest announced at 2 pm. The best apple pie contest starts at 11 am. The more than Healthy Eating Presentation is not to be missed at 11 am as well. Oh no, now I have to decide which one to attend!
Some say, you can never finish a meal without a tiny bit of sweet. Well they have thought of this too, as Deniz Karaca, World Renown Chocolate Master and Pastissier, is going to be whispering secrets you are going to want to hear and taste.
On second thought, a small wheel barrow might be a better go, for all the goodies you will want to bring home. Maybe I will take my horse float; no too dangerous, my daughter will try to sneak another horse home.