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Published October 25th 2018
Keep Calm and Pick Cherries
Fresh cherries - a highlight in summer for kids of all ages (by Hillside Orchard and Craft Centre)
Starting in November, head west on a day trip or weekend holiday to the Blue Mountains to claim your share. Pick your own cherries during honest farm work without the backpacker tax. Pick the cherry trees clean before swarms of tourists discover the orchards of sweet stonefruit.
Cherries are one of our healthiest superfoods, with the deep red skin and flesh rich in antioxidants and flavinoids, fight those dastardly free radicals. The tart or sour taste of Morello cherries, popular in jams and preserves, also pack a of anthocyanin, thought to aid arthritis and gout sufferers.
Picking Your Own (PYO) is easy – hold the base of the stalk, nearest to the branch, between your thumb and first finger, then gently twist for a clean break. Choose fruit glowing with colour and with shiny, firm skin and bright green stems.
Once picked, keep them cool, ideally in the covered box supplied by the orchard or in an esky.
Plan your visit to include the National Cherry Festival in Young on the first weekend in December 2018.
During the annual event, activities include pie eating, pip spitting, young rodeo, a street parade, orchard tours and live music. Plan you visit to the National Cherry Festival and the orchards in Young.
Cherries ripe for the picking (by Main Range Cherry Orchard)
Begin the Pick Your Own adventure one of these 10 cherry farms in the Bathurst, Orange, Cowra and Young regions of New South Wales.
Allambie Orchard – On Olympic Highway in Wombat
3 hours west of Sydney, just south of Young, you can pick 20 different varieties of cherries.
Choose from Supremes, Eagles and Empress in mid-November, Vista, Black Star and white cherries in early-mid December and Lapins, sour cherries and Stella in the last weeks of the season in late December and early January.
The first weekend in December, in the middle of the peak season, is the perfect time to visit.
During the season, Allambie Orchard open for picking 7 days a week from 8am – 6pm.
Ballinaclash Orchard & Cellar Door – On Olympic Highway South, in Young
You'll find cherries but also plums and apricots to fill pick-your-own punnets and boxes
Ballinaclash Orchard & Cellar Door sells all things cherry, including cherry ice cream, pies, sauces, dessert wines and jams. For a lesson in the kitchen and garden, join the cherry pie baking classes and tours of their blossom gardens.
The grapevines produce award-winning wine, including a Cabernet Sauvignon.
Ballinaclash Orchard open 7 days during the season, starting in mid-November.
Bit o' Heaven PYO Cherry Orchard – At Fontenoy Road, Young
You can also PYO plums and grapes in December. They open again for another plum and grape PYO season in February and March. Contact them on (02) 6384 3353.
Cherry Hill South Orchard – On Cowra Road, Young
Just south of Cowra, the season for cherry picking runs throughout November and December. Contact them on (02) 6382 2513.
Gleann Mohr Farm – At 4249 Olympic Highway, Young
You can also pick strawberries and peaches during December and January.
Sample local farm-fresh eggs and honey or treat yourself to fruity homemade jams and pies in the farm store.
Gleann Mohr opens 7 days a week from 9am. You can contact them on 0438 593 423 or via email.
Cherries ripe for the eating (by Main Range Cherry Orchard)
Hillside Orchard and Craft Centre – On 1209 The Escort Way in Borenore
In the Orange District, you can PYO cherries in November and December.
Their trees picked clean by Christmas but pickers can grab apricots, blackberries, boysenberries, nectarines, peaches and plums in January and February.
In autumn, pick the lunchbox staples – apples and pears.
The Hillside Orchard and Craft Centre store has the classic country grocer feel. It's a large tin shed with wooden shelves lining the walls containing fruit, jams and preserves. In the refrigerators and stacked on wooden crates, fresh veges, eggs and oils are available.