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Published October 16th 2022
Keep calm and pick cherries
Fresh cherries - a highlight in summer for kids of all ages (by Hillside Orchard and Craft Centre)
Summer picnic tables aren't complete bowl of freshly chilled cherries as the centrepiece, enjoyed with cheese and crackers or ice-cream and cake.
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.
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 3725 Olympic Highway, 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.
In 2022, Allambie Orchard is planning to open from 12 November to Boxing Day, for picking 7 days a week from 8am 6pm. No bookings required unless it's a big group.
Allambie is celebrating its 25th year season. Congratulations!
Plan your visit at Allambie Orchard, and chat during office hours on 0418 462 821, or via email. You can also check their Facebook page for updates.
Ballinaclash Orchard & Cellar Door 4321 Olympic Highway South, 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.
PYO season at Ballinaclash Orchard starts on 12 November until the last week in December. Visit from 8am - 5pm, 7 days a week. Book your spot for 2022 at PYO bookings.
Just north of Mudgee, 10's is 4 hours north west of Sydney.
Arrive early to beat the afternoon sun, grab a bucket or bag and follow the guides to the ripest cherries in the organically farmed orchard. Pick your lot, stowing them in an esky for freshness. Similar to last year, the 2022 should start in mid-November.
The vineyard at 10's Estate, with grapevines planted over 10 years, produce shiraz, cabernet, chardonnay, and sιmillon grapes. Book a wine tasting with cheese platter at the cellar door, or buy a few bottles
Entry is $12 for adults, $7 for children and seniors, and free for infants. your picked cherries are $12 per kilo.
In the Orange District in 2022, you can PYO cherries in December.
Their trees are picked clean by Christmas but pickers can grab apricots, figs, nectarines, peaches, and plums when in-season.
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.
When the cherries are readying for picking in late November, check the PYO status (opening times, prices) on Facebook, or call Hillside Harvest on (02) 6365 2247.
Cherries ripe for the eating (by Main Range Cherry Orchard)
Stockman's Ridge 21 Boree Lane, Lidster
Stockman's Ridge PYO orchard blossoms in early December in 2021, with 9 varieties ripening during the season. The farm is 4 hours west of Sydney, just outside Orange.
Choose from the American Index, Royal Eddie, Royal Helen, or Bing, the Canadian Lapin, Stella, or Van, or the British Merchant variety. Study your favourite cherry species with this primer.https://stockmansridge.com.au/pages/cherry-varieties
In 2022, picking starts in early December. Pick your fill for $10/kg, with a $5 entry free.
Stockman's also serves award-winning wines, including a Rider Shiraz, from the cellar, hosts weddings and functions.
After a day in the fields and cellar, rest on a farm stay in the Swagman Homestead.
The ridge hosts live music in the gardens on most weekends. Check Facebook for concert updates.
Lynton Orchards Corner of Roberts Road and Olympic Highwayy, Young
Approximately 6km south of Young, Lynton grows a range of stonefruit for PYO enthusiasts, including apricots, nectarines and plums.
The orchards are lined with long rows of cherry blossoms, in a field of glowing whites and pinks stretching to the horizon.
In the grocery store, beneath 'Waitawhile Rd', stock up on honey, free-range eggs, boxes of cherries, loquats, mulberries, and the very sour Janerik green plums.
In 2022, Lynton is open 7 days a week for picking. The trees blossomed in the first week of Spring. Fruit should be ripe for picking by late November.
Contact Lynton Orchards on 0431 348 531 or 0405 555 145, via email or Facebook, where they post regular photo updates on the flowering cherry trees.
Cherry Hill 62 Young Road, Cowra
In the open countryside of regional NSW, Olympic Highway in Young is a cosy collection of cherry farms within a tiny 10km radius. Branch out from the crowds, and drive north from Young for 1hr to visit Cherry Hill in Cowra.
While in town, stroll in the Zen garden at the Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre, and ask, "How's the serenity?"
Contact Cherry Hill on (02) 6382 2513.
Bit o' Heaven PYO Cherry Orchard 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 Bit o' Heaven PYO Cherry Orchard on (02) 6384 3353.
Main Range Cherry Orchard 920 Boundary Road, Young
You can PYO cherries, filling the 5kg buckets before slipping them into an esky for cool storage on the drive home.
During the season, ending in December, you can pick from 8am-5pm on weekends. Be quick though - during last session, trees were picked clean by mid-December.
Entry is free and each kilo costs only $8. You can also tour with the owners, learning the secrets from the picking and packing experts.
If you get a taste for picking, make a career change to work in the orchard, either picking or packing cherries for sale.
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, mobile # 0438 593 423, email.
The 2022 National Cherry Festival in Young - 2 - 4 December 2022
Visit Australia's cherry capital for pie eating, pip spitting, young rodeo, a street parade, orchard tours and live music. To plan your festival experience, visit orchards for a listing and map of the pick-your-own cherry farms in Young.
Check the latest updates on Facebook
Where have you found the sweetest (or sourest) cherries? Please let us know with a comment.