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Published November 27th 2020
Keep Calm and Cherry On
Cherries ripe for the picking (by Marble Hill Cherries)
One of summer's delights is sweet stonefruit. The juicy flavours of apricots, nectarines, peaches and plums join cherries as a guilt-free pleasure during our hottest months. In the Fleurieu Peninsula and Adelaide Hills, only an hour east of the city, over 20 farms open up to the public. We're invited to pick our own cherries or choose a pre-picked box or bag of their freshest to take home.
Cherries are an original superfood. The vitamin A and antioxidant levels may help balance blood sugar, improve sleep, and ease diabetes symptoms. Cherries can also reduce inflammation, to battle memory loss, gout and arthritis.
In South Australia's cherry farms, the Pick Your Own season runs from November to January. There may be a small entry fee at some farms, but this should include a taste test to find your favourite variety.
At each farm and region, look out for the choices ripe for picking as these vary when conditions change. You should find dozens to choose from, including Lapin, Sweetheart, Merchant and Van. The white cherry is a local favourite.
Pick cherries as they ripen, when the skin is firm and shiny and the stem is a glowing green. Rinse cherries and remove the stems just before eating, storing them in the fridge until ready. You can also wash and dry the cherries to freeze them in airtight containers for a year-round treat.
Choose cherries over strawberries and blueberries for a sweet accompaniment to cheese and cracker platters and chocolate desserts.
Pick the perfect cherry at one of these 10 farms in the Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula:
Cherries ripe for the eating (by Unsplash / Public Domain)
Lennane Orchards – 814D Montacute Rd, Montacute
At Lennane, you can pick your own on weekend "Picking Experience" sessions, to eat on the farm. Buy pre-picked cherries, raspberries, apricots, plums and lemons to take home, and refresh in the cafe with fresh ice cream, blended with vanilla, and cherries, strawberries and raspberries from the orchard.
Cherries are ripe for picking from the first week in November.
If you're arriving from Adelaide, take a short detour south on Norton Rd before reaching the orchards to visit the walking trails and tumbling waterfall at Morialta Falls.
Lennane Orchards are open from 9am – 6pm, 7 days a week. Call (08) 8390 2271 or check Facebook for updates and to book a picking session.
Martin Hill Cherries – 309 Martin Hill Rd, Forreston
After the Boxing Day sales, pick your own or buy boxed cherries and rhubarb at a small family orchard in the Hills.
Contact Martin Hill on (08) 8389 1118 or visit Facebook.
Kersbrook Cherry Farm – 1718 South Para Road, Kersbrook
Pick white and dark cherries at the family owned and operated cherry and pear farm from late November until mid-December.
Celebrate your harvest on a tour of the Australia's best wines in the nearby Barossa. No mobile phone reception? Try the Whispering Wall at the Barossa Reservoir in Williamstown. The curved dam wall and steep drop creates a parabola, projecting your voice over 140 metres.
Contact Kersbrook Cherry Farm on (08) 8389 2231 or Facebook..
Plummers Border Valley Orchards - 32 Plummers Road, Forest Range.
It's child's play to pick the low hanging fruit at Plummers. The cherry trees are heavy with Bing, Summit, Lapins, Van, Simone, Sir Hans, Stella, Sir Douglas varieties.
Take a short drive southeast to Melba's Chocolate Factory in Woodside for chocolate to go with your cherries. Experience the wonder of a chocolate waterfall at the enrobing machine, before the sweet treats are set in the cooling tunnel.
For over 25 years, the orchards at Fleurieu have produced premium cherries, grown with organic fertilisers and seaweed. Pick or buy 20 varieties of cherries, including the giant Glacier and white-fleshed Dame Nancy.
Marble Hill Cherries – 25 Marble Hill Road, Ashton.
Atop the Mount Lofty Ranges, pick-your-own cherries, stay cool with cherry and vanilla ice cream, and nibble on gingerbread koalas.
Since 2002, visitors have picked their own at the orchard in Ashton.
Drive northeast to visit Marble Hill. Former state governors spent their summers at the Victorian Gothic Revival style residence, but in 1955, the Black Sunday bushfires destroyed the home. After decades of restoration work, it's now open to visitors.
For many years, you could visit Cherrytime to pick-your-own or buy pre-picked cherries. Days before Christmas in 2019, the Cudlee Creek Fire destroyed the cherry orchard. This family-run farm is recovering.
Support their recovery and pencil them into your calendar to visit in 2021.
Contact the Cherrytime Orchard on (08) 8389 6902 or visit Facebook.