With the cold start to spring in Melbourne this year, cherry season has been a little delayed - but fear not, cherry season is now upon us and the time is ripe to head off for a day of cherry picking.
The Australian cherry season only lasts around 100 days with these juicy, ruby red pearls in abundant supply from November through to the end of February.
Image Source: Cherryhill
They are the quintessential summer fruit and really do signal summer and the start of the holiday season - perfect anytime as a summer snack, a lunchbox treat, as part of a festive feast or made into jam to enjoy all year round.
Cherries contain no fat or cholesterol and are jam-packed with antioxidants. In other words, not only are they yummy and bursting with flavour, but they are really good for you with a heap of health benefits.
So where is the best place to go cherry picking near Melbourne? Below are 9 places that you might like to try. It's a great day out for the whole family and there's nothing like freshly picked fruit.
Please check individual websites or give them a call for confirmation of details before heading off as these may change depending on supply. Some allow you to eat as many cherries as you like, some may have food and drink to purchase on-site and others may allow you to bring a picnic. Again, check the websites for full details.
The farm is open 9.00am- 5.00pm, however, to give yourself time to pick cherries the last entry into the cherry orchard is 4.00pm.
$15 Eating Fee - Eat as many as you like.
Children 5 years and under Free
Children between 5 and 12 years $5
Take home cherries are sold by weight $10 to $35 per kg
You can also buy freshly picked Cherries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Boysenberries, Marionberries, and Blueberries directly from the farm gate. Not only that, they have a large trout fishing dam full of Rainbow Trout where you can catch your own fish.
Address: 52 Arkwells Lane, Red Hill, Mornington Peninsula
Cherry season will begin late November or possibly early December. The farm is generally open 7 days a week from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm to early January. Orchard entry closes at 4.00pm to ensure adequate picking time before closing. Please check the fruit report the night before you visit to make sure that they will have cherries to pick. The report will also tell you what other types of berries are available for picking.
Adult Entry Fee
$12.00 per person (Price includes all you can eat in the orchard & a picking demonstration)
Child Entry Fee (3 – 14 years old) $6.00
Children under 3 free
Cherry picking is available on weekends between 10am and 3pm. Check the website for other fruit that may also be available for picking.
Entry is $5 (little children no charge) and fruit is priced per kg.
There is also plenty of wonderful fresh produce in the sheds, including seasonal varieties of Peaches, Nectarines, Apples, Apricots, Cherries, Plums and Berries.
Address: 372 The Avenue of Honour, Bacchus Marsh
Phone: (03) 8676 0172
Image Source: Paynes Orchards
Remember to wear appropriate clothing and footwear and don't forget the sunblock and a hat.
If you don't eat all your freshly picked cherries before getting home, here are a few tips on the best way to store them:
- Cherries must be dry when placed in the fridge. (if wet or damp this will reduce their shelf life)
- Place your cherries in an opened container. Air flow is important to improve the longevity of your cherries.
- Regularly check them for blemishes and remove those as they can spoil the other cherries