Winter is upon us which means delicious mandarins and citrus fruit are ready for the picking. Fords Farm will open to the public the weekend of 26 and 27 May 2018 from 10am to 4pm every weekend until all the fruit has gone.
Fords Farm grow a variety of mandarins such as the Satsuma mandarin, a seedless variety that is easy to peel and full of sweet juice. My favourite is the Imperial mandarin which you'll find stocked at most supermarkets as it is that perfect portable sweet snack for the kids' lunchbox.
Tahitian limes, kaffir limes and lemons will also be available for the picking at the opening weekend. Hickson mandarins, known for their bright orange and easy to peel skins, as well as the Valencia oranges located at the far side of the farm will also be ripe for the picking.
Ford's Farm is located near Wiseman's Ferry, an easy hour and fifteen minutes drive northwest from the hustle and bustle of Sydney CBD.
Start at the shed to be given a rundown of the where the different fruit trees are, shears at $5 which is refunded when returned and a bucket to take to pile with your mandarin bounty.
Walking amongst the fruit laden trees surrounding by the sandstone escarpment, the view is spectacular. The kids were already miles ahead on the hunt for the sweet mandarins.
Once you have picked your fill, head back to the shed to weigh the fruit and pay. My advice is to pick closer to the shed, as you'll find carrying two or more bucket loads of mandarins from the back of the farm heavy going.
There is a selection of the farm's homemade jams (mandarin and whisky, orange and brandy), honey, and chutneys on offer, too. Or have a go at making your own mandarin marmalade with your bucket loads of mandarins.
There is an car entry fee of $5 per car at the gate to cover the cost of providing more facilities and not to worry there is plenty of paddock parking.
I recommend taking a picnic lunch and making a day of it with family and friends. There are picnic chairs and tables available as well as toilet and baby change facilities. There are farm animals to see and feed. Just buy some feed (50c a bag) at the shed to take with you to feed the sheep, which my kids loved.
Council has provided signage to state that Laughtondale Gully Road is now closed as the road is dangerous and difficult to navigate.
Travel on Old Northern Road all the way into Wisemans Ferry and when you see the township there is a road on your right (Singleton Road). Simply follow the big yellow signs all the way past Watkins Farm to the end of the road to Fords Farm.
Prices for Pick your own.
Prices per kilo have not changed for the past ten years, so you can buy your mandarins, lemons and limes for $2.00 per kg and cumquats at $10.00 per kg.