The cool temperatures of winter are here and the time for delicious mandarins and citrus fruit are ready for the picking. Fords Farm will open to the public the weekend of 12 and 13 June 2021 from 10am to 2pm every weekend until all the fruit has gone.
Annual mandarin picking day out
There are conditions of entry due to COVID19. You must make a booking online as Fords Farm is limited to the number of cars on the property at the one time. You will need to go the calendar and complete details and pay a booking fee per car of $10 (which includes up to 6 people) and you will receive confirmation. You will need to show your confirmation at the farm gate before car entry is allowed.
The cost of paying for what you pick fruit is $3 per kg, where you can put all the different fruit into one bucket, except for cumquats which are $10 per kg.
Health Regulations require you to follow the rules of social distancing. If you are unwell, please do not come to the farm as you will be refused entry. Remain 1.5m from other people and only pick where indicated by the staff. There are toilets onsite, which are regularly cleaned for your use.
Pick your own mandarins
We wandered through the fruit-laden trees, bright orange dots amongst the dark green foliage and rock escarpment. The kids ran ahead, buckets in hand on the hunt for the sweetest and largest mandarins they could find.
Buckets in hand
We heard the Satsuma mandarins, at the back of the property, was the juiciest and sweetest this year, so it was a sprint race to get there first. The Satsuma mandarins are a seedless variety that is easy to peel and full of sweet juice. There was an abundance of Imperial mandarins and the kids gave a thumbs up for both varieties.
Easy to peel Satsumas
This year, we found the fruit crop to be amazingly sweet and bountiful. Hearing that the floods back in April came halfway up the citrus trees was a stark contrast to the beautiful outing we had on the weekend. The remnants of the flood can still be seen on the leaves and trunks of the Satsumas, but luckily not too much damage was done.
Tahitian limes, kaffir limes and lemons are available for 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. Even the cumquats, which ripen usually in mid-July, were ripe for picking.
The kids had a ball feeding the hungry sheep. My youngest thought it was hilarious when the sheep were eating straight out the brown paper bag.
Feed the sheep
We picked just over my youngest son's weight of 19kg. Not bad going. Typically a full bucket of picked mandarins weighed 5kg of fruit but we did hear of one family managing to fill a bucket so it was 7kg, so it may have particular juicy mandarins for that weigh in.
Mandarin weigh in. 19kg.
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.
There is a selection of the farm's homemade jams (mandarin and whisky, orange and brandy), honey, and chutneys, homemade goodies such as mandarin cakes on offer, too.
How to get there?
Please note to avoid Laughtondale Gully Road as the road is quite narrow 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 haven't changed in years, it's $3/kg for mandarins, limes, lemons, oranges with the exception of cumquats at $10/kg.
50c for a brown paper bag of feed to feed the sheep.
Please note that you will be required to book in advance or be denied entry.