Winter is here which means mandarins and citrus fruit are ripe. Fords Farm opens to the public this weekend of 1 and 2 June 2019 from 10am to 4pm every weekend until all the fruit has gone. I can't wait to get my teeth into this delicious sweet fruit.
Fords Farm grow a variety of mandarins such as the Satsuma mandarin, a seedless variety that is easy to peel, full of juice which suits the kids the best and Imperials mandarins are also easy to peel, with few seeds and perfect for that portable snack.
With an abundance of Imperial mandarins, Tahitian limes and Satsumas are available for picking on the opening weekend. Cumquats will be able to picked in mid July are yet to ripen over the coming weeks. Fords Farm has had a tough year due to trees being lost to the drought but the recent rain has improved the quality of the remaining fruit.
Ford's Farm is located near Wiseman's Ferry, an easy hour and fifteen minutes drive northwest of the hustle and bustle of Sydney CBD. Start at the shed to be given a rundown of where the different fruit trees are. There is the option to use shears at $5, which is refunded when returned, as well as empty buckets to fill with your mandarin bounty.
We wandered through and around the fruit-laden trees, bright orange dots amongst the dark green foliage. The kids were running ahead on the hunt for the sweetest and largest mandarins they could find. Not much sampling occurred as it somehow turned into a race to see who could fill their buckets first before handing them over to their parents to carry back.
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 I found carrying two bucket loads of mandarins from the back of the farm, tough work on my arms, but a good bicep workout in any case.
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 also freshly squeezed mandarin juice on offer which you must try.
There is an entry fee of $5 per car at the gate to cover the cost of providing more facilities but not to worry, there is plenty of paddock parking. I totally recommend having a picnic 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 also feed. Just buy some feed 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.
How to get there 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.
You can buy your mandarins, oranges, lemons and limes for $3.00 per kg with cumquats being $10.00 per kg.