With the cooler weather here, the season of picking mandarins and citrus fruit begins at Fords Farm Saturday 28 May 2016 & Sunday 29 May 2016 and every weekend thereafter until all the fruit has gone from 10am to 4pm.
Tis the season for mandarin picking
It may be of interest that there are many different varietals of mandarins. The first mandarin of the season is the Satsuma mandarin, a seedless variety that is easy to peel, full of juice and sweet which suits the kids the best.
Imperials mandarins are stocked at most supermarkets as they are first to be harvested, easy to peel, with few seeds and perfect for that portable snack. Especially as these delicious nutrient-dense mandarins are packed full of vitamins and minerals, fibre and phytochemicals without fat or salt.
Tahitian limes, kaffir limes, lemons and cumquats will also be available for the picking at the opening weekend.
Later in the season, Hickson mandarins known for their bright orange skin and easy to peel when the skins become loose will be available. Followed by the Emperor mandarins with large puffy skin that forms completely separate from the flesh making this mandarin the easiest to peel.
An interesting fact for you. Did you know that mandarins originated from southern China and were named after the Chinese officials at the Imperial Court, the "Mandarins" who used the fruit for various medicinal purposes.
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 the where the different fruit trees are and a bucket to take to go picking.
Wonder around the lush green trees dotted with orange with the kids, don't forget to look up at the sandstone escarpments. We are always on the hunt for the sweetest mandarins and sampling the fruit before settling on a tree to pick.
Where do mandarins come from?
Once you have picked your fill, head back to the shed to weigh and pay. 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.
Pick your fill 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 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 facilities. There are farm animals and you can buy feed which my kids loved to feed.
Please be advised not to use Laughtondale Gully Road (your GPS will direct you that way). 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 to the farm.
Prices per kilo has not changed for the past ten years, so you can buy your mandarins, lemons and limes for $2.00 per kg.
Due to the warmer weather cumquats have ripened earlier this year these will be $10.00 per kg for cumquats with a discount given on the purchase of large quantities.