It's that time of year again when citrus fruit, especially mandarins are coming into season; a perfect excuse to go mandarin picking. Show the kids where mandarins come from and discover the sweet juicy citrus goodness that I can't get enough of.
Watkins Family Farm Orchard offers the opportunity to pick your own from the Saturday 28th May from 10 am to 4 pm until the fruit is all picked. Discover the varieties of mandarins such as Imperial, Hickson and Emperor and let your tastebuds select your favourite. The perfect winter excursion with the kids, family or tourists, to pick to your heart's content.
Watkins Family Farm is located near Wiseman's Ferry about 75 minutes northwest of Sydney. Founded back in 1901, the orchard has currently over 2000 fruit trees dotting the picturesque surroundings of mountains and sheep and goats to feed, the kids' will be enthralled.
Following the trail of families walking over the creek via a wooden bridge to the farm, you'll see the signs to prepay $10 for a bucket which would contain 5-7kg of mandarins. Also on sale are freshly harvested honey, homemade jams, eggs and a shed full of grow your own mushrooms bundles.
Armed with a list of simple rules; one bucket between two adults, place the peel in the bucket to keep the farm clean, sample 2 mandarins and keep to an honesty system with what you have picked.
Once you have picked your mandarins, there is an area where you can place your picked produce into plastic bags for easy transport back to the car.
I'm already thinking of the mandarin recipes that I'd like to make this year. Mandarin marmalade, mandarin cake, mandarin curd, maybe even attempt preserved mandarin.
Entry is free with plenty of paddock parking. There are picnic chairs and tables available as well as portaloo facilities. Why not pack a picnic and rug to enjoy the green space. It is recommended to come early as it gets particularly busy at lunchtimes.
Other places for lunch with kids that I'd recommend is Wiseman's Ferry Hotel which is very family with a free bouncy castle and activities for the kids. Or on a quieter side, admire the view from the picnic tables and have a bbq overlooking the Hawkesbury River at Hawkins Lookout (on route to Watkins Farm) and enjoy the sunshine.
How to get there: There will be 2 large signs along Singleton Road directing you to turn into a dirt track to Watkins Family Farm. You will have to follow this narrow dirt track for 1km before you reach an open paddock where there is plenty of parking.
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).