Christmas is not the only thing that comes once a year. In many homes, the beautifully indulgent cherry (that also ripens just in time for Christmas) graces our tables every summer.
Although people often think of Young when it comes to cherries in NSW, but Orange has a significant history that is very worth or your attention and tastebuds.
From the early days of European settlement, the rich volcanic soils and climate of Orange resulted in excellent fruit growing. The first commercial fruit growing enterprise known, is attributed to George Hawke of ‘Pendarves’, Byng, east of Orange. Hawke settled at Byng in the early 1840s, but returned to his native Cornwall (UK) in search of root-stock suitable for Australian conditions to commence his fruit farming. The first trees planted did not survive as the conditions were so different from the UK, so this prompted him to make the wiser decision to obtain a variety of acclimatised fruit trees including cherries, apples, plums, and peaches from elsewhere in Australia.
Hawke successfully persevered in his endeavours, and by the 1880s many other orchardists had joined him in Orange. In 1899, the local railway was shipping a noteworthy76,000 cases of fruit from the region and by 1927 this had grown to an astounding 170,525 cases
Not many people know, that in the first half of the 20th century, Orange was in fact the largest apple producer in NSW. In 1945, there were 380 orchards with over 4000 acres of apples planted. And in the 1960s, orchards were developed by 460+ farming families. Sadly, droughts in the 1980s proved difficult for the orchards, but the 21st century has once again seen a welcome and steady increase in the Orange apple industry. Today the combined areas of Orange and Batlow produce 16% of the national apple and pear crop, valued at over $95 million for apples and $300,000 for pears in 2014-15.
Our cherry-picking tours are run seasonally, usually from the last week of November through to first week of January (weather and season dependent). We’d love you to join us for a delicious and fabulously fun day out for the whole family, with lots of beautiful, fresh produce to take home and share with family and friends (or not if you eat them before you get home… we won’t judge).
When the season arrives, we are very happy to add cherry picking to any tour.
Michelle and Chip from Canobolas Cherries
Our pick (pardon the pun), of orchards are as follows:
- Thornbrook Orchard is a third-generation family run orchard which has been growing fruit in the rich volcanic soils of Mount Canobolas since the orchard was established in 1947. A visit to the orchard allows you enjoy a pick your own experience, selecting from cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, black muscat grapes, figs, pears, apples and persimmons. The fruit is left to ripen on the tree, meaning it is ready to be picked and eaten straight away. You can’t get any fresher. The shed is open 7 days a week to purchase fresh fruit – apples and pears are usually $3 a kilo
- Hillside Harvest is located at Borenore, about 10 mintues from Orange. Hillside Harvest is abundant with delicious produce and friendly people who are passionate about growing, cooking, and enjoying good food. The shop has a variety of locally produced cheese, dips, bacon etc and a gift shop. You can pick your own fruit in season. Open 7 days, Weekdays 9 am – 5 pm, Weekends 9 am – 3 pm
- Borrodell Vineyard sits at an altitude of over 1030 metres above sea-level, making it one of Australia’s highest vineyards. It produces cool-climate wines and they grow a vast variety of fruit and produce – apples, cherries, plums, quinces, persimmons, almonds, and Black Perigord Truffles, all using sustainable practices and no pesticides. Not to be outdone by wine and fruit alone, Borrodell also grow decadent saffron and truffles.Their unique and special collection also contains over 200 different varieties of heritage apples – dessert (eating), culinary (cooking). and cider apples, and over 230 varieties of heritage plums.
- Another great pick your own is Canobolas cherries, who consistently produce beautiful juicy cherries and breathtaking views of Mount Canobolas from their gorgeous orchard.
- BiteRiot! Is all about premium apples and cherries grown in the Mount Canobolas district. Grown at high altitude in rich volcanic soil, nourished by fresh and clean mountain water ensures delicious results. The locations warm sunny days and cool clear nights, are ideal conditions for crisp, crunchy apples and firm, fresh cherries.
Tips for cherry picking:
- bring a bucket (and your appetite)
- cash only for payment
- don’t forget a bottle of water – picking and indulging in cherries can be hot work.