Pick your own fruit
Come to Yarra Valley’s CherryHill Orchards from November and into summer to pick yourself a basket of ruby red cherries fresh off the trees. The orchard’s shop, open during the cherry season, stocks cherry beverages from juice, sodas, and even beers like the Cherry Vanilla Porter. In spring, the orchard runs an annual cherry blossom festival, a great day out for the whole family when the orchard turns white with spring blossoms. Picking is $15 for adults and $6 for children, and you can eat as much as you want while you're there.
Just try not eating the juicy strawberries at Sunny Ridge straight off the ankle-high plants. (Do the right thing and pay for a punnet first). The strawberry season generally runs from November to April, though availability is based on seasonal conditions (the fruits need sunshine and minimal rainfall), and whether the farm has been picked out for a particular period. Picking prices are $10 each for adults (includes a 500g punnet) and $5 for kids (250g punnet).
This family-run fruit orchard in the Yarra Valley grows more than 450 varieties of fruit including stone fruits, citruses, exotic fruit like feijoa and guava and more. Visitors can pick fruit for most of the year, though fewer varieties are available between September and October. In spring, look out for peaches, nectarines, oranges, lemons and rhubarb. Go on a tractor tour of the orchard with farmer Len or one of his sons ($29.50) to sample some fruit and learn about your favourite healthy treats.
This organic berry farm in the Strzelecki Ranges lets you pick your own berries. The farm grows strawberries, loganberries, blackberries, boysenberries, gooseberries, currants, around 40 types of raspberries as well as apples, feijoas, chestnuts and persimmons. It is open daily during the Victorian summer school holidays but outside that period you'll have to ring on the day to check availability. Entry is $8. The farm shop also sells a variety of jams and jellies (all organic, of course).
Just outside Bacchus Marsh, this farm offers the chance to pick peaches, nectarines, cherries, strawberries or apples, depending on the season. It's very economical, with entry for everything except cherries absolutely free (cherries are $5). You weigh what you pick and pay for it at the end, then load up the car with your fresh fruit treats to take home. Fruits are available most of the year, from October to May. Youc can also buy strawberry jam, strawberry sauce and strawberry vineagar from the shop. Just so you know, the farm does not have EFTPOS facilities, so bring cash to pay for the fruits of your labours.
Beechworth Berries is a regular at regional Victorian farmers' markets, but you can pick strawberries fresh from the farm. The strawberries, grown waist-high for easy picking, are best between October and January and between April and May. Grab a bucket and pick a minimum of 500 grams of strawberries to take home, and swing past the farm gate shop (open daily during season) to pick up some homemade jams.