You don’t have to slave away for months in your garden to get super fresh fruit. Head out of town and pick your own fruit at orchards and farms in regional Victoria. There are berry farms and stone fruit orchards just a little more than an hour away out of the city, but before you visit here is a fruit picking rule of thumb before you go: check the website or call the farm if you’re not sure if they are open for harvest season as the farm may be closed due to seasonal conditions.
For more out-of-town adventures, check out our guide to the best day hikes from Melbourne, or tick off the 50 things to do in Melbourne before you die.
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.
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 $9 each for adults (for a 500g punnet) and $4 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 ($28) 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. They're open daily during the Victorian summer school holidays but outside that period you'll have to ring on the day to check availability. Their farm shop also sells a variety of jams and jellies (all organic of course).
Beechworth Berries is a regular at regional Victorian farmer’s markets, but you can pick their strawberries fresh from their 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.
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