Fruit Picking at Bilpin

One of the activities I’ve been hoping to do for a while is visit a pick-your-own farm. There are a few places not far from Sydney where you can pick fruit that you pay for by the kilo. Different fruits are available at different times of year. In Autumn, chestnuts and apples are both in season and I couldn’t decide between the two. As a compromise I planned to travel up the Bell’s Line of Road to Mt Irvine to visit a chestnut farm, and pick apples in Bilpin on the way home. In the end we found that my plan was over-ambitious and the apples won the day. By the time we got to Bilpin we’d had enough driving. Besides, the apples were looking too good to drive past. I must admit it wasn’t only the apples I wanted to stop for. I’d also spotted a sign that mentioned real fruit icecream, so driving further up the mountains would only put more distance between me and this treat.

applepickers

Having decided on apples we turned in to Bilpin Springs Orchard. There were heaps of cars lined up with families hopping out of them, or returning to stash their apples in the boot. We joined the throng waiting to be lead down to the orchard. While we waited we admired the orchard dog, who had beautiful soulful eyes and very expressive eyebrows.

braeburnapple

Down in the orchard certain rows of trees were marked with a tick to indicate that the fruit was ready to be picked. The day we visited the choice was between Red Fujis and Braeburns, but the selection varies every couple of weeks. We decided to pick Braeburn apples, mostly because we hadn’t seen them in the shops. We reasoned that if you’re picking your own you might as well get something unusual.

Since this orchard specialises in pick your own fruit I think they grow a greater range of varieties than commercial growers. This would allow the picking season to be broader, as well as offering something special to the visiting pickers. In spite of the different ripening times most of the apple trees were covered in leaves and fruit. I did spot the odd mis-timed blossom on trees that were otherwise fruiting, which made me think how beautiful the orchard would be in bloom.

appleblossom

As we walked down the rows there were a few interesting things to notice. There’s a lot that goes into farming fruit that you don’t see at the greengrocer. For example, I was curious to see that the fruit had been sprayed with food grade chalk for sun protection. Who would have guessed that apples get sunburnt? I also noticed fruit fly traps hanging here and there. Some of the trees were draped in cloth to protect them from hail damage and birds. On the uncovered trees you could see a few apples that the birds had been eating.

birddamage

We didn’t pick too many apples – only about 2 kg. We reasoned that neither of us were big apple eaters. How silly that reasoning seems now. Less than a week has passed and there is only one apple left in the fruit bowl. Clearly with the right apples we are big apple eaters. These Braeburns were beautifully fresh and crisp. Much better than anything you get at the greengrocer. They’re also a good flavour, not too sweet or tart. I wish we’d picked twice as many!

breaburnapples

With our loot of apples safely stowed, we moved on to Tutti Frutti. This was the place with the sign advertising the real fruit ice cream, and I was keen to try some. While we were there we also bought a big bucket of local honey. The real fruit ice cream was the star attraction though. It was made by combining vanilla ice cream with berries of your choice. I went for blueberry and James had blackberry. The girl behind the counter told me that I wasn’t the first person to take a photo starring her hands. Obviously the ice cream machine is worth a photo even for visitors who aren’t bloggers.

fruiticecream

Outside Tutti Frutti we had our icecream in the rose garden. The roses smelt divine, and I loved the way they were massed together. Underneath them were strawberry plants. I wonder if these were the source of some of the berries for the real fruit ice cream. There was probably a bigger plot somewhere else though.

labeeenrose

I’d recommend fruit picking as a great day out. Next time I’ll be sure to pick a more ambitious quantity of fruit and do some baking. I’m looking forward to trying stone fruit next summer too.

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18 thoughts on “Fruit Picking at Bilpin

  1. It’s certainly great quality produce straight from the tree! How was the cost relative to the shop-bought apples?
    Love your rose photo 🙂

  2. Ooh – I’ve been planning a fruit picking day with my girlfriends (and am similarly torn between chestnuts and apples). I did it once when I was in London and absolutely loved it!

    And yes – how much were the apples going for per kilo?

  3. The last time my mom went apple picking, we ate nothing but apples for days – I couldn’t believe how amazingly crisp they were.

  4. Ahh brings back recent memories of raspberry picking in NZ! I would love to find a berry picking farm here. Although apples would be good too just to taste the freshness of a fresh apple (I don’t think what we get in the supermarket is v fresh).

  5. Ahh fresh fruit picking, one of my favs. Its always such a great day out, very fruitful (pardon the pun). My favorite is cheery and raspberry picking. I always eat more than I eventually take home, and raspberries always freeze so well, so I have enough stock in the freezer until the following season. I’ve never been apple picking before though, you post makes me want to source out an apple orchid near me!

  6. I wish there was such a thing as fruit picking here…looks like a lovely thing to do and I’m sure those apples taste much better than anything store bought…especially because some effort went into picking them :)The only time I picked fruit was when I was visiting my grandparents who live in France…my grandpa has a little garden filled with goodies..and a lovely cherry tree…I had so much fun picking those cherries and eating them right away. Delicious!

  7. Ooh, looks like fun! Make sure next time you go I get invited! Something with trees, since I can pick ground growing plants any time in the backyard 🙂

  8. This brings back memories of cherry picking back when I was in Melbourne. It was so fun, and the fruits were one of the freshest I ever had. Especially since it was cherries, you can’t get that here in Malaysia!!

  9. Hi Arfi – it is sad that summer is over!

    Hi Anita – the apples were $3.50 a kilo, so probably a little cheaper than the green grocer.

    Hi Shez – it would be a nice day out with a group of friends.

    Hi Y – they’re so crisp aren’t they. I wish all apples were that good.

    Hi Steph – the real fruit ice cream was nice. It gave you the flavour of berries and icecream, but it was really smoothly blended.

    Hi Lorraine – reading about your raspberry picking helped inspire me to finally go picking. It’s a great outing.

    Hi Maria – freezing berries is a bright idea. I’ll have to go berry picking next summer!

    Hi Alexandra – fresh cherries sounds wonderful! Your grandpa must have had a great garden.

    Hi Belle – fruit fresh from the tree is definitely tastier!

    Hi Alloronan – yes, we should make a trip together. I’d like to pick pears while it’s cool, but my list of summer fruit is ten times longer.

    Hi Sue – I guess it’s a bit warm for cherries in Malaysia, but the tropical fruit is pretty good compensation 🙂

  10. Apple picking is one of my all-time favorite outdoor activities. Growing up in Thailand, I never had a chance to eat apples right off the tree, so you can imagine how excited I was when I went on my first apple picking trip. Nothing tastes like fresh apples. They have ruined me for the store bought ones. Too bad the apple picking season in Chicago won’t start until September.

  11. Pingback: Gluten Free Apple Bun « Hoglet K

  12. Love Bilpin. That was one of my favourite family picinicing places as a small person and there is no more fabulous time to be there than right now (ish)!

    An orchard in full spring bloom is exquisite. Head back in spring I say, with camera in hand, please!

  13. Pingback: Fruit picking at Bilpin – apples and plums | Hoglet K

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