Crisp, sweet baby apples are one of autumn’s greatest pleasures. And they’re even fresher if you pick them yourself.
We’ve picked apples in Bilpin before, at Bilpin Springs Orchard. This time we tried Pine Crest Orchard across the road. Both orchards are frequented by families and the occasional tourist bus. The competition between them doesn’t seem to be too fierce, because the farmer we met was joking about which orchard was tidier.
The beauty of an orchard that specialises in picking your own fruit is that they they grow lots of varieties with different ripening times. The owners set up coloured flags in the parts of the orchard where the fruit is ripe and ready to pick. You can take your time to pick what you want, then pay for your fruit by the kilo as you leave.
This year we hit the right season for plums and the earliest apples and pears. Peaches were earlier, and nashis will come later.
The plums were growing under an enormous bird net, like a tent over all the trees. The apples were growing out in the open.
It was very pleasant even in drizzly weather to walk through the orchard and choose your fruit. In fact the damp weather enhanced the fresh grassy smell of the countryside.
We ate almost all of our fruit fresh rather than cooking with it. The apples were just too crisp and sweet to make into a pie.
What are your favourite fruit picking places? Can you advise me when and where to pick berries in the Sydney region?