In the midst of the Autumn apple season, I spent a fun day with friends in Bilpin picking fruit and enjoying the spectacular view of the Blue Mountains over lunch.
Early on a Saturday morning we headed out west of Sydney to Pine Crest Orchard in Bilpin where luscious fruits including apples, pears, peaches and plums are lovingly grown by owner John Galbraith and his team. Also our guide for the morning, John walked us through his rows of ripe apples and pears as we plucked fresh yield from the trees, being careful not to yank (and therefore damage) the fruits from the branches.
As John talked about the varieties of apples and pears and their different growing conditions, he encouraged us to bite into the freshly picked produce as he believes the chalky, unwaxed fruits taste so much better straight from the tree – and he was right. The apples were juicy and the pears were crisp and I suddenly felt like all the fruit I had ever eaten was dull and I had been unknowingly depriving myself of these real, natural and untouched flavours.
You can read about my chat with John Galbraith from Pine Crest Orchard on why it’s great to visit local farms.
There are a number of orchards in the Biplin area that offer ‘Pick Your Own’ days. At Pine Crest Orchard it’s an honour based system – when you arrive you take a bucket, then stroll through the orchards and fill it up. Visitors then stop by the shed where the buckets are weighed and the fruit is paid for. If you’re not a fan of the chalky, natural look of your pickings, you can shine them up on the waxing machine and watch the fruit dance along the felt-lined conveyor belt. Didn’t pick enough to take home? You can always stock up on the pre-picked fruit in the shed.
After a busy morning picking fruit we went to the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens to take in the beautiful view of the mountains over lunch.
Over a glass of rose I enjoyed a salad of grilled summer vegetables with goats feta and pepitas followed by rocket pasta (on the menu as ‘worms’) with basil and baby tomatoes.
For dessert we did what any food-loving group would do – we ordered one of everything! From left there was the light and fluffy angel cake with apricot jam and cream, baked custard with stewed rhubarb and pistachio shortbread, dark chocolate and walnut praline mousse cake and the figs peach-leaf ice cream with blackberry jelly. Getting to taste four desserts was absolutely the meal highlight for me.
Want to make your own fruit jam? Need to bake an impressive apple pie? Take a drive out of the city and visit an orchard – picking your own fruit is a great way to get fresh, organic produce and support your local farmers.
Have you ever visited a local farm to pick your own produce?
vegeTARAian was invited to attend Pine Crest Orchard and Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens.