Where to pick fruit in NSW
Edged by cool-climate mountains, seaside hinterlands and grassy plains, NSW provides a fertile landscape to grow exceptional produce. Grab your cutest basket and head out to hand-harvest your own sweet fruits at these welcoming farms.
Summer to Autumn
Crisp, sweet apples from the Blue Mountains are some of Australia’s best and their flavour seems all the more fragrant when plucked from the branch by your own hand. Head to Shields Orchard in Bilpin during apple harvest to do just that. With 12 varieties each ripening at staggered times, you can usually start picking Royal Gala from February and carry on until the last of the Sundowners arrive in May. You’ll need to book but there’s no entry charge, you simply pay for what you pick.
Apples and figs (autumn), stone fruit (summer)
Summer at Hillside Harvest family orchard in Orange is filled with the sweet scent of peaches, plums and blackberries. Come March and apples and figs hit the pick list. Visit any day of the week to harvest your fill of seasonal goods or leave the kids to do the work while you enjoy a coffee in the Farm Store and Café. An entry fee applies and it’s best to call ahead to check what fruits are on the trees.
Darkes Glenbernie Orchard
Stone fruit (spring), apples (summer-autumn)
This six-generation, family-run Illawarra apple and stone fruit orchard set in beautiful Darkes Forest is a destination for more than simply munching on a hand-picked apple. When not being pocketed by visitors, apples from the orchard end up in award-winning bottles of Darkes Cider. Book a 90-minute tour to pick-your-own for $20 and you’ll get a bonus tractor ride. Apple season runs from late January to April, while the nectarine and peach harvest begins in November.
Norland Fig Orchard
Sweet and jammy, a perfectly tree-ripened fig is a summer sensation – often too soft to transport, there’s no comparison with the figs you’ll find at the supermarket. With views toward Mount Canobolas, Norland Fig Orchard is a stone’s throw from Orange and offers fig-lovers a chance to choose their own across two harvests, the first of which typically begins in December with the second running until late April, but this depends on what the weather’s been up to. Norland grow four varieties, including the dark purple Black Genoa fig and the light-green skinned White Adriatic fig. You pay for what you pick with a $5 entry fee, and it’s best to call to check if someone will be home.
Apples (late summer-autumn), cherries (summer)
This Batlow farm in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains is abundant with fruit trees, the oldest of which were mere seedlings in the 1920s. If you’re en route to Beechworth via the Snowy Valley Way, be sure to pop by the farmgate store to fill the boot with fresh apples, cherries and berries. Come summer, you can self-pick a bucket of cherries and twist the first Gala apples from their branches. From there, other varieties roll out, including Kanzi, Fuji, Granny Smith and Pink Lady, until the picking season ends in early June.
Cedar Creek Orchard
Apples (summer-autumn), stone fruit (spring), persimmons (autumn)
The Slim family have been tending Cedar Creek Orchard in Thirlmere since the 1940s. Wander the 100-acre property on a guided farm tour, where you’ll sample fruit and watch apples being crushed for juice. You can also purchase the Slim family’s delicious fruit, juice, honey, and cider (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) at the shed or, at certain times of the year, make a booking to pick your own. Check their website for picking sessions, but typically, stone fruit run from November to mid-January, followed by apples in late January, and persimmons throughout autumn.
Cedar Farm – Pick Your Own Oranges Dooralong
In adorable Dooralong on the Central Coast, head to Cedar Farm to fill your buckets with fragrant and sweet oranges. Grab a picking stick and head into the 15-acre orchard to select your own spray-free Navels. Once your arms are laden, weigh your haul and pay only $1.50 per kilogram. Opening times do vary, so check their Facebook page before you go.
Watkins Family Farm
Mandarins and cumquats (winter)
The Watkins of Wisemans Ferry have been in the citrus business for well over a century. In the winter months, come along on weekends and holidays to pocket plump and juicy mandarins of the Satsuma, Imperial and Emperor varieties for just $10 per bucket. The season begins late May, and for those who like to make preserves and pickles, or those who just love the tartness, come along in July when the cumquats fruit.
Spring to Summer
Ricardoes Tomatoes and Strawberries Farm
The scent of strawberries is synonymous with summer, but at Ricardoes in Port Macquarie, you can PYO (pick-your-own) year-round thanks to the trellised enclosures bejewelled with plump, red berries. Entry is free and you only pay for what you pick. Arm the kids with buckets and send them off to pick until their small hearts are bursting.
If you’re taking a southward sojourn from Sydney and fancy the taste of a juicy strawberry, stop into Thirlmere’s Berrylicious Strawberries and eat as many as you want for $20 per person (kids are $10 and babies under two eat for free). The greenhouse-grown berries are suspended two-metres above the ground, and are ripe and ready to be plucked and eaten every day of the year, no matter the weather.
Allambie Orchard and Café
On the way to Wagga Wagga, swing through the cutely named village of Wombat, where you can devour sweet cherries at Allambie Orchard until your fingers are stained red. When in season, between November and December, enjoy your fill of self-picked cherries for $10 per kilogram. You can also BYO picnic and enjoy your PYO cherries on the property, or tuck into a cherry pie or ice-cream in the café. Should you miss the harvest window, you can always visit for a blossom tour during September and October.