A-picking we did go
Early yesterday morning, a group of 12 adults and 6 children set off for a berry picking adventure. We went up the windy road to the lower hills of the Strzelecki ranges and found that the Sunny Creek Organic berry farm was a little cooler than the highway we had transcended from.
The day started with a talk on the history and setting up of the permaculture designed property by one of the owners, Phil. We learnt of the importance of frogs and bees to the organic berry farmer, why currants will grow under chestnut trees but raspberries won’t, and how to tell a golden raspberry plant from a red raspberry, even before it fruits. Most importantly for our purposes on the day, we learnt how to judge a berry for immediate eating versus one for keeping a few days or freezing.
Then it was time to pick and be merry. Everyone had a bucket to fill, and there were oodles of beautiful plump berries to be had – silvan berries, boysenberries, youngberries, blackberries (all types of brambles), a rainbow of raspberries (yellow, red, purple and black) some red currants and a smattering of blueberries.
It was a perfect temperature for picking and we were in under the nets reaching for large clusters of berries, some so ripe that they fell off their stalk as soon as they were touched (then you had to ferret in the undergrowth to save them!). Of course a fair amount of berry grazing was done along the way, encouraged by the owner, who suggested we savour the sharper, more acidic, less ripe fruit and compare it with its more fully ripened and darker neighbour.
The owners gave us a lovely spot to have morning tea and our picnic lunch, and the children had a lovely time seeking adventures in the nearby bush and looking for tree frogs in the pond.
After weighing and packing our bounty, we wandered our separate ways home with our berry treasures, some stopping off in Yarragon on the way for a cuppa, and others checking out the new foal on a local farm, all determined to add one or two varieties of berry to our gardens next spring.
Perhaps the apple season will take us for another venture up into the hills– cox’s orange pippins and Canadian cider apples await. We will keep you posted re picking season for the apple crop and highly recommend the quality of the berries and berry picking experience at Sunny Creek.
Rachel and Jos
(on behalf of the fun_raising group)
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