Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Mandarins and Mushrooms

After months of blog inactivity, I was given a kick up the bum by a visiting fellow blogging Melburnian. I'm not even going to enter into the excuses. So here is the resurrection and I will slowly add posts retrospectively as we go.

We decided to take a break from house, building and gardening projects and enjoy the warm sunshine. What better way to do it then to go fruit picking! We had seen a post for the Watkins Family Farm on facebook a while back and the thought of freshly picked mandarins, possibly the family's winter fruit of choice, beckoned. The decision was so last minute that I didn't even pack my camera so the trusty iphone had to suffice to document the day.

In order to get the family to the farm, the massive beast had to negotiate the notorious Galston Gorge Rd. If you have not been on the road before, feel free to google image Galston Gorge Rd and you'll understand why we were nervous about the hairpin turns. The car often could not make the turns within our lane and I had to close my eyes and pray for no oncoming traffic! It was followed shortly by travel on narrow single lane dirt road which helped contribute to the sense of adventure. I should mention that this is maneuverable by non-4WD vehicles as proven by the many that we saw that day.

The farm is nestled in a valley and provided a lovely setting for fruit picking. There were rows upon rows of mandarin trees. Malcolm, the mandarin snob, will only ever eat imperial mandarins, so it was fortunate that that was what the farm had for harvest! The farm charged $10 per bucket of mandarins and you were allowed to eat 2 each whilst picking. We estimated that we got around 5-6kg of mandarins in our bucket (not counting the ones that we ate at the orchard!) so it was good value.

Watkins Family Farm

The children had a ball picking mandarin. Looking for trees that still had ripe mandarins low down enough for them to pick gave them great satisfaction. It was still fortunate that we had at least one tall person in the family who was able to reach for the fruit on the higher branches! The farm also provided mushroom picking at $5 per bag. There were many families who brought food to have a picnic at the farm. The farm had simple plastic tables and chairs for this purpose. I would recommend coming here early as it was already packed by the time we left at 1130am.

Why are all the good ones so high up? 

Yay for someone tall

That bench is even better!

Bucket full. Let's go!

Stopping this menace from continuously chomping on the mandarins was a challenge

Time to pick some mushrooms


Elliot's lone giant mushroom amongst the rest

We chose to lunch at nearby Wiseman's Ferry, a small town right on the Hawkesbury River and headed home via Dural.

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