Millions of peaches, peaches for me
Millions of peaches, peaches for free!
Ok, so they’re not exactly free but they were for me! I’ve been wanting to go fruit picking for a long time, so the summer break seemed to be the perfect time to do it since my favourite stonefruit, peaches, were in season. We looked up some fruit picking places on the interwebs and the ones in Bilpin seemed to be the closest to us, so Sir D and I road tripped it out one sunny weekend.
The drive took us about an hour and 15 minutes (via M2 and M7) and by the time we got there, we were feeling peckish. On the way to the orchards, we stopped by this Pie in the Sky roadhouse on Bells Line of Road. I’m not sure if it’s affiliated with Pie in the Sky in Cowan but it was a similar set up. You can park your car pretty much anywhere around the little shed that houses the pie shop and head in to select your pies and drinks from the counter.
There’s a selection of savoury pies that are mainly chicken- or beef-based, and they’re all made in-house. We chose a steak and mushroom pie from the warmer which had a delicious flaky, buttery puff pastry on top and a thick gravy with tender beef cubes inside.We only got one savoury pie as we knew we also wanted an apple pie with ice cream for dessert! They also have apple and rhubarb and some locally made fudge available for a sweet treat, but we stuck with the good ol’ classic apple pie. The apples were cooked just right so they didn’t turn into mush, and the extra sprinkling of sugar on the top of the pie made it just a little bit sweeter.
We headed back onto Bells Line of Road to get to Pine Crest Orchard, where we would be doing our peach picking. The orchard is a bit hard to spot but there is a small road sign off the main road that points towards the orchard and it is just behind Bilpin School.
There’s no entry fee to visit Pine Crest Orchards, so even if you don’t want to pick fruit you can go in for a stroll or a picnic on the grounds. The type of fruit available for picking depends on the season, but the friendly staff there will tell you all you need to know. It was peach and plum season when we went, and we were told that there would be signs along the path that indicated which rows of trees had fruit that was ripe for the picking, and the best way to navigate through the orchard to the right sections.
We were given a bucket (which we were told holds about 5kg of peaches!) and we were on our way. We passed some fruit-bearing apple trees and pear trees which weren’t quite ready when we visited, but we followed the signs and made our way to the peach trees.
There were several rows of trees that we were able to pick fruit from, and from there it was a challenge to find the best, ripest fruit that was within reach! The fact that Sir D and I are short didn’t help the situation, since the best peaches were up in the high branches of the tree. We weren’t allowed to climb the trees, so we ended up trying a few different ways of getting to the fruit (protip: a stick doesn’t help – even if you’re able to get the fruit off the branch, it will likely hit several branches on the way down and fall to the ground…)
We were able to reach up and get some of the good ones but it’s always good to have a look around the whole fruit before trying to grab it to make sure it’s not blemished or starting to become overripe on the branch.
We returned back to base with a bucket full of peaches (and a few plums as well). These were then tipped onto a scale and weighed, and you pay for the amount of fruit you pick at $3.50/kg. We were told that the stone fruit would take a few days to ripen fully so we waited a while before we got stuck in. In the end, we took home about 4kg of peaches home with us which we distributed to family. There’s something so satisfying about picking your own fruit to eat though, and I would definitely go back to do it all over again! There’s still a few peaches and plums left at Pine Crest Orchard and apple and pear season is starting as well, so there’s lots of different types of fruit available and it’s a good time to pay them a visit.
Pie in the Sky
1858 Bells Line Of Rd
Kurrajong Heights NSW 2758
Ph: (02) 4567 8921
Open 7 days, 9am to 6pm (9.30am to 6.30pm on Sundays)