Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens is Central Victoria's only certified organic pick-your-own orchard
We are a family-run business that prides itself on growing healthy fruit that tastes good. The farm, nestled at the foot of Mt Alexander, is planted like an old fashioned “garden” (the early name for an orchard) with small plantings of more than 80 varieties.
The different varieties ripen over a 5-month season. This means there is something ripe and delicious from late November right through until around Easter, and pretty much the whole crop of summer fruit is eaten at peak condition, without the need for lengthy storage.
Allowing the crop to ripen properly on the tree and Harcourt’s famous granitic soil means our fruit is known for its rich, sweet flavour, like fruit used to taste! Freshness is guaranteed when you pick your own (during the cherry season), buy just-picked fruit from us at farmers markets or by mail order.
Pick Your Own Cherries - How it Works
During the pick your own cherry season (from mid-November until the end of December) most visitors to the farm prefer to pick the fruit themselves. You get the freshest possible fruit and as an added bonus, you get to taste the fruit as you go - it’s part of the experience. We do ask, however, that you use moderation (we do like to hear people whistle while they work!).
For cherry picking we supply buckets to pick into. As part of our commitment to sustainability we line the bucket with a biodegradable cornstarch bag, which once filled with cherries is lifted out and weighed. To save on bags, we encourage you to bring your own recycled plastic bag (supermarket bags are great for this purpose).
You need to bring shoes, hats, drinking water, sunscreen and insect repellent (the flies are friendly!). We recommend the “slip slop slap” approach to being outdoors – cover up, as it is easy to get burnt when you’re busy picking cherries. Long sleeved shirts are a good idea. Because our farm is in the Australian bushland, shoes are recommended, and snakes are a reality although mercifully rare. It’s a good idea to wear old clothes, because cherry juice has a habit of spreading.
An important part of the pick your own experience is learning how to look after the tree that feeds you! We give (and in fact insist upon) a short picking lesson for first timers, because it is in your interest as well as ours that the trees suffer no damage.
Allow about an hour for a satisfying visit, less if you’re in a hurry or just planning to buy from the farm shop, more if you’re in for a big haul for preserving, or to spread around the extended family. Many of our regular customers visit us during the cherry season as part of their weekly shopping trip!
Depends on fruit.