Last month, I was invited by the Victorian Cherry Association and Vikki Leng Enterprises to visit one of the many Victorian cherry orchards that us Melbournians are lucky enough to have (almost) on our doorstep.
Australians love cherries, especially at Christmas time. Our country produces about 15,000 tonnes of cherries every year, with the majority consumed by our domestic market, and it’s always good to eat what is home grown! Now you don’t have to be a dietitian to know that cherries are one of nature’s true natural born superfoods, as they are a great source of fibre, potassium and vitamin C. In fact, one serve (150g) provides about 60% of your daily Vitamin C requirements. Now that’s what I call a great dose of nutrition goodness all in one bowl of red sweet delight!
But besides the obvious nutritional and taste benefits of these plants that produce fruit for a short season of about 100 days only, something else that really struck home for me when we visited the orchards, is the benefit of hands on and real life teaching when we can show our kids where their food comes from. And as a bonus a visit to the cherry orchards makes for a great school holiday activity.
So I rounded up about 5 groups of parents and kids, and armed with big buckets, loads of excitement and friendly competition as to who could pick the sweetest and biggest cherries, we spent a wonderful day at Cherry Hill Orchards. We filled our bellies until juice ran down our mouths, ate THE best cherry ice cream I have ever tasted, sampled cherry wine and cherry spritzers and the kids roamed endless fields, climbed tractors and most importantly we all had way too much fun.
The Victorian Cherry Trail has a listing of cherry farms open to the public in four cherry growing regions in Victoria: Upper Goulburn Valley, Yarra Valley & Ranges, Macedon Ranges and Mornington Peninsula. If you are looking for a fun-filled and delicious school holiday activity that entertains the kids and adults, this is it! Everyone will enjoy time in the orchards, see first hand how cherries are produced, meet the growers and delight in picking and tasting bright shiny cherries fresh from the trees. But be quick as the season only lasts for another few weeks!