On the map the Hawkesbury Harvest Trail could seem like a wild goose chase. On the ground, it suddenly makes sense
The Hawkesbury Harvest is a food trail that brings together food producers in the Hawkesbury area, which is the huge swathe of land stretching from the edge of the Blue Mountains to Brooklyn in Sydney’s north-west.
The Hawkesbury was the original food bowl for Sydney’s struggling colony and today its produce is highly sought after. Some chefs have even purchased land so they can get access to the best and freshest produce for their city restaurants. You can get access too just by downloading the excellent app or grabbing a brochure from the tourist office and taking to the gentle hills for a Sunday drive in Sydney’s semi-rural surrounds.
The trick is to focus on a particular area. Most people head to Bilpin, Australia’s apple country on the Bells Line of Road. Bilpin certainly is lovely and scattered with cute cafes (Sassafras, Apple Bar) and roadside stalls and farms where you can pick your own apples and stonefruit. However closer to Sydney, the Hawkesbury Riverlands in the Hawkesbury lowlands is well worth discovering.
At Canoelands (marvellous name, friendly people) the Christie family can send you out with a bucket for stonefruit, tomatoes, strawberries and figs. This spring they are also producing persimmon, eggplant and zucchini. They are nicely set up for families in school holidays and offer fun tractor rides. The farm has pigs, geese, horses and ducks and bees. For the foodies, it’s hard to resist Jaime’s range of infused honeys too – kaffir lime, I don’t mind if I do!
For another pick-your-own sanctuary head to Wisemans Ferry and drive to Watkins Family Farm. The bevy of goats and sheep form the welcome committee and the family will set you up with a $10 bucket and let you loose in the orchard to pick mandarins and lemons and Tahitian Lime in season. The Watkins family have owned this sweet and juicy patch of paradise since 1901 and they have done a good job opening it up to the public with good parking, fencing, picnic grounds and coffee.
So, what are you waiting for? Go! Pick!