Yarra Valley cherries and u pick is booming right now
The time is cherry ripe to take a trip to the Yarra Valley – the summer U-pick season is well underway! And with farm-fresh cherries much tastier and bigger than anything you’ll find in a supermarket, it’s best to head straight to the source to get your fruit fix.
Follow the Yarra Valley’s U-pick trail to visit the area’s top spots, but get in quick – peak time is in the lead-up to Christmas and the season runs until mid-January.
Blue Hills Berries and Cherries
The “silly season” is also known as the “busy berry and cherry season” at Blue Hills Berries and Cherries, as visitors flock to the U-pick experience.
You can take in picturesque views while picking cherries at the Chapman Rd farm, or let them do the work for you and stop off to grab some freshly-picked fruit instead.
U-pick entry fees are $12 adults and $6 for children aged 3-14, and includes all-you-can-eat cherries in the orchard, plus a picking demonstration. Cherries are $12/kg and weighted upon exit.
Opening hours: Open 7 days until early January, 9am-5pm, excluding Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, and restricted hours on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. U-Pick entry closes at 4pm to allow enough time for picking.
Visit Cherryhill Orchards for the U-pick experience, but stay for their famous cherry ice cream, drinks (spritzer, shiraz wine, beer and cider) and even cocktails! Think Bellinis, mojitos and Pimms with a cherry twist.
Cherryhill’s 75-year history of fruit-growing shines through its quality products, and you can pick your own cherries in the 90-acre orchard, with a shuttle bus used to ferry people to the best picking spots.
Entry is $35 for a family ticket of two adults and two children, or adults (aged 14 and over) are $15 each. Children aged 4-13 are free during the week, and $6 on weekends and public holidays. Tickets (which can be booked online) include all-you-can-eat cherries, and samples of the selected product range. Cherries are $12/kg to take away.
And for a unique experience, there’s an outdoor cinema in the orchard. Every Friday night in December there’s a different Christmas movie, and you can bring a picnic, enjoy some cherry ice cream and settle in for a film.
Opening hours: 9am-5pm every day except some days over Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Which cherries do you prefer – sweet or sour? You can pick both at Chappies!
Grab a bucket, or bring your own, and scour the 50-acre orchard for your pick of the best bites. Mark and Steve Chapman have been operating their own U-pick berries business since 1970 when their father Gordon introduced the concept to Australia.
U-pick entry is $11 for adults and $5 for primary school-aged children, with cherries $11/kg to buy.
Sour cherries will be available from late December.
Opening hours: 8.30am-5.30pm every day except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, with U-pick tickets available until 4pm each day to allow time for picking.
Yarra Valley Cherries
While you can’t pick your own fruit at Yarra Valley Cherries, their 40 varieties span the entire cherry season and can be picked up at their farm gate in 1kg, 2kg and 5kg boxes. They grow, pick, grade and pack their own cherries, ensuring freshness. You know you’re getting the best of the fruit because their state-of-the-art grading machine takes 30 photos of each cherry to separate any damaged product, and sophisticated drone technology is used to protect the trees from birds. They also make 100 per cent cold-pressed cherry juice, and cherry wood chips that can be used to smoke meat.
Opening hours: 8.30am-5pm until December 23.