Today I took a leaf out of the book of my gorgeous and healthy cousin-in-law K (check out her Instagram @thesoulnutrition) and headed up to Bilpin to do some apple picking.
The road we took was an interesting contrast in circumstances, with huge beautiful houses, with perfectly manicured gardens and circular driveways, up against modest brick homes and sandwiched in between were dwellings which could only be described as weatherboard shacks. There were a lot of houses but very far apart and there was plenty of wide open space.
Driving up the winding mountain road we saw the most motor bike riders I’ve ever seen, some well restored vintage cars and about 20 of those small Mazda sports cars, whizzing up the mountain one after the other. It was slightly surreal.
We stopped at the first farm we came to which had a cafe and a fruit and vegetable shop attached. Sitting in a large cabinet were fresh, home made apple pies which looked mouth wateringly good. They were $9.50 so I abstained, deciding instead that the kids and I would make one for ourselves.
I had done a bit of research before heading out. Most of the farms seemed to charge a small entrance fee, some were free to enter, all had produce you could pick and pay for by weight.
We approached the people sitting at the entrance where we were told where to go and charged $7.50 for the privilege of entering. A price list announced that pink lady apples were a whopping $10 per kilo and even though I know that people need to make a living. This seemed a bit steep. I declined to point this out however, after I noticed the long list of RULES!!!! situated right next to the price sign which sternly announced that failure to adhere would result in being “ASKED TO LEAVE IMMEDIATELY!!!”
Heading out amongst the trees, Ms11 was very excited about picking her own apples, whereas Ms14 was still talking about the boy on a bmx we had seen riding along the road, musing that she and he were meant to be. Ms11 and I rolled our eyes and moved down to start picking. My city born and bred kids were slightly taken aback when the apples weren’t perfect and Ms14 gagged dramatically at the smell of fermenting apples which hit us as we wandered through the carpet of rotting fruit which littered the ground under the trees.
I turned just in time to stop Ms14 flicking apples into her bag with nary a thought for the steep price tag and then soon we had enough and headed back to pay. Just then, a boy drove up on a small tracker and offloaded a veritable mountain of kale, a huge bunch of which was secured by me for a reasonable $5.
We headed off to the the opposite side of the farm for our veggies next. This is where Ms11 had the best time. She wandered up and down the aisles, fossicking through the growth for the fresh capsicum she was craving. She found two and then she found two cucumbers and we grabbed some tomatoes and then we were done.
The weather was perfect, sun streaming down. It was an easy walk amongst the produce and although it was a bit on the expensive side, it was so nice to be out spending time together and picking things that we could take home and eat.
The attached cafe was a little slap dash to say the least. Three very young people were taking orders and not coping terribly well which was a bit frustrating. Even more so when I ordered a coffee only to be told that they were out of the skim milk that I was going to be charged an extra 50 cents for. Can I just say that I think it’s a major con to charge extra for milk which costs no more to purchase (sorry, that’s my rant for today).
Anyway, I can highly recommend a drive through the boonies and up Bells Line of Road to Bilpin and the farms dotted along the sides of the road. There were lots of families with children both small and big and young couples and tourists which made for a really nice feel. I am keen to get an idea of what the other orchards might be like and will definitely be taking another trip up there sometime soon.
We came home and I had a green smoothie with the freshly picked kale and it tasted amazing! I don’t think I’ll be able to get that supermarket kale again, the difference is amazing. I chopped up the capsicum and threw it into the spag bol I had left simmering in the slow cooker and the apples are waiting to be either put into an apple pie (not likely) or eaten (most likely).
I feel like I won a bit at Sunday today. How about you? What did you get up to?