Guy’s guide to local fruit

 

For details of the local fruit farmers, see the relevant part of the Local Food Directory.

As someone who likes to think of themselves as a serious home grower, I grow a lot of fruit1 and I use Louis Glowinski’s book to guide me2. So, from early November (loquats) to early April (apples), there will always be some fruit from my garden to eat. So why would I (or you) ever buy fruit? Here are a few reasons:

  • Longer season: partly because they grow more varieties, and partly because they have cool rooms, some commercial growers have much longer seasons than home growers. For example, Apteds sell apples from February to November whereas my apples are only available from February to April.
  • No gaps within the season: for example, The Cherry Boys sell their cherries from mid-November to mid-January whereas mine are only at their best in a particular week in early December.
  • Greater range: fruit trees take space so it is unlikely that you will be growing a full range.
  • Yumminess: let’s face it, your strawberries are unlikely to be anywhere near as nice as Spirli’s.

There are around 10 fruit farmers in the local area and, collectively, they grow a full range of fruit. I have eaten the fruit from most of these farmers and in each case it was delicious. Most, however, specialise in growing one or two fruit, with only 2 farms (Just Picked and Kookaberry Strawberry Farm) growing a wide range. The table below summarises (click on any of the farmers’ names for more detail).

Just Picked Kookaberry Strawberry Farm Other
Apples Yes Apteds
Petty’s Orchard
Apricots Yes
Blackberries Yes Yes Kinglake Vegetables
Blueberries Kinglake Vegetables
Stanbach Blueberries
Boysenberries Yes Yes
Cherries The Cherry Boys
Figs Yes Yes The Cherry Boys
Kiwifruit Kinglake Vegetables
Lemons Weeping Grevillea Nursery
Limes Weeping Grevillea Nursery
Loganberries Yes
Mulberries Yes
Nectarines/peaches Yes
Pears Yes Apteds
Persimmon Yes
Raspberries Yes Yes Kinglake Vegetables
Strawberries Yes Benny’s Berries
Spirli Strawberries
Yarra Valley Gateway Estate

The net result is that, whilst each of these farms has particular outlets where its produce can be purchased, there are only a few places where a wide variety of local fruit can be obtained:

Here is a table from Just Picked setting out what is available when (see our fruit tree fruiting schedule for a more comprehensive list):

Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug
Blackberries
Boysenberries
Raspberries
Apricots
Peaches
Blueberries
Plums
Apples
Pears
Figs

Finally, if you live in Darebin and have some fruit trees, have a look at the Darebin Fruit Squad website.

Footnotes

1. Apple, apricot, blackberry, blackcurrant, blueberry, boysenberry, cape gooseberry, cherry, cherry guava, custard apple, gooseberry, grape, grapefruit, kiwifruit, lemon, lime, loquat, marionberry, nectarine, olive, orange, passionfruit, plum, pomegranate, raspberry, redcurrant, strawberry, tayberry and youngberry.

2. The Complete Book of Fruit Growing in Australia, Louis Glowinski, available from most bookshops.

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