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|
Kinglake West Blueberries
|Cherries||The Cherry Boys|
|Figs||Yes||Yes||The Cherry Boys|
|Lemons||Weeping Grevillea Nursery|
|Limes||Weeping Grevillea Nursery|
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:
- Just Picked farm gate: from December to August, Saturdays, Sunday and public holidays.
- Eltham Farmers’ Market: Apteds, Just Picked, Kinglake West Blueberries and Spirli Strawberries.
- Other Farmers’ Markets: Bundoora for Just Picked; Hurstbridge and Yarra Valley for Kookaberry Strawberry Farm.
Finally, if you live in Darebin and have some fruit trees, have a look at the the Darebin Fruit Squad Facebook page.
1. Apple, apricot, banana, blackberry, blackcurrant, blueberry, boysenberry, cape gooseberry, cherimoya, cherry, cherry guava, custard apple, feijoa, gooseberry, grape, grapefruit, jabotica, kiwifruit, lemon, lime, loquat, marionberry, midyam berry, mulberry, 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.