Real men also pick berries! A very small drive (20 minutes) from the Hobart CBD, lies Coal River Farm. Fruit of the vine, or canes and trees lie in wait.
Fruit picking is something our merry band seems to have taken up recently. We make sure we’re available to mount a small cavalcade out to nearby farms in summer and dive into plucking fruit with a vengeance.
Raspberry season comes in at the end of the cherries, and this year, raspberries it is! The beautiful Coal River Valley hosts vineyards and orchards aplenty along the Richmond Road. A recent houseguest from Melbourne couldn’t believe that we had this abundance so close to town. Of course! This is Tassie!
And Coal River Farm is gorgeous. The building’s designed around shipping container shapes, and perches with angles and views that are breathtaking. We see Daniel, the owner, often at the Farmgate Market, selling his cheeses and here he is, taking orders at the café and directing eager visitors to the best picking areas.
A word of warning: the varieties that are here are prickly mothers! So we sail past the window at the chocolate factory, grab our containers and head to the rows and rows of fruit. Or canes as it was, more to the point last week.
By this time, the raspberries have been pretty picked over, but we still managed to find about 10 kg between us, some Sylvan berries, and I spied a host of untouched red currants. Bonanza! I love these little suckers, for jam, coulis, tarts, friands, whatever, and happily stripped a couple of rows.
Bronek, our sauerkraut and pickling guru, is the most devoted. He leaves no bush untouched, and then moves on into the apricots and stone fruit that are really starting to come into season.
We crash early, several spikes and a spider got the better of me, and I soothe the soul with the best scones I’ve had in years. They look like small square bricks, but have a fantastic consistency, are fresh and crusty, and served with house made strawberry coulis and caramel as well as the usual cream. They get thumbs up all round. $12? Bargain.
We watch very elegant food being carried out to other tables, and vow to come back just for a leisurely lunch. Daniel and his young family manage a big business. Apart from the picking, cheese and chocolate making ventures, and the orchards and the café, they are rearing some livestock (we saw some very tame goats), and have a boutique vineyard. Whoah! That’s some heavy duty work.
Happy with our buckets of berries, which at $15 a kilo isn’t cheap, but I guess the footprint of endless visitors comes at a cost. And we had a terrific morning out in the fresh air, kids happy, and proudly compared a few war wounds from some extra sharp thorns.
Tim, the cheese maker has promised me I can shoot him making cheese soon, so keep a look out for our post on behind the vats in his cheese world. Have you picked berries yet, dear reader? It’s worth the spikes, trust me.