A saturday morning in autumn, I headed to the produce rich Southern Highlands. There is something alluring about the Southern Highlands in autumn. Itís an invigorating combination of country air with crispy leaves changing into colours of claret and cornflake gold that fills the senses. Head down the famous Hume Highway, look out for the bright red apple suspended in the air, and you have reached Tennessee Orchard. Located at Yerrinbool, a 1hour and 15 minute journey from Sydney.
Beautiful Autumn leaves
Welcome to Tennessee Orchard
Offering seasonal produce to the public, Tennessee Orchard is famously known for their succulent range of apples. One of their most unique varieties is the Winesap, only available during the ANZAC Day long weekend. This was one of my main reasons for visiting and stocking up.
Winesaps by the box load
Tennessee Orchard is one of the featured fresh producers of the Wollondilly area, part of the New South Wales Farm Gate tour guides.
Inside a big silver shed lies a cornucopia of fresh fruit and vegetables - both from the orchard and locally sourced. The orchard also grows kale and celeriac, which is currently in season.
Inside the shed
The spacious shed operates both as a shop front and as an operations facility for the sorting of the apples. Rustic machinery and conveyer belts adds to the authenticity of the experience.
Machinery used to sort the apples
Packed boxes of apples ready for sale
Some of the fresh produce available during my visit included leafy iceberg lettuces; purple rich eggplants, and radiant capsicums. Leeks and silver beet were also in abundance.
Celeriac grown at the orchard
Bright and fresh capsicums
I bought a box of the winesap apples, which are of a mammoth size and quiet tart in flavour. There is something encouraging about buying an apple which isnít shiny with chemicals or perfect in appearance.
Grannie Smith's - crisp and tarty
In addition to the fresh produce, there is a wealth of fresh jams, conserves and preserved fruit for sale - all produced locally.
Jams from the local area
Free-range eggs, honey and freshly squeezed apple juice is also available for purchase.
Apple juice and free-range eggs
Depending on supply and demand, the orchard is open from late february through to August. Within this season different varieties will be available.
Boxes of fresh apples vary in pricing as there are a variety of sizes
In Late February / Early March, Red Braeburn, Imperial Gala and Red Delicious apples are in peak season. Early April is the best time for Red Fuji, and late April to mid May will see an abundance of Pink Lady, Sundowner and Granny Smith apples available.
It is well worth the trek down south for some farm fresh produce, fresh air and country charm.
Stocking up on fresh produce
Where: 184 Old Hume Highway Yerrinbool NSW.
Why: Farm fresh produce, and a great range of traditional apple varieties.
Cost: Produce is reasonably priced.
When: Open Fridays and Saturdays from 9am to 4 pm (mid Feb - mid Aug).
Good for kids: Great for kids, they can see produce grown on the surrounding apple orchards, and they can stretch their weary legs from all that travelling.
Take away: Everything!