It all started last season when a number of greengrocers posed the question of an opportunity to visit a stone fruit orchard. Of course, we thought it was an excellent idea, and it was doable. So we approached the growers and voilà, the event was ready for planning.
Forty eager greengrocers from around South East Queensland including Ashgrove Fresh Fruit Market, All About Fruit, Carina and Chandler Megafresh, Earth Markets, Feast On Fruit and Delicatessen, Fruity Capers, Harvest Markets Booval, Helensvale/Harbour Town/Waterford Discount Fruit Barn, Yuens’ Farmers Market, Indooroopilly Fruit, Naturally Fruit, Bellas Fruit Market and Rochedale Markets, The Standard Market Company, Top Spot Fruit Mart and Westridge Fruit and Vegetable attended. Guests stayed at the rustic country style Granite Belt Brewery where they boarded a chartered bus ready for the tour of the Traprock Region, West of Stanthorpe.
The first stop was Rosemary Hill Orchard, owned by the Ferrier family. The family also owns Hillgrove Orchard. Angus was delighted to talk about the farm history. The family orchards boast around 24,800 stone fruit trees including white and yellow peaches, nectarines and plums. Everyone was keen to learn about the growth and development of a fruit tree. Guests sneaked in a few happy snaps amidst the colourful fruit trees.
Next stop was Top Lawson at Pikes Creek Orchard, the highest point where the view is absolutely breathtaking. The Finlay family own this beautiful 20-hectare fruit orchard. Brother Graham explained how the irrigation system works and the various varieties grown. Excited guests boarded the buses and headed over to the last stop at Traprock Orchard. The Pratt family are owners of this scenic orchard growing over 21,200 amazing stone fruit trees. John gave a short tour of the yellow peach orchards.
After the tour everyone was ready for some lunch. McGregor Terrace Food Project owner and Chef Ben presented a delightful cooking demonstration with the growers Honey May yellow nectarine. It followed with a tantalizing lamb spit roast accompanied by refreshing Spring salads all made with locally grown fresh produce and some of which were freshly picked from Ben’s vegetable garden. Everyone was pleasantly surprised.
Local viticulturist and winemaker Mike Hayes showcased the award-winning Symphony Hill wines offering a taste test for everyone. Mike also makes the wine for the Ferrier family’s Rosemary Hill Orchard vineyard on the family orchard. This refreshing wine accompanied the meal and the music set the mood with Martha Baartz playing the alto-sax with legendary Sinatra and Martin tunes entertaining everyone.
We are overwhelmed with the wonderful support from those who made this event possible and we thank the growers, Montague Fresh Qld and Southern Queensland Country Tourism. The greengrocers were grateful for this new experience and are able to pass on this new knowledge to their teams and customers. They enjoyed it so much they would like it to be turned into an annual event.