May 17, 2013

Mandarin Picking

Earlier this week my Mum and I took the girls Mandarin picking.  There are very few pick your own orchards left in Auckland.  We enjoy Apple Picking every now and then but they are now only opened weekends for pick your own so I jumped at the chance to visit the Mandarin farm.

The mandarin farm, which doesn't have a name as far as we could tell, is located at 41 Riverlea Road, Whenuapai.  It's located down a long gravel driveway, inland from the Whenuapai Airbase.  It's not tricky to find but you'll need a map to navigate the rural roads.

The gravel driveway to number 41 is not located between numbers 39 and 43 where you would expect it.  It's actually located further up the road somewhere in the 20's.  There is a small mandarin stand on the left of the driveway.

Once you've found the driveway it's not really clear where to go from there.  Follow the signs written in Korean.  Park in front of the garage of the house on the left.  If you reach the barn at the end of the driveway you've gone too far.  Does that make sense?  From there, walk past the garage and up on to the deck at the back of the house where you will find buckets and secateurs.  Go through the archway at the back of the section to start picking amongst their 896 trees.

The picking season is from May to July.  The farm is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10.00am to 6.00pm but please call 09 416 1245 before heading out to make sure they are open.

Picking is cash only.  The Mandarins are only $2 per kilo!  Bargain!  They are at least $4 - $5 per kilo in the supermarkets this month.  A heaped bucket full will cost you around $12.

The trees are absolutely laden at the moment.  There is still some large fruit to be had but most is small to medium-ish in size.  But as we found, the smallest fruit is the sweetest.  Maddy must have eaten her weight in Mandarins.

It wasn't until we were almost there that I wondered what kind of Mandarins they might be.  I still don't know what variety they were but they were sweet, easy peel and seedless.  They also use minimal pesticides and chemicals.  Perfect :)

Madeline had an absolute ball.  There was plenty of room to run around, daisies to pick, chickens to chase and songs to sing with her Nana (as well as pick and eat Mandarins).

Maddy was thrilled to show Maisie what a Mandarin was - Maisie didn't look even slightly interested as she chewed on her doll.

There were heaps of gorgeous places for photos including this firewood pile.  It would be a gorgeous place for an outdoor autumn birthday party - hhhmmm... mental note.

Here is our harvest - this was only $5.

We had a brilliant morning.  The man weighing the fruit at the end mentioned that the farm had been sold and he wasn't sure if the new owners were going to continue opening for pick your own so I recommend going out this season just in case.

Enjoy xxx

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