There are three farms where you can pick your own mandarins, all about an hours drive from Parramatta. Here are our pros and cons for each to help you make a decision about which one is best suited to visit with your family. Though all offer a fun day out.
Keep in mind that mandarins roughly grow on a two year cycle, with an on year (bumper crop, large fruit) and off year (smaller crop and fruit). Plus, the lack of rain has affected the crop this year.
Anderson Farm (OPEN until about October 2018)
- Pro’s: large orange and mandarin orchard, can get there by car ferry, open 6 days a week (closed Friday), picnic areas, toilet block, views of Hawkesbury River, cows to feed.
- Con’s: entry fee for each adult, toilets only in two out of three sections of the farm, pick/ pay by the bucket.
Watkins Farm (OPEN until about October)
- Pro’s: not as far along the narrow Singleton Road; large orchard; large picnic area; sheep and chickens near the picnic area; large car park; pay/pick your own mandarins by the bucket upfront so no queues when you have finished picking; lots of port-a-loos; honey and eggs for sale; there are two sections to the farm and the riverside orchard is nice and quiet and in full sun; cheapest cumquats by the kilo ($6).
- Con’s: you pick by the bucket rather than by the kilo; the main orchard gets lots of shade from the surrounding hills in the morning; mostly just imperial mandarins to pick; only open weekends.
Ford’s Farm (CLOSED re-opens 14th July 2018)
- Pro’s: cheapest mandarins by the kilo; you pay/ pick by the kilo; cakes, coffee, jams and handmade gifts for sale; sheep to feed; seedless satsumas available to pick; large parking area with attendants.
- Con’s: furthest away; Singleton Road between Watkins Farm and Ford’s Farm is very narrow in parts; small picnic area; only a few port-a-loos; just open weekends; mandarin season only lasts about 6 weeks.