The farm is located near Wisemans Ferry and is just over an hour north of Parramatta. Driving along the Hawkesbury River, with water on one side and steep rock faces on the other, you do start to wonder if you are going the right way….surely there can’t be an orchard here. Well there is a lovely one tucked away in a valley. With the fresh country air and birds chirping, it is easy to feel a million miles away from the city.
This is our second year visiting the Watkins Family Farm to pick mandarins as a family. This year we went on opening weekend (20/21 May) and boy were the trees ladened with fruit!
Supposedly, they grow Imperial, Hickson and Emperor mandarins but I must say I didn’t notice different types nor can I tell which we picked. But they still taste delicious!
There are no entry fees, but all adults entering the orchard must have a bucket. The buckets come in two sizes – large for $12.50 and small for $7.50. Whichever you choose, you fill it with as many mandarins as you would like. I have found the large buckets hold about 4kgs of mandarins. You can also ‘hire’ scissors for $5, which is refunded when you return them, and they come in adult and kids sizes. We have found it works best to get the scissors as you are a lot less likely to damage the mandarins when picking them.
NOTE: no prams are allowed in the orchard.
Apart from eating the mandarins au naturel, we love making moorish mandarin cupcakes – using a recipe we adapted from Nigella Lawson for clementine cake.
You can also purchase honey and eggs from the farm shop. Unfortunately you can’t harvest mushrooms this year or buy mushroom growing bags.
There are sheep and chickens on the farm which is a kid pleaser. For a $1, you can get a bag of animal feed, though they were already rather full when my boys went to feed them at about 11:30am.
There is plenty of free on-site parking in a open field next to the orchard. It can get boggy after rain so take extra care. Walking over the little bridge to the farm, you will see the animals, picnic shelter and farm shop. There are port-a-loos and lots of grass to spread a picnic rug out on. You can bring a picnic lunch to enjoy here or head back to Wisemans Ferry for a bit to eat.
There is no power/electricity available at the farm so it is cash only. The nearest ATM is back at Wisemans Ferry at least a 15min drive away.
The farm gates opened for pick your own mandarins on 20th May 2017 and the season generally goes until October. The farm is open every Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm during the season. The last open day for 2017 is Sunday 29th October.
Places of Interest Nearby
- Fords Farm – another farm you can pick your own mandarins
- Wisemans Ferry Inn – review by Little Munch
- Wisemans Ferry Park
- Punt at Wisemans Ferry, which is free and you can travel on by foot or car.
Finding Watkins Family Farm
Head north along Old Northern Road until just before Wisemans Ferry, where you turn right and travel along Singleton Road for about 10kms.
Other Pick Your Own Farms
- Schofields Orange Orchard – oranges from May to October in North Richmond (CLOSED for 2017).
- Anderson Farm – mandarins from May to October and oranges from June to December.
- Fords Family Farm – mandarins from May until June and then cumquats from the last weekend of July in Wisemans Ferry.
- Bilpin Fruit Bowl – apples in April and May.