Tanbella Orchard is the only pick-your-own orchard in Canberra. It's strangely situated opposite the (now international) airport - but not under a flight path so probably doesn't get much gunk dropped on it from above.
The orchard grows over 50 types of apple - some you recognise from the supermarket shelves - some like 'Bonza' are less identifiable. They hand you a map on the way in in order to find them (though not all are in fruit at the same time). They even have a couple of pear trees which are labelled as 'unkown' (someone somewhere must be able to categorise them!) but whose lack of provenance only serves to add to the excitement!
It was a lovely Easter Sunday so we headed there - the apple trees are all well trained and/or trellised and none of them too high - so perfect for A&E. You're also invited to taste whatever you like (I guess they figure people can't gorge themselves on apples in the same way you can with strawberries) and as a result it allows you to try apples and judge for yourself whether they suit your palette.
Eli went for Golden Delicious - a type of apple I often avoid in the supermarket as they're typically pulpy and tasteless. Tanbella's though were much crispier and sweeter than ones I'd tasted before. Audrey like me preferred a more tangy/tarty and 'heavier' fruit.
The kids got hooked on picking and trying different styles and as a result our two (nearly full) buckets cost me $25 - something which I'd have baulked at spending on apples in a single supermarket trip. They were begging to stay when I called a halt to their harvest!
In truth though the apples will keep well in the fridge and those we ate that day (we ate a lot both during and after our visit) were eaten with such satisfaction in the knowledge that they were both freshly picked and came without little fiddly stickers or wax coating that the outlay was more than worth it.
The orchard also has a lovely dog (Bowie) who we'd met before - akin to the pop icon the dog has mismatching eyes.
I think the place shuts up in May (when we'll start to be hit with Canberra's cold weather), but we'll be back again next season. I've always thought the orchard as one of Canberra's most underrated and unheralded attractions.
|buckets at the ready|
|Another one for the bucket|
|checking the map - where to go next!|