For many people world-wide, their only experience in tasting fresh seasonal summerfruit is to purchase it from the nearest supermarket or green-grocer, often in a plastic punnet. To pick fruit straight from the tree is a true privilege and one that is possible every summer right here in Central Otago. This is the best way to experience the true flavour of fruit that is tree ripened to perfection and warmed by the sun.
As early as 1864 fruit trees were planted in Central Otago. Horticulture remains a mainstay of this region’s economy producing premium quality fruit full of intense flavours that are widely regarded as among the best in the world. Each new season is a moment of anticipation with Central Otago cherries the first summer fruit to be ready to harvest.
There are a number of orchards around the key fruit growing locations of Roxburgh and Cromwell that offer a tour or a Pick Your Own fruit experience.
Jackson Orchards in Cromwell is a fifth generation orcharding family. They operate tours taking visitors into the heart of the spectacular avenues of trees and, when fruit is in season, the chance to pick and taste the difference of tree ripened produce.
Cheeki Cherries in Cromwell is one of the largest PYO Cherry orchards, with over 20 varieties of cherries that ripen throughout the season beginning in late November through until early February. On a hot summers day, the cool shade of the trees is a wonderful place to be. And there is plenty to keep the little ones amused with a picnic and play area also on site. If time doesn’t permit a pick your own visit, then look out for a road-side fruit stall or order direct online from an orchard to have fruit delivered to your door.