It’s amazing that you can drive 30 minutes on the Eastern Freeway and you go from dense high rise buildings to bucolic semi-rural vistas.
In amongst some enormous acreage residences is Petty’s Orchard. It’s a working organic apple orchard and it’s been around since the turn of last century when the Petty family worked the Homestead Road land. Apparently Doncaster and Templestowe used to be covered in orchards and Petty’s Orchard is now maintained by the Heritage Fruit Society in an effort to conserve heritage apple varieties.
Petty’s Orchard grows 217 varieties of organic heritage apples and the site includes an antique apple orchard, commercial orchard, wetlands and bird hide. For visitors there is a spacious Yarra Organics shop with organic and locally grown produce and a variety of organic grocery products, drinks, treats and dairy products.
After you do your shopping you can also enjoy breakfast and lunch at the shaded cafe verandah, which is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
They serve Jasper organic coffee (with organic milk and sugar), Bocastle gourmet pies and rolls plus tarts, cakes and baked goods made by the local cake lady.
This cake lady is very talented as my silverbeet, leek and roasted cherry tomato tart was fresh and wholesome with a decadent buttery shortcrust pastry – for a bargain price of $6.50.
Make sure you make room for dessert. This massive apple pie stuffed with chunky apples (from the orchard presumably) set me back a mere $4.80. I didn’t think you could still get a slice of cafe cake for under $5 in Melbourne any more, let alone enough pie to serve two!
Petty’s Orchard is particularly family friendly if you’re visiting with kids as outside there’s a playground and plenty of grass for running around and inside the shop is a small indoor play area as well with books and toys galore. You can also visit parts of the orchard on foot and spot birdlife and wildlife (we counted several hopping bunnies).
Petty’s Orchard is a hidden gem for foodies, gardeners and families and it’s only 30 minutes drive from the CBD. If you’re planning a visit the Heritage Fruit Society run a series of events at Petty’s Orchard throughout the year, including antique apple tastings every second Sunday, with the first being this Sunday 9 February. For more information click here. In Spring (October) there’s even a Blossom Festival at the orchard.