A summer visit to Central Otago means summer stone fruit. And so the trip across from Queenstown, through the Gibbston Valley and Kawarau Gorge, to Cromwell. An extremely large fruit sculpture greets our arrival, and we know we're there. Time for roadside stall stops, and stone fruit splendour. Peaches, nectarines, plums, some cherries, some berries, and plenty of special Central Otago sunshine.
There's plenty of stone fruit choice at the roadside stalls from December through March each year. Pull in to see what's on offer. And the changes in the season show in the stalls. The fruit have their own micro-seasons. First the cherries, then the apricots, nectarines and peaches. Later come the plums. Yum.
For more on those apricots, from an earlier journal, click here.
Central's the place
Stone fruit grows best in areas of cool winters, and hot dry summers with plenty of sunshine hours and low humidity. And Central certainly provides this environment. Summer can be hot here.
Cromwell is known for its many fruit orchards surrounding the town. And the huge sculpture, presented to the town back in 1990, is a perfect introduction. Four large fruit, recently painted or ripened - apple, pear, peach and apricot - with the pear reaching nearly 8 metres above ground.
From the sculpture straight to the fruit…
Meet the orchardist
It’s quite a treat to stop at Moorpark & Mulberry. We were in luck, meeting Mike for a walk through the orchards. This sure is a place for a real and authentic experience. Mike's been involved, in some way, with the production of everything that he sells. The fruit, the veges, the honey from the orchard's bees, and the apple juice from his brother. Lots of good stories here.
Camper vans pull in, with visitors to this country, seeking the famous stone fruit for the travels. It’s a limited season, and limited opening hours. There’s so much other work to get done around the orchard. Think mowing, irrigating, planting, thinning, picking, sorting, selling, weeding, tree health, soil health, frost fighting, and pruning. All that work for us to enjoy that fantastic product.
Stone fruit treats
A stall visit is highly recommended. And there are plenty of roadside stalls to choose from along this highway. There’s nothing quite like standing in the hot sunshine, biting into a warm peach just picked from a nearby tree, the aroma of the fruit, and of course the juice dripping down your arm. A real summer memory.
And the treat continues, at the end of your day of travels. Don’t forget those summer ideas, apricot and soft cheese treats, and nectarine salads. Summer splendour indeed.