A perfect day for a Peachy Picnic

ABOVE: Wayne and his daughter Peach at the picnic at Southview Orchard.

Bernice Shepherd

Mother Nature put on the most glorious spring day – perfect for Southview Orchard’s first Peachy Picnic on Sunday, October 30.

With tables, chairs, blankets and cushions set between the trees, live music by the Trademutts, ice cream, coffee and a delicious spread of local produce, the guests were in for a real treat.

Hosts John and Frieda de Kleuver bought the Hogarth Range stone fruit orchard seven years ago. Frieda said that when they arrived, they did as the previous owners did and sold to the big markets in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Peach farmers John and Frieda de Kleuver.

But they soon realised they didn’t like picking the fruit early and sending not quite ripe produce to a market where look rather than taste was the priority.

Three years ago they decided they would only supply the local market with fruit picked when ripe and ready to eat, and they now spend eight busy weeks of harvest season doing all the farmers markets in the Northern Rivers.

The rewards have been a source of pride and pleasure for them, “We’ll get kids who come and buy one or two nectarines then come back later to say it was the best nectarine they’ve ever eaten,” Frieda said.

As for the adults, Frieda says many of them who have grown their own or remember the peaches of old will say, “This is how peaches are supposed to taste.”

The couple take pride in producing quality, flavoursome fruit and every year for the past six years have put their Peach Festival on in the middle of harvest.

“People love to come and pick their own, especially the kids.”

After a challenging year because of the wet weather and losing much of the crop to splitting and falling, they decided to do something a little different.

Says Frieda, “Whenever I work at the orchard during the day I sit under a tree for lunch and I love doing that – it is so peaceful. And I thought, why not offer a lunch under the trees?” And so the Peachy Picnic was born.

Not ones to waste good fruit that might not be saleworthy, they made a peach chutney exclusively for the Peachy Picnic. Also on the menu were pastries from Bonalbo’s Powicks Pantry, cheeses from Nimbin Valley Cheese, Mongogarie Olives, kabana from Smith’s Butchery, with macadamias and loquat chutney from producers in the Hogarth Range.

Coffee and ice cream were available courtesy of Luke and Christine’s Coffee Van.

With beautifully decorated tables and platters loaded with a feast of delicious food,

the happy guests enjoyed the luxury of a slap-up lunch among the trees. What better way to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon?

With the first Peachy Picnic a great success, John and Frieda are turning their minds to next year. Frieda says “Maybe we’ll do it in early spring next year, at blossom time when it is so beautiful…”

The Trademutts from Bonalbo perform at the picnic.

In the meantime, if you want to sample some of this wonderful local produce, check out the farmers market in your area:

Casino Saturday morning

Kyogle Saturday morning

Evans Head Friday morning

Photos: Contributed

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