9 YEARS AGO, ROSS AND TARA CHEESEWRIGHT AND THEIR TWO CHILDREN, EXPLORED THE LOCAL COUNTRYSIDE IN SEARCH OF A HOLIDAY HOUSE FOR AN ESCAPE FROM THE HUSTLE AND BUSTLE OF SUBURBAN-CITY LIFE AND A CHANCE TO BREATHE SOME FRESH COUNTRY AIR.
In their travels, they spotted an opportunity. Not so much a holiday house, but a complete life overhaul. No more suburban daily grind. Nestled on the Princes Freeway - in Bunyip sat a quaint apple orchard with a rich and warming history – and for the Cheesewright’s – it was an opportunity that beckoned. And a complete change of pace that has paid dividends. »
The apple orchard is fast becoming a popular destination, and is perfectly situated as a half-way stop off the freeway to grab a coffee, some locally sourced bakery treats and be greeted with a warm smile.
The couple, with no experience in the art of orchard cultivation, made the life-changing decision to buy the land, move in and learn the ropes as orchardists. Ross with his engineering background, and Tara with a fond interest in hospitality worked hard and put all their ‘apples’ in one basket – so to speak.
“It was a gutsy move,” says Tara, “moving from Oakleigh and a city job and having to learn the ins and outs of growing an apple orchard. It’s been hard work growing this business but at the end of the day, if you are passionate about what you do, it’s all worth it”.
The apple orchard is fast becoming a popular destination, and is perfectly situated as a half-way stop off the freeway to grab a coffee, some locally sourced bakery treats and be greeted with a warm smile. Specialising in apples from local growers, you can also purchase seasonal fruit, vegetables, jams, eggs and juices. The bakery reflects the couples’ local community spirit and showcases some of the most delectable locally made produce – from homemade muesli slices to the ever-popular jelly slice, the Cheesewright’s are passionate about supporting local business.
As for customer service, well you only have to read the reviews to know that you will leave this place with pure satisfaction. Customers come from all over town and Ross states these days they have 100 sales a day, every day. The moment you set foot in the café with a farmhouse feel, you are greeted with a smile. Ross and Tara are strong advocates that every customer is important, whether they are regulars or just stopping in by chance. Ross states “valuing every customer that comes in is so important to us.”
Now it would be remiss to not mention the pièce de résistance of Sherwood Park Orchard – the apples themselves. The most mouth-watering, flavour rich and succulent of apples that people dedicate a day of travel to stock up on. Families flocked from far and wide during the apple picking season this year between April and June. Nothing beats seeing the excitement on a child’s face when they take that first bite of a freshly picked apple. Cherries are also on the horizon and together with future renovations in place, this is a destination you want to put on your calendar to visit.
More than just an orchard - you won’t be disappointed
SHERWOOD PARK ORCHARD 3165 Princes Highway, Bunyip
Open: Mon – Fri: 6am – 5pm, Sat – Sun: 7:30am – 5pm
Phone 03 5629 5139 or visit www.sherwood-park.com.au
Image credit: Arline Figaro – Portrait and Family Photography
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