When it comes to summer, nothing quite beats that moment when big boxes of red cherries start to appear in the fruit aisles of the supermarket. Once a year, nature treats us to these sweet red ruby gems and we suggest you make the most of their short availability.
Some of the best cherries around can be found at Red Hill Cherry Farm. As the oldest pick-your-own cherry farm in Victoria (dating back to the 1940s) owner Trevor Holmes and his team know all there is when it comes to the perfect cherry.
Back in 1969, cherry prices dropped to an all time low. Trevor Holmes’ father decided the prices were so abysmal that the price they would get for them at the Melbourne market was not worth the cost of picking the cherries. Trevor and his sister painted a ‘Pick Your Own Cherries’ sign and placed it at the base of the property. They sold out of cherries the following weekend and thus Victoria’s first pick-your-own cherry farm was born.
Open for picking until mid January, this family owned and operated farm in a secluded valley in Red Hill offers orchard upon orchard of ripe cherries ready for you to pick and take home.
With stunning views of the Mornington Peninsula on a warm summer day, a trip here is a unique and relaxing experience.
Once you have picked your cherries, the next question is what to do with them. If you manage not to finish them on the car ride home, we have a delicious Christmas meringue recipe starring the festive red fruit from Spoonful’s head chef and owner Melly Beilby for you to make.
Having owned and cooked at the High Street cafe for nearly thirteen years, Beilby has uncovered a few tricks to perfect the infamously moody meringue. Her Christmas Wreath Meringue is a sell-out every year.
Here is the recipe.
Spoonful’s Christmas Wreath Meringue
300g egg whites
300g caster sugar
300g pure icing sugar
45g corn flour
500ml whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup caster sugar
1 small punnet of strawberries
1 small punnet of cherries
½ small punnet of red currants
icing sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 120°C and line a flat baking tin with grease proof paper. Trace a circle of a 20cm round tin onto the paper.
- Whip egg whites and gradually add the casting sugar until stiff peaks form.
- Sift icing sugar and cornflour into mixture and fold in.
- Spoon the meringue mixture onto the grease proof paper, making sure to stay in the lines of the traced circle and leaving the centre hollow to create a wreath-like shape.
- Place in oven and bake for one hour, then turn off oven and leave meringue to cool inside (this is the real secret to a standing meringue).
- Whip cream together gradually, adding the caster sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.
- Once meringue is cool, take out of oven and carefully transfer to your serving platter. Generously spoon whipped cream on top of it and decorate with the ripe red fruits to your preference and finally dust with icing sugar for a snow-like effect.
Red Hill Cherry Farm
61–69 Prossors Lane, Red Hill
Mon to Fri 10am–4pm
Sat & Sun 9am–4pm
(until mid January)
(03) 5989 2237
Mon to Sat 7.30am–4.30pm
(03) 9521 5212