I was talking this week to John Mustafa from Petty’s Orchard in Templestowe about their season. With only the Lady Williams and persimmons to come John and his father, Sam, are coming to the end of picking now. John says it’s been a bit of a light year for apples but there have been plenty of beurre bosc pears, which you’ll see in many of our set boxes
this week as well as in the web store
. I’m eating one as I write this, sliced up with cheese, quince paste or an Easter egg they’re my favourite pear.Before John took over the farm I always loved spending time with his father Sam at his wholesale market stand. Sam’s semi-retired but he still helps out on the farm every week. With his smiling moon face, I feel like hugging him every time I see him. Sam came to Australia as a young man from Albania. His tales of growing up poor in rural Albania (he didn’t have proper shoes or pants until he was nine) and his early days in Victoria digging fields of potatoes by hand remind you of the life so many migrants experienced in the 50’s and 60’s. Sam eventually saved enough to buy his own stone fruit orchard in Kyabram. After raising his family he sold up and came to Melbourne to manage Petty’s in the early 2000’s and has been there ever since.
Petty’s is a hidden agricultural gem right in the city. And the beautiful thing about it is it’s totally accessible. Set in parkland on the Yarra River the orchard is open to the public and has one of Victoria’s largest collections of heritage apples. Petty’s operate a farm shop and organic café and if you time your visit right you’ll see kangaroos hopping down the tree rows. At the moment John has seven different heritage apples, pears, persimmons, and the last of his plums for sale. Pruning starts in May, blossoms are out in September and October and harvest goes from just before Christmas to April.You can find Petty’s at 1 Homestead Rd Templestowe Melways ref 22 A12 Open Thursday to Sunday 9-5.30pmRead more …