With weather so beautiful this weekend it was an easy decision to pack the family into the car and head off on a relaxing drive in the country. It was also an opportune thought to include the fresh food shopping and make a day of it along the Hawkesbury Harvest Trail. With an esky in the boot we set off not knowing what gems we would find!

 

I had done a little research of what was available in the area just north of Windsor. I chose to visit two vegetable outlets and a winery. Somewhere in between we would stop off for a look at the Ebenezer Church one of the historic tourist attractions of the area. We would also find somewhere nice to have lunch then top it off with a visit to the wineries. My idea of the perfect day out!

scibberas

Our first stop was Scibberas Fresh Fruit and Vegetables. Scibberas farm have a small outlet attached to their main shed. 80% of the produce sold here is grown on their farm. Scibberas farm shop appeared very popular with the locals. In fact it was a friend from the area who informed me they were at this location. Even though the shop was very busy the service was fast and friendly. Most of the items were pre packaged so it was a grab and go arrangement. We were in and out in a flash once we decided on our purchases. They had an extensive range of seasonal fruit and vegetables. Some of their fruit comes from Orange in the Central West which is a splendid fruit growing region. The prices were extremely competitive. Whole butternut pumpkins were just a dollar and half kilo bags of mushrooms were $3.00. Most packages were around the two dollar mark. My free range eggs were $5.00 for a dozen and sat below a sign indicating they were laid that morning!

scibbera sign  scibberas veg

Scibberas farm is located at 364 Kurmond Rd Freemans Reach. They are on the corner of Kumond   Rd and Gorricks Lane. Keep your eyes peeled as the shopfront faces Gorricks Lane. We missed the turn three times looking out for the shopfront to on Kurmond Rd! The shop is open Monday-Saturday from 8.30-5.00pm

hawkesbury veg farm

Hawkesbury Vegetable Farm was our next stop. It was approx seven kilometres away at Wilberforce. As we drove in I mentioned to my husband that I was sure I had seen this place on a past Masterchef episode! I was right, I had!

farm produce  yellow zucchini

 

The vegetable farm was quiet with no other visitors. I felt like we had just driven in to a private farm and assumed that possibly this farm is no longer open as a farm gate. That thought was quickly rectified when a young lad approached us and gave us our tour options. Yes it was a normal family farm that gave visitors the opportunity to pop in for a look around and have their vegetables picked fresh while you watched. This was remarkable!

Our young tour guide showed us around and picked our eggplant, yellow zucchini, leeks, capsicum and chilli as we requested them. I could also see had chicory, parsley, kale and cavolo nero growing in the fields in front of us. Our young guide who was the farmer’s son advised us it was also possible to place an order for pick up or buy direct from their shed.

gratin dish  cooked gratin

We loved this place and I was overjoyed to find bright yellow zucchinis which I have rarely seen at the markets or in local shops. I wanted cook a dish with this produce which paid it some credit and respect. Using a Julia Childs recipe for inspiration I made an eggplant zucchini and tomato gratin for Sunday night’s dinner and it was absolutely delicious. Fresh certainly was best!

eggplant gratin

Hawkesbury Vegetable Farm is located at 135 Cars Rd Wilberforce. The Farm is open to the pubic on Saturdays 9.00am-3.00pm for tours (small fee) and produce.

old bikes

With the vegetable shopping loaded safely in the esky we decided to head on to the Ebenezer Church nearby to soak up some history. When we arrived the parking area was filled at least 40 shiny vintage motorbikes. At first I thought there may have been a wedding at the church. I was soon to find out the vintage bike club had called in for morning tea, what a friendly chatty bunch they were!

ebenezer curch  ebenezer church front

 

The beautifully restored sandstone Ebenezer Church is the oldest church in Australia built in 1809!

school house    ebenezer stairs

The Ebenezer Church, school house and surrounding cemetery are rich in history. It’s well worth while taking time to peruse through the information in the schoolhouse which now operates as a museum and souvenir shop. The climb up the steep antique stairs to see the old teachers sleeping quarters is only for the daring. Yes I am scared of heights but I managed to counsel myself back down the stairs.

ebenezer tomb  cemetary

The cemetery surrounding the church holds many very old and interesting gravesites including pioneers of the church. The oldest grave in the cemetery is dated 1825.

devinshire tea

The wonderful surprise of the Ebenezer Church was the Devonshire Tea available from the volunteers at the souvenir shop. For a small charge you can sit in the shade of meandering grape vines and have your Devonshire tea served in the most gracious manner. This in itself was a wonderful experience which took me back to the days when things were done properly. The lovely lady that delivered our tea and scones on a wooden tray apologised that the table had no cloth! We had to stop her from going back and getting one. Having the Mr Eight at our table would ensure that cloth only got one use.

ebenezer alter  ebenezer veiw

Following our lovely devonshire tea we took a stroll around the property and through the historical church while admiring the river view.

Ebenezer Church is located at 95 Coromandel Road, Ebenezer. Devonshire Tea is available each day 9.00am-3.00pm

jubilee sign  tizzana

Our last scheduled stop for the day was nearby at the Tizzana Rd wineries. This road lies within a pretty secluded valley just off the Hawkesbury River. There are two are two wineries on Tizzana road directly across from each other. These are The Tizzana Winery and The Jubilee Vineyard Estate. On the day of our drive the Tizzana Winery had a grape picking event in progress. There were quite a few cars parked around it  so we decided to call into the Jubilee Vineyard Estate across the road.

jubilee winery  juilee grounds

The tasting room was open, on arrival we were welcomed in by the owners, a couple who were very sociable encouraging everyone to participate in the tasting. There was already a group of several tasters in full swing, when more arrived one of the owners set up a tasting area outside so everyone could participate. The owners ran the tasting like a class in a very informative manner! This was a fun way to taste and learn about wine, it's body, aroma, texture and flavour notes. I tried the sparkling which quickly met with my approval. I was excited to try more but I driving and had to be responsible.

jubilee bubbly  jubilee vines

 

We had a quick walk around the grounds and found a scenic photo opportunity by the lake.

jubilee lake

 The Jubilee Vineyard Estate is located at 519 Tizzana Road Ebenezer. The cellar door is open Saturday and Sunday 12.00md-5.00pm.

hawkesbury produce

The Hawkesbury Harvest Trail has so much more to offer than what we saw this day. We were not only shopping for our food but also learning about where and who our fresh food comes from. I have developed even more respect for our hard working farmers. This type of activity also fosters quality family interaction and that makes it even better.

Check out the attractions of the Hawkesbury Farm Gate trail from their website at www.hawkesburyharvest.com.au Make it a family day and don’t forget to pack your esky and GPS!

OtherLinks

http://www.sciberrasfresh.com.au/

http://www.ebenezerchurch.org.au

http://www.jubileevineyard.com.au/

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