Oranges And Sunshine

Vineyards near Mildura

Our travels landed us in Mildura towards the end of November 2012. The days were warm, some even hot but we were lucky to leave before the temperature sky rocketed to 47 degrees.

I instantly liked Mildura. Yes it is remote but the landscape of vineyards and orchards is beautiful. Mildura has a fascinating story and owes its success to the early irrigation schemes that brought crops of stone fruit, citrus and grapes. The region is known as Sunraysia – the land of sunshine, grapes and oranges. It is famous for it’s production of dried fruit and wine.  Mildura is a popular destination for backpackers seeking seasonal picking work. We stayed for about 8 days in total in a caravan park, and a few nights camping by the river at Psyche Bend.  I was surprised how big Mildura was. Weirdly, a short drive out of town will land you in the middle of the desert. It is an oasis of fertility and prosperity. A town that loves good food, wine and rustic Italian flare.

Psyche-Bend

The Old Pump Station at Psyche Bend. Full of early settlement history and also a brilliant place to camp.

We visited the Sunraysia Farmer’s Market held at Ornamental Lakes, a large park down by the Murray River. The farmer’s market is held on the First and third Saturday of every month , 9am – 1pm. This market is well supported by the locals.

Farmer's-Market

Woorlong Eggs

Woorlong Family Farms is located in Red Cliffs (16km south of Mildura). Their hens are free range and have access to open green pastures all day and are safely housed at night.

Single Eggs

Pecans

Marinated

Herbs

Garlic-Plait

Garlic was in season and large garlic braids were hanging at many stalls. The one pictured above was $20. These lovely fragrant bouquets made me want to buy a rustic farmhouse and have these hanging in my large cool larder. Everything about this market made me want to have a farmhouse larder stocked with marinated, pickled and preserved produce and baskets of dried fruit, oh and wine!

Farmers-Market

Dried-Fruit

Citrus

Butchery

Beans

The farmer’s market puts on a big breakfast buffet that features local produce from stall holders. The menu changes with the seasons and highlights the delights of the region. There is a selection of local condiments to accompany your breakfast, $2 cups of fresh squeezed Sunraysia oranges and tables set up in the shade with cute posies of flowers in small clear jars. A perfect weekend ambiance and for the tourist, the perfect way to sample a Murray River breakfast.

Farmer's Big Breakfast

This is the Farmer’s Big Breakfast menu on the day of our visit. The meat, bread and produce is all sourced from local stallholders.

Ordering Breakfast

Buffet Style

I wish we weren’t on such a travellers budget during our visit. There is some seriously good food and fun to be had in Mildura. I guess we will just have to come back some other time.

Grapes

Vineyard

Honesty-Love

On our way out of Mildura (heading towards Hay) we stopped in at a cute roadside honesty box near Gol Gol in New South Wales. While I was busy stocking up, the owner (Georgina I assume) arrived with a wheelbarrow full of just picked avocados. I had a lovely chat. Along with her husband, she has been operating the stall for 30 years. I shared my love of the honesty box system and how much we appreciate it as travellers. By and large they had found the public to be honest but a roadside stall like this would never have worked back in Europe where she was from. No no, she said, it would all get stolen!

A few days later the avocados we bought were ready to be eaten. With so much flavour, we ate them plain and enjoyed each mouthful.

Avocadoes

Honesty-Box

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3 thoughts on “Oranges And Sunshine

  1. Sharolyn says:

    Happily stumbled upon your blog in a similar fashion to Julie when searching for garlic… There is so much of Australia that I want to see too and this post has really whet my appetite. I love the roadside stalls with avocados and flowers that you find in rural settings like this. I also love, love, love that garlic braid with herbs. I am planning to grow garlic next season but have never seen it tied up with herbs like this. What a fantastic idea though! This is my new goal to grow and make!

    • Isabella says:

      Hi Sharolyn – I am so glad you stumbled upon Small Town Chutney. I also was very inspired by that garlic braid. Good luck with your own garlic cultivating.

  2. Julie Wakefield says:

    I came across your blog quite by accident when I googled Woorlong Family Farms of Red Cliffs. I have a B & B in Mildura and supply guests with the Woorlong eggs and also freshly squeezed orange juice from the stall you stopped at just out side of Gol Gol. I am also passionate about fresh fruit & veg and like to promote local produce to guests staying at my self contained cottage. I will be sharing your link to guests, what a great blog to introduce them our wonderful Farmers Market and show them where their complimentary orange juice comes from. Thank you!

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