Harben Vale Cherries gets its name from an old Post Office that used to exist close to where you entered the farm. You can see the old house and post office on the hill as you drive in. The old postmaster, George Warland, up until about 45 years ago would collect the mail in a bag from the nearby Mt Barker Junction railway station and distribute it to the locals in the area. The name Harben Vale originally came from an area in Scotland that George’s family came from.
Our family has been farming in this area for close to a hundred and fifty years growing beef cattle and producing milk and potatoes for people in Adelaide.
In 2001 we planted our first 1200 cherry trees and soon after planted the next 2800 trees.
We have trained them in a version of the Spanish Bush method which involves training the trees to achieve many low branches. This method keeps the trees low and allows easy netting and picking. You do not need ladders to pick the fruit which makes cherry picking safe and easy.
Birds love cherries so nets are used to stop the birds from pecking the cherries and spoiling the ripe cherries.
Although we need to use some chemicals in the orchard in the interest of the consumer we try to keep their use to a minimum.
We have 12 different varieties in the orchard which all have different eating characteristics as well as ripening times and yield. The varieties that are available for you to pick will depend largely on the time that you are there. Although every season is different they generally ripen in this order:
- Merchant (Late November)
- Chelan (early December)
- Van (Mid December)
- Bing (Mid December)
- Stella (Mid/late December)
- Sir Don and Sir Tom (Mid/late December)
- Lapins and Simone (Mid/late December)
- Dame Roma and Regina (Mid/late December)
- Sweetheart (Late December/ early January)