a spit roast & tractor ride @
golden grove orchard – lower chittering
I always think I’m going to see Disney-esque bluebirds twittering and chittering (as they might), when driving along the winding roads of Chittering Valley. Though Perth is not quite the place for doe-eyed imaginary birds (we have to settle for kookaburras), the notion of devonshire tea and freshly squeezed orange juice appeals to my fantasy of old fashioned, sunlit country fun.
Except for the flies. (Welcome to the Aussie summer.)
Chittering Valley’s sunshine and soil is perfect for growing citrus and Golden Grove Orchard is smack bam in the middle of the valley. Surrounded by rolling orchards, passersby stop at the roadside kiosk for a snack and coffee. Others drive right up to the big shed (watch out for the chooks!) to buy bags of oranges, freshly squeezed juices and lemon squash.
Luckily for us, Golden Grove offers something decidedly carnivorous. We are here for a spit roast, a fat leg of pork which has been going around and around on a gas powered spit. A netted off area houses the spit and picnic area, giving respite from the constant buzzing and swatting (no fly zone!) (sorry couldn’t help the pun).
There’s something very exciting about spit roasts. Perhaps it’s the vision of dripping fat or just the awe of a huge hunk of meat. Sometimes, fantasy doesn’t always live up to reality.
Our leg of pork looks like it had been dragged through a bushfire, but heck, we were still excited by the singed crispy crackling. Even though the pork was overcooked – almost tasteless on the inside and grimacingly salty on the outside, it was nothing apple sauce and horseradish couldn’t cure. Plus, the crackling was extra delicious.
Next time, we are definitely having the whole lamb.
Yes, that’s right, there was a whole lamb on the spit next to ours. With a huge family, pita bread and salads at the ready. I tell you, the greeks sure know how to eat.
Some post pork shopping was in order and we headed to the fruit shed. We drank some samples (the ladies are really friendly, not to mention generous), picked up a bottle of orange juice and boarded the tractor trailer for a tour.
Sitting precariously on upturned orange crates and holding on for dear life as the trailer careered over drainage ditches, I turned my thoughts to juicy grapefruit… away from thoughts of terrifying tractor related accidents.
The orchard trees were bowed by the weight of fruit, the dark green foilage punctuated by oranges, grapefruit and mandarins. We sampled ruby grapefruit cut from the tree and it was gorgeous, with juice running everywhere – it was impossible to keep the camera clean!! If you think you don’t like grapefruit, you have to try ruby red grapefruit – it’s sweet, voluptuous and makes wonderful breakfast juice. It’s sweet enough to eat on it’s own or in a salad.
We tasted a hybrid which was an orange dressed up as a mandarin. Called “Mystique” the lunchbox sized fruit is sweet and noticeably less fibrous than a traditional orange. Golden Grove also grows a low acid orange called “Pontiana” which has an oddly sweet taste, suitable for those allergic to oranges.
The tractor ambled on through the orchard. It’s impossible not to think of pursuing a country life amongst the sound of the wind through the orchard, the crickets and the scent of citrus. The feeling of country peace and quiet always appeals to me, but I have to remind myself that I am a city (lazy) girl at heart, and as much as I hate to admit, I love shopping, eating out and not driving long distances.
Clockwise from the top: 100% orange juice for sampling; oranges galore; the ingenius orange sorting machine!
Bolstered by seeing the orchard we return to the fruit shed to buy bags of lemons, grapefruit (we love love love their grapefruit) and another bottle of inordinately sweet 100% juice.
(The juice was so sweet, we had to dilute it to drink it.)
Golden Grove is a must-stop – there’s pretty much only one road that leads through the lower valley, so if you are passing through there’s no missing it. The roast, spit, (over)cooking and carving is covered in one fee – and obviously, booking ahead is necessary. The pork leg cost $275 and includes the use of the covered area, away from the god forsaken flies. (I really hate flies.) The tour, I think, is included with the spit roast/bbq area hire.
I’m really looking forward to coming back again, if only to enjoy the sunshine and organic fresh fruit. And you know what, Chittering Valley isn’t that far away from Perth, so head out of the city and enjoy what’s on our doorstep.
Golden Grove Orchard
1378 Chittering Road, Lower Chittering WA 6084
T: (08) 9571 8074
The kooky dog! And the kooky juicer.
add a comment.
You may use Markdown syntax in your comments.