Is this the coolest thing to do in Stanthorpe?
Remember the days when you’d arrive home from school and mum would have dinner cooking; drool-worthy aromas filling the house? Or those Sunday afternoons at your grandparents’ house, eating the most delicious meal you’d had all week?
Think of Sutton’s Farm as your other grandparents’ house.
The working orchard, located in the picturesque town of Stanthorpe in the Granite Belt has the advantage of enjoying a perfectly crisp climate to grow its own Garden of Eden.
Spread over 30 acres, the farm has around 10,000 apple trees, which sprout over 30 varieties of apples. It’s also the only place in Queensland where you can pick your own apples during the season, which kicks off tomorrow (February 6, 2015).
A $5 note is all you’ll need to get back to nature and explore Sutton’s orchard, picking the crunchiest apples on the trees as you go. You’ll be given a small bag to fill with as many apples as you like, included in the price of your entrance.
When Ros and David Sutton bought the farm 20 years ago, apples were the furthest things from their knowledge. Today they’re famous for their home-cooked apple pie, “which has taken on a life of its own”, says Ros, and employ 10 people to help run their Juice Factory, Cidery, Distillery and Shed Café.
After spending the early years selling their apples to farmer’s markets around the state, Ros and David realised how many second-grade apples were being wasted – with nothing wrong with them. So they turned their sights to apple juice, then onto cider and liqueurs.
They opened The Shed and from there, basically, if it could have apple in it, they made it and sold it. From mountains of conserves, apple cider vinegar, apple brandy, apple chutney, apple syrup and apple butter (made deliciously creamy with just the right hint of cinnamon), the Suttons quickly became bona fide apple experts.
But it was when they opened The Shed Café and started baking their infamous apple pie, that things really started to ripen.
Think: A mountainous pile of freshly picked and sliced apple, cooked to the perfect softness and flavoured with just the right amount of cinnamon, encased in a deliciously crisp yet buttery pastry that’s never overpowering. The apples are the stars here, remember?
Served up with a scoop of their apple cider-laced ice cream and whipped cream, the Suttons go through 40 pies a week. In fact, come holiday time they can go through up to 20 pies a day! Yet modest Ros swears the pie is just “an old school recipe made in my trusty Pyrex dishes”.