What a fabulous day out we had yesterday! A trip to Kookootonga Chestnut Farm in Mt Irvine organised by the blue mountains fruit and nut tree network made for a great family outing. The drive there is beautiful in itself, through the upper mountains villages, across the Darling Causeway, through Bell and Mt Wilson, which I think always looks gorgeous in Autumn.
One of the first trees
There were chestnuts aplenty, less trees than I imagined but far more nuts than I ever imagined could come from each tree! The owner took our small group up over the hill to his 'best' tree which was enough to keep us happily picking for an hour or so, each filling our buckets and still leaving some behind! It was so enjoyable gathering the nuts under the cool shade of the huge tree as it was unusually warm yesterday.
Tough gloves essential (oops and sensible footwear too!)
A trio of treasure inside the prickly casing
The farm also has a good supply of walnut trees, and although these aren't quite due for harvest yet, our children managed to find a 'secret' tree (much to their delight!) where they were the sole collectors of a good kilo of walnuts already fallen to the ground. Apart from the occasional running-off episodes, they really enjoyed the day too.
Miss 4 filling bucket no.1
I found discovering the chestnuts in the dewy grass and peeling them from their prickly covers really addictive (!) and therefore when it came to weighing and paying, we ended up buying far more than we needed, but it was well worth it for the experience.
This cheeky fellow joined us too
To wrap it up, the group had organised a roasting in the grounds near the farmhouse, and we all got to taste hot chestnuts roasted on the BBQ, which was a first for us.
Our nutty bounty at home!
Since returning yesterday we have tried them microwaved and oven baked, and I also picked up a range of recipe cards at the farm with lots of yummy ideas. Just as well - we have a LOT to use!