Kelly Landry and the Getaway
crew were driving in the Port Macquarie area on the New South Wales mid-north coast. They spotted a sign promising fresh tomatoes and strawberries and pulled in. The fruit was a nice change from the lollies they usually chew on long drives!
Anthony and Richard Sarks started their business, Ricardoes Tomatoes, as a hobby seven years ago. Now they have more than 30,000 plants producing some of the best fruit you will ever taste. Remember how tomatoes and strawberries used to taste? Well this is the place that will take your tastebuds back to those days. The secret is in choosing the right picking time. They don't pluck green fruit but wait until it is beautifully ripe.
It all began with a small, crude igloo with an honesty box at the front gate. Now tomatoes are grown hydroponically in massive high-tech greenhouses. They are sought after by people wanting to make sauces and relishes from old family recipes.
Tall strawberry plants climb up beside the tomato houses and visitors can enter, armed with a bucket, and pick their own, or if time is short, buy fruit already picked. There are eight varieties of tomatoes and five of strawberries.
Café Red offers an eating experience in the countryside. They have selections made from local produce and homemade treats. Of course, tomatoes and strawberries feature on the menu but there are plenty of other options.
For a simple morning or afternoon tea there are scones with cream and strawberry jam and handmade cakes served with coffee, tea, soft drink or juice.
Ten minutes from the centre of Port Macquarie.
Ricardoes is open every day for farm gate sales between 7am and 6pm. Big Red Café is open between 9am and 3pm. There is no charge for entry.
Virgin Blue has flights to Port Macquarie.
One-way fares from:
- Sydney $103
- Brisbane and Melbourne $179
- Adelaide $199
- Darwin $249
There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares quoted are one-way booked on the Internet. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are subject to change.
Prices correct at September 17, 2009.
For further information
Ph: 136 789
Ricardoes Tomatoes & Strawberries
221 Blackmans Point Road
Port Macquarie 2444
Ph: (02) 6585 0663
Fax: (02) 6585 0993