I ventured out to Gentle Annie on a warm February morning in search of some luscious fresh berries. Whilst they do have a website here , it doesn’t seem to be updated too often, so it pays to call in advance to find out the types of berries that are currently available. The day I visited they had raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, rhubarb, plums and nashi pears (Asiatic pears).
After a 40 minute drive from Geelong, through Winchelsea, we arrived at Gentle Annie, looking forward to tasting the berries on offer. The way it works here is you can either pay $5 (Adult, cheaper for children) for a “Gobbler’s Pass” which means you can pick and eat as you go, or you can grab a large punnet (or BYO) and fill that with berries to take home. The price of the punnet is calculated on the way out, by weight and assortment of berries. I opted for a Gobblers Pass and a punnet- so I could taste test the berries as I picked some to take home. The owner, Russell, will show you where to head to for each type of berry and explain the best way to pick each berry. There are helpful signs everywhere to avoid any confusion between the berries.
Something worth taking note of is that the strawberry patch contains about 10 different varieties of strawberries. We worked our way across the rows until we found the sweetest, juiciest strawberries. The beauty of Gentle Annie is that the fruit is all pesticide free.
We also took some time to wander through to orchid and sample some different types of plums. All the fruit I tried was delicious – much better than any store bought fruit. After about an hour of picking and tasting I had filled the punnet with strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. The punnet, along with about 8 stalks of rhubarb cost about $12. I had just over 1 kilo of berries. I think the price is reasonable, considering it tastes so fresh and so sweet.
The small shop at Gentle Annie also has some homemade chutneys, jams, cordials, icecreams and dessert sauces on offer for a reasonable price. You have to remember that these products are all homemade and don’t come out of a big factory, so they may not be as cheap as some of the jams or cordials at the supermarket, but the difference in taste will be astounding.
There is also a licensed Tea-Room at Gentle Annie which serves drinks, snacks and lunches, open for morning and afternoon tea and lunch.
520 Pennyroyal Valley Rd, Deans Marsh.
Open Monday-Sunday: 10am-5pm. Open Cup Weekend til the 30th April. Cafe closed after April school holidays. Closed Christmas Day.
Gentle Annie is about 40 minutes from Geelong or 2 hours from Melbourne.