The Range of Fruits
Apple Day
Early Season Apples
Mid Season Apples
Mid/Late Season Apples
Cooking Apples
Why Organics?
WWOOFing Host Farm
Our Farm Story
Recipe Book & Jams

Our Farm Story

Our Farm Story

Owen and Noreen Pidgeon settled with their then young family in the valley beside Spring Range in 1982 after spending 4 years in Papua New Guinea. Loriendale is in the Hall district, (just north of Canberra but in New South Wales). A efficient solar passive house was constructed and plantings soon followed.

There were some attempts at finding gold up our valley at the turn of the last century. We thought of looking for new gold. A tiny farm, for Australia with only 33 acres and very average soil. The small flock of sheep have produced many pets, plenty of excitement but not much income.

One most venerable neighbour, Mack Southwell, told us of the time around World War II when a pioneer produced the most delicious apples, just up the valley. Mack would earn 2 shillings for collecting each bag of potash (from the burning of the trees along the valley!); potash would sweeten up the apples. One giant Granny Smith would regularly produce 15 cases of apples. (today growers hope for 4-5 cases and in drought years we are fortunate to produce 1 case per tree).

So we began planting apple and cherry trees 19 years ago, the week after our youngest daughter was born. And the dream began. Our son Stephen is now married to Katrina, Rowena is married to Adam, Felicity is the big organic jam and tomato relish producer but also works as an Occupational Therapist and Lauren studies at University.

Also dreamed of a Canberra based southern Europe, with a large hazelnut grove. We have still some 140 hazel trees but those planted out high on the hill have gone the way of many plantings in this dry Australia. Still we are progressing. Read Paul Baxter's book Growing Fruit in Australia and became very interested in unusual varieties of apples. So began the extended plantings and the adding to number year by year.

Three years after the commencement we had a terribly wet winter and all our first plantings of cherry trees rotted off. A learning curve! That led to replacement plantings of nashi pears, quinces and Chinese pears and they are doing well.

We just hope for seasons with good winter rains, no late frosts and no pesty starlings. Canberra normally has sunny winter days and lots of sunny summer days. Water management is vital and we are fortunate to have a good catchment area to our south.