Gentle Annie is the Willy Wonka of berry farms. You’ll find raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, marionberries, silvan berries, loganberries, boysenberries, thornless blackberries and red and blackcurrants. If berries aren’t your thing, then you can go fruit picking in the orchard that includes heritage apples, mashies and plums or try the ‘pick your own’ veggie patch.
Pennyroyal Valley is just as romantic as it sounds. Sitting at the foothills of the Otways and just outside of Deans Marsh, Pennyroyal Valley is picturesque. Purchased four years ago by Melbourne tree-changers Leanne and Doug Campbell, who restored the farmhouse cafe and orchard, Gentle Annie’s Berry Farm is a little country oasis.
Follow the signs down a windy dirt road and feast from Gentle Annie’s farmhouse cafe where food is plucked from the vegetable garden and provisions like produce, wine and beer come from local suppliers. Most items on the menu are cooked with Gentle Annie produce including fruit pies, jam, chutneys and relishes. Gentle Annie’s is a local favourite and don’t be deceived by the quiet local roads – you’ll be surprised by how busy it is over the weekend.
With all plants free from pesticides, herbicides and chemicals the Campbell’s encourage visitors to look under the leaves to find the best berries, this is where they’re protected from the birds. They pull all the weeds out by hand – if you have a garden at home you’ll realise what a commitment this is – check out the size of the plantation! Heavy!
Next time you’re cruising down to Lorne take time to stop at Gentle Annie’s – she’s been there for over 30 years. Grab a coffee alongside international travellers, tourists, families, day-trippers and locals. Roam Free.
I have coffee at our farm!
I am looking forward to is Italy this year. I’ll learn more about food and techniques. We are now opening for dinner on Saturday nights during our season featuring Italian style farmhouse food, so I am fairly busy with that activity.
Some people might not realise that when the early settlers came to Pennyroyal Valley, they planted berry crops along the creekside beds to supplement their farming.
Best Road Trip:
My best road trip memory was taking the family from Melbourne to Fraser Island with a camper trailer. Even then I had everything you needed to cook with over an open fire.
Dream Road Trip:
I am about to embark on our dream road trip, visiting farms and wineries around the north of Italy and Tuscany.
520 Pennyroyal Valley Road, Pennyroyal VIC
Ph: + 61 3 5236 3391
Peak berry-picking season is November – April