Trevor broke the mould in harvesting cherries. He came from a long line of builders and farmers and when he first planted cherries in his Red Hill farm to sell to market in 1969 no one wanted them. Nowadays Trevor’s cherries are much more of a local hit. People travel to the Cherry Farm to pick their own ripe, juicy fruit during cherry season (mid November to mid January). Now that his cherry trade is booming, Trevor has no regrets.
Trevor Holmes: I’m Trevor, owner of Red Hill Cherry Farm. My whole family works here. [My great-great-grandfather] planted apple trees and strawberries in Red Hill which were taken to sell at Melbourne Market by horse drawn wagon, which took three days there and back. On the return trip they slept on the back of the wagon and allowed the horse to make its way home. In 1900 the rail line was constructed to Bittern near Hastings and this allowed the farmers to deliver fruit to the Melbourne Markets more easily. They only needed to take the fruit by horse drawn wagon to Bittern. In 1920 the rail line was extended to Red Hill and the fruit could be shipped by rail direct to Melbourne.
My dad Harold and mum Betty, with the help of my grandfather Rob Holmes, bought the Prossors Lane farm in 1945. My dad planted some cherries here, mainly apples though. [When I took over] we planted about 100 cherry trees. [The first time] we sent some cherries to Melbourne market in 1969 they got sent back unsold. We were charged for cartage! So my sister and I hung a sign on an old ladder on the road and we sold all the cherries to locals over a weekend. Now we have about 25 varieties of cherries and over 4500 trees in total.
We sell our entire crop of cherries from the farm. The varieties we grow today are Lewis, Merchant, Vista, Bing, Van, Stella, Lapins, Simone, Sir Don, Williams, Sweet Heart, Sweet Georgia and many others. We also grow Sour Morellos which are a cooking cherry. Van or Lappins are the sweetest, high sugar content, some are sweet, some more sour and tart. We make cherry juice, cordial, ice cream, port and even cherry beer and of course fresh cherries!
A lot of Asian tourists, students and residents, their parents, plus European tourists and some locals come through to pick cherries. Europeans like sour cherries the best. We pick and deliver sour cherries to some local restaurants as well. But our most popular cherries are the ones that are ripe!
People probably don’t know that in the last 6 days (of growth) cherries put on 60% of flavour. We pick them 4 days early for market. It could take a week before market or sometimes they spend a month on the water.
Red Hill is idyllic. Easy. Beautiful.
For more information visit www.redhill-cherryfarm.com.au
69 Prossors Lane, Red Hill VICTORIA 3937
Red Hill Trading Co (hardware and animal feed!)
Red Hill Cherry Farm!
I’m here – all the time. Here’s my garden, I enjoy gardening.
Best Road Trip memory
When the kids were younger and before the farm was super established I got a Landcrusier and van and toured South Australia, Victoria and NSW. My favourite place was Whitecliffs in NSW and the old Birdsville track.
Dream road trip
New Zealand or Karatha in WA. I like hills and country scenery.