As November begins many people are thinking of Christmas. It’s that time of year. For me though, what I’m thinking of is not Christmas but cherries. Being located partway between Manjimup and Pemberton we are smack in the middle of a large cherry growing region in the South West of Western Australia. For someone who has had a life-long love affair with cherries I am in seventh heaven. Nothing beats the taste of a sun ripened cherry freshly picked from the tree and here in Manjimup, during cherry season, they are readily available.
You can find them at local farm stalls, at cherry farms and our local supermarket stocks local cherries too. The benefit of buying them directly from the farm is the option you have to buy seconds. Seconds are ones that are rejected for sale at supermarkets. They are the odd-shaped ones, the small ones and the ones that have a mark on them. Really, there is absolutely nothing wrong with them and they taste just as good as the ones that get sent to the market. The best thing is they are often a lot cheaper and I tend to over indulge and buy lots of them!
The highlight of the cherry season here in Manjimup has to be The Cherry Harmony Festival which is held every year in early December. This year it will be held on the 9th of December and if last year’s festival is anything to go by, it should be a big affair. The Cherry Harmony Festival is a celebration of all things cherry but it’s more than a place to buy cherries – although you can certainly do that!
Taking over one of two main streets in Manjimup for the day the Festival is a wonderful day out for the whole family. There is a parade, a classic car procession, loads
of entertainment, street stalls, gardening workshops, wine tasting, cooking demonstrations, log chopping, a fashion parade, a cherry pie cooking competition, exhibitions, music and the famous cherry pip spitting competition.
This year’s special guests include Western Australian Chef and radio personality Don Hancey, Horticulturist Sabrina Hahn and owner and publisher of Menu Magazine Scott Arnold-Eyers. This year’s entertainment line-up is pretty amazing too with Aboriginal Artist Troy Bennell, Ricochet Circus, Western Australia’s largest community drumming group Wasamba, and the WA Police Pipe Band. There’s kids entertainment, street theatre and music. But don’t forget Food Avenue, an entire street set aside for food stalls (that’s where you’ll probably find me)
Speaking of food; The Long Table Soiree is not to be missed. Held on Saturday 9th, commencing at 5.30pm in the picturesque Newton’s Cherry Orchard this long table meal is a real delight. This year there will be three chefs producing a spectacular dining experience using the finest and freshest produce from the Southern Forests Region. The chefs are WA’s Food Ambassador Don Hancey, Ardal and Sue Nigg from Hidden River Estate Pemberton and Raj Prithvi from Cilantro, Manjimup. It’s not all just on Saturday either.
Friday evening there’s also a lot happening from fireworks, the arrival of Father Christmas, the Christmas lights will be turned on with music, entertainment and stalls too. So apart from eating lots of cherries, which I certainly plan to do, I will be celebrating all things cherry at the Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival in Manjimup on the 8th and 9th of December. I’ll see you there!