The fertile area of Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula was settled in the mid 1800’s by a handful of English and Irish families – whose kin are still very much a presence in the district – many continuing to work the land. The road names reflect these respected pioneers.
Ellisfield Farm is a property of 18 acres in Red Hill, the heart of theMornington Peninsula, enjoying an ideal north facing aspect with excellent protection to the north, south and west and Kangerong Flora Reserve to the east. In the early 1990’s the property was functioning as a Protea plantation with a small orchard of 600 cherry trees.
The Proteas planted in the early 70’s enjoyed a measure of success, but most had come to the end of their viable production.
In the following years the demand for “Pick-your-own” cherries increased, mainly from European and Asian families. Those from the Mediterranean regions enjoy the Sweet Cherries. The sour Morello Cherries are the favoured choice of many Eastern European families. Over the next 10 years the farm had changed to meet this increasing demand, with over 3000 fruit trees planted – and nearly 2000 comprising of Morello cherry trees.
In early 2010 the farm was sold and so began its next productive phase as a strawberry farm.
The reality was, most of the cherry trees were well past their prime and years of P.Y.O. had stripped most branches of their precious fruit growing spurs lower down, leaving bare areas without fruit.
The first year saw removal of the old trees at the front of the property and planting of strawberry fields for commercial sales and at-the -farm during cherry season. Later other areas of unviable trees were replaced with raspberry and blackberry plants.
During the first couple of years P.Y.O. was continued but the decision was made at the end of 2014 to stop this and have fruit sales only from the farm.
Today the farm has a small orchard of sweet cherries and morello cherries left for the farm-gate sales, with strawberries the main product produced.