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Sweet spot

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The Oversby family of Bindoon are expecting a bumper harvest of their magnificent mandarins this season after a disappointing year in 2019 yielded them just 10% of their usual crop.

If you frequent the Great Northern Hwy north of Bindoon, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the iconic green VW Kombi which marks the Oversby’s roadside stall – where folklore has it that best mandarins in the country can be found.

“For some reason or another, God bless, we are always being told our fruit is the best!” Says Chris Oversby, patriarch of the Oversby clan.

“It’s the good soil of course, but as well our fruit is always picked ripe and sold within a day of picking – that accounts for the sweet taste,” he explains.

200 young mandarin trees were already established in the 2 Ha orchard when Chris and his wife Margaret bought the Bindoon property 22 years ago, making the move up from Katanning to find a farm closer to Perth as the eldest of their 10 children started moving out of home.

“The biggest joy is getting someone to taste a mandarin, who doesn’t usually like mandarins, and they love the taste!” says Chris, who also sells the popular citrus at Mt Claremont Farmers’ Market.

Chris estimates about half of the trees have been replaced over the years, usually because the rootstock overtakes the grafted, fruit bearing tree trunk. Apart from that, he says the trees require very little work, and with 18 grandchildren to help there’s no need for backpackers at picking time!

The Oversby family outside the well-known VW Kombi on Great Northern Hwy

“Its a good opportunity for the young ones to learn how to work, and see how hard work turns into rewards,” he says.
“If you learn how to work, and how to enjoy your work you’re set for life!”

Over the long weekend the family were hard at work with everyone pitching in to fill the crates and bag the fruit for the stall.

Son Alister and his wife Amanda also own the orchard next door, and together the two farms can produce up to 5 tonnes of citrus a year, which they market all together under the name Redlands Farm Produce.

You can find these delicious mandarins for sale from June to October at the roadside stall marked by the famous Kombi (which by the way is not for sale despite numerous requests!) as well as at the Northern Valleys Locavore Store in Bindoon.