Greentrees received Orange City Council approval to operate as a Bed and Breakfast – the very first in the Orange City Council area – on 6/5/1993. Shortly after opening, Mr. Tony Isbester,Manager of the OVIC, came with his colleagues to visit Greentrees. While there they were given afternoon tea – a traditional Devonshire Tea, complete with my homemade blackberry jam, lashings of cream and my homemade scones.
Impressed with the Blackberry Jam, Tony asked then and there if Greentrees would supply jam and other products to the OVIC on a regular basis. Of course I said yes.
Unfortunately, all my homemade goodies were in second-hand jars, the fruit season goes from early December to late May each year- it had just finished and I only had enough for the bed and breakfast.
However, if they were willing to wait I would make for them professionally from early December, 1993 (start of the Cherry Season). In the meantime, I would use the intervening period to research all the relevant Council, production, packaging, labelling, insurance, public liability, etc. laws necessary to abide by so Greentrees could supply the OVIC regularly. This was done and in February, 1994 Greentrees Gourmet Preserves came into being and delivered their first products to the Centre.
In January, 1995 Greentrees Gourmet Preserves became a member of Food of Orange District. We took part in the FOOD Affair that year and have done ever since then. That market started Greentrees on the path of local and regional markets as the Orange Farmers’ Market started not long after that.
In July, 1996, Greentrees Garden Room, (dining and function room) seating some 57 people, opened for business. This facility catered for in-house breakfasts, other meals, morning and afternoon teas, family celebrations, seminars, workshops and weddings. Naturally, Greentrees Gourmet Preserves products were a feature of all of these public events.
Membership of FOOD and the advent of the Garden Room gave a great boost to the demand for Greentrees Gourmet Preserves. The product range continued to expand and retail clients, local and regional markets and in-house sales continued to grow.
Easter 2000 saw the opening of a new accommodation wing with seven large family rooms – giving a total room capacity of 9 and 35 people maximum guest occupation.
The daily breakfast buffet in the Garden Room was a food lovers paradise. Choices of fresh local fruit, poached fruit compotes and preserved fruit – using the Fowler Vacola method were greatly enjoyed regularly at Greentrees Guest House as we had now become with the greater number of rooms.
The growing demand by guests for our beautifully preserved local fruit – apricots, cherries, peaches, plums, pears, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, figs and gooseberries – at the breakfast buffet also meant a greater demand for take away purchases of these old-fashioned handmade products. This also led to increased sales of bottles of preserved fruit at the markets Greentrees Gourmet Preserves attended. Previous visitors and guests would make a bee-line for the preserves when they saw us there.
The growing popularity in authentic, old-fashioned food, (like grandma used to make), including fine quality, homemade jams, jellies, marmalades, pickles, chutneys, relishes, sauces, butters, pastes and particularly, preserved fruit, has also led to a growing interest in how to do it at home for themselves. To this end Greentrees Gourmet Preserves introduced preserves classes in early 2016.
The classes were held at intervals, usually coinciding with local food festivals, and also by private appointment. Jam classes for up to six people were held in the commercial kitchen at Greentrees Guest House throughout 2016 and 2017. These were very enjoyable.
Also enjoyable were the Retro Fruit Preserving classes. The first of these was held at FOOD Central (The Agrestic Grocer) in April, 2016. The event was a runaway success with over 50 people attending. During 2017 the Retro Fruit Preserving classes were held at the Guest House in the Garden Room. These demonstrations were also very well attended with some 30 people in attendance on each occasion.
Both the Jam Classes and the Retro Fruit Preserving classes will be re-commencing this year. Details of these classes are detailed at the bottom of this information sheet.
On 31st January, 2018, Greentrees Guest House was sold to a charity, but I had decided earlier that I would take Greentrees Gourmet Preserves with me as I needed something to keep me occupied. I love my preserves business and markets. Pursuing these activities made it worthwhile to get out of bed in the morning. They gave my life meaning and purpose.
So… the challenge – where would I resettle and get another commercial kitchen established? What area would provide me with all the facilities and conveniences I needed for a comfortable life as a senior member of the community?
I believed I needed to be located in the Food of Orange District parameters because FOOD now had national and international recognition as a FOOD Festival of considerable distinction. Further Greentrees Gourmet Preserves had been associated with FOOD since 1995 and the relationship had proved a valuable one. If I was to continue to be eligible for membership and association with FOOD, I had to re-locate somewhere within the Orange City Council area, Blayney Shire Council area or Cabonne Shire Council Area.
If I was to continue and expand the preserves business I had to be close to a ready supply of raw materials – in my case locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables. Most of the orchards, berry farms and vineyards are found in the Cabonne Shire Council area. Borenore and Nashdale – both verdant fruit, wine and berry producing areas – lie between Orange and Molong,- only 20 – 30 minutes by car. East of Molong the villages of March and Mullion Creek are only 20 – 30 minutes by car as well.
Two further features in favour of Molong were the very good medical facilities (including a new hospital and medical centre), and the high level of commercial facilities and community activities available in the town. These all combined to make Molong a first-choice location for Greentrees Gourmet Preserves and a new home for me as a senior resident.
Miracles do sometimes happen!! I came out to Molong to pick up jam jars from my supplier and asked him if he knew of any place in Molong which may be suitable for my particular set of requirements and could he recommend a real estate agent please? He thought for a moment and replied. “Actually I might. I will ring the real estate agent and will ring you back.” He did.
At 6.30 pm a week later in December, 2018, I came out to Molong and the real estate agent showed me the place (4 Shields Lane), which is now my home. I never looked at another place . This cottage already had Council approval for a home business. The previous owner had operated a wooden toy manufacturing business here. The 12 metre x 6 metre square unlined garage was ideal for my preserves workshop.
I knew it would cost a considerable sum to bring the garage up to appropriate standards for public and commercial preserves production. In September, 2018, Greentrees Gourmet Preserves re-commenced production at 4 Shields Lane as a home business.
Prior to leaving Greentrees Guest House I ensured the preserves business was as well prepared as possible. I knew I would be without a kitchen for some months, so pre-made as much quantity and as many of my products as I could. Six full pallets of pre-made products went into the wine-cooling storage area at the Orange Co-Op Cool Stores. A further two pallets of prepared frozen fruit went into the freezer storage section there.
Throughout 2018 I attended local and regional markets as they occurred, using the pre-made products I had carefully stored. In this activity I was very ably supported by my good friend Jenny Agland.
As soon as my kitchen was complete I started making product again from my frozen fruit and from local sources as raw materials became available. I was able to attend most of the large local and regional markets from September to mid-December, 2018. Unfortunately, I did not have sufficient stock to attend the two large markets in Sydney – the Granny Smith Apple Festival (mid-October, 2018) or the Lane Cove Picnic in the Park at Tambourine Bay (end November, 2018). Again I could not have made the quantity of product necessary to competently attend all the Central West markets if Jenny had not been available to support me.
With the start of 2019, the fruit production season is now in full swing and Greentrees Gourmet Preserves is once again making product and freezing fruit/vegetables for use later in the year.
Now that Greentrees Gourmet Preserves is re-established at 4 Shields Lane, Molong, jam and preserves classes are once again on the 2019 Agenda.
Two Retro Fruit Preserving Classes are scheduled for the 5th and 12th April, at FOOD Central, in the West Room behind the Orange Visitor Information Centre, 147 Byng Street, Orange. Classes commence at 2.00 pm and cost $20.00/person. Bookings and pre-payment are essential to ensure your place. Afternoon tea is included. Your RSVP should also include notification to Jasmin of any food disabilities. Considerable interested has already been expressed by attendees. We still have places available and would love to hear from you. You get to see the whole process from peeling the fruit to lifting the finished product from the preserving unit. Jasmin will answer questions during afternoon tea while we all wait for the preserves in the unit to complete the cooking process.
Fowler Vacola equipment and Greentrees Gourmet Preserves products will be available for sale on both days in the West Room.
Orange Visitor Information Centre also has an extensive range of Greentrees Gourmet Preserves products available for sale.
The 2019 Schedule for Preserves Classes is still being established. Dates, times, venues, etc, will be notified via the Orange 360 Weekly Newsheet and the FOOD Monthly Newsletter.