Undeterred by the 30C temperatures, thousands of DIY pickers made the most of the reopening of Huntley Berry Farm over the weekend, loading up on plump, fresh strawberries and other goodies.
"It feels awesome to be open again," said farm manager Tony Belmonte.
"I'd say we've had 2,500 to 3,000 people since Thursday.
"People have been dying to be able to get out and pick their own fruit again."
Mr Belmonte said warm weather and recent rains had led to a bumper harvest.
There were long lines of cars waiting to enter the site, and the farm shop struggled to keep up with demand throughout the weekend.
The farm was forced to close to the public on March 25 - the berry season runs from November to May - due to the COVID pandemic.
But while visitors were unable to come and pick their own berries, the farm continued on with its pruning and planting schedule across autumn and winter.
It also expanded its nursery with a new shade house made out of recycled materials.
And on July 14 staff arrived at work to find a new member of the farm family - a newborn goat who was named Baby Covid.
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The farm is predicting its biggest year yet, with workers putting in over 40,000 strawberry plants; 10,000 blackberry shrubs; 12,000 raspberry bushes; and over 60,000 vegetable seedlings including tomato, capsicum, zucchini, cucumber and eggplant.
Huntley Berry Farm is owned and operated by OCTEC and is an Australian Disability Enterprise.
On Sunday they had a special deal where you could pick a kilo of strawbs for $10.
The farm is in the basalt plains of Mount Canobolas, and customers wander about with a bucket handpicking their own produce, which is then weighed and paid for.
There are 11 berry varieties, and the farm also sells fresh berry syrups, homemade jams, chutneys, vinegar and sauces.
A new site at North Orange Shopping Centre will be selling products from the farm from December 1 to 24.
Huntley Berry Farm is open Sunday to Thursday from 10am to 3pm and entry is by gold coin donation.
No bookings are necessary, however regulations around COVID mean that upon arriving visitors need to register via an app or use the sign-in book.
Only eight people are allowed in the shop at one time.
The limited opening hours allows staff to clean the premises during operation and after closing.
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