TASTY AND FRESH: Theresa and Joe Winkler with Indulge's 'French sandwich' made with peaches from their Belle Pesche Orchards.
TASTY AND FRESH: Theresa and Joe Winkler with Indulge's 'French sandwich' made with peaches from their Belle Pesche Orchards. Paul Donaldson BUN270916PEACH8

Why we can't get enough of these juicy, local peaches

IF PRODUCE were people, you'd find that some of them just seem to get along.

And peach farmers Theresa and Joe Winkler are finding they and their fruit are being welcomed into the Bundaberg region with open arms.

The couple arrived in Childers three years ago looking for a change of pace: after a career growing a variety of fruit and vegetables on a mass scale for the likes of Woolworths in the Gatton region, Joe decided it was time to scale down.

The couple "found a patch of dirt" in the red soils of Childers, where the climate was pleasant and irrigation water was plentiful, and set about planting their own peach orchard.

"We've got 1320 trees and we've planted and budded them by hand," Theresa said.

"We had our first crop last year, but it was a smaller crop and we didn't put ourselves out there too much.

"We were sending to the Brisbane markets, but the markets don't always pay very much, and this year we decided to market it more up here and sell direct to the public as much as we can."

It's a strategy that is reaping rewards.

They have been selling at Bundaberg's Shalom Markets for five weeks and also at Gin Gin and Hervey Bay to a great response from consumers more than happy to pay for peaches that are high quality and grown just down the road.

Their yellow flesh tropic peach is a low chill variety; it does not travel as well as many white flesh varieties - but the flavour is "worth it".

"We had a lady at the markets in Hervey Bay who told us she hadn't tasted a peach that nice since she was in Greece in 1998."

Belle Pesche - meaning "beautiful peach" - is just off the Bruce Hwy and the Winklers hope they will one day be able to accommodate a steady stream of tourists.

They say they are "plodding along" and finding their feet, working out how to manage orders to meet an already voracious demand for their peaches as well as their jam.

They currently supply Indulge, the Bourbong St cafe crowned Queensland's best cafe in the Good Food Guide this year and last year.

"There is so much produce that goes well together. They become friends," Indulge chef and owner Amanda Hinds said of the region's fresh food community.

By way of example she produced a "French sandwich", with roasted Belle Pesche peaches, Mammino passionfruit ice cream and Eden Farms raspberry syrup.

At Indulge, Hinds and her team share the Belle Pesche ethos of keeping things local - and marrying the region's best produce on the plate.

The weather this year allowed for not one but two seasons of the Winklers' peaches.

"Instead of buying imported peaches on the supermarket shelves, people can buy beautiful peaches grown right here," Amanda said.

Belle Pesche Orchards will be at the Childers Night Markets this Friday.



New group to change negative view of Bundy backpacking

premium_icon New group to change negative view of Bundy backpacking

Hostel community band together to promote region

Seafood business shutting up shop

premium_icon Seafood business shutting up shop

Seafood shop to close permanently this week

CAN IT: Councillor calls for high-rise to be scrapped

premium_icon CAN IT: Councillor calls for high-rise to be scrapped

Group says at "least one councillor is listening” about high-rise

Local Partners