Steicke family continues Angas Valley tradition

Creative: Rick and Rosemary Steicke have created a thriving business, Gully Gardens, which has helped them continue in the fruit industry. Photo - Stuart Taverner.

Creative: Rick and Rosemary Steicke have created a thriving business, Gully Gardens, which has helped them continue in the fruit industry. Photo - Stuart Taverner.

Gully Gardens, in Angaston,  is a beautiful 32-acre property run by Rick and Rosemary Steicke which has been in their family for more than 50 years.

Growing and drying traditional stone and pome fruits, including apricots, peaches, pears, plums, nectarines and apples, on this property dates back to over 100 years.

Previously selling their fruits to large processing and packing companies, including Gawler Park, Angas Park and Fruit Growers in Angaston, and with the fruit industry reaching its peak in the 1990s, times were about to change, with the allowance of dried fruit starting to be imported into Australia from South Africa, Turkey and China.

The couple took over the property in 2000 from Rick’s parents and soon realised they had to make major changes, or lose the industry that once dominated the Valley, like wine grapes do now.

To stay financially viable from the return they were receiving for their fruit, the couple needed other income as a back-up and at the time they had school bus runs and a vineyard, but that was also about to be lost.

The decision was made to try and market their own product and in 2006, the family opened its farm shop, offering dried and fresh fruit.

A dream of Rick’s as a child was to own his own chocolate shop, and as their popularity increased, so did their motivation and the business started creating all kinds of new and interesting confectionery lines.

Today Gully Gardens revolves around growing and harvesting, not only traditional Barossa dried fruits, but also includes a range of sulphur-free products.

A large range of confectionery is all made on site with the beautiful fruits, including classics like choc dip apricots and fruit logs, but there are also new and exciting lines like licorice lilliputs, raspberry blossoms and ginger gumnuts.

A range of exciting jams and sauces is also available.

The business is open to the public and can also cater for group bookings, including informative talks.

The Steicke family is proud to be part of the Barossa food culture and have a stall at the Barossa Farmers market.

The farm shop is located at 175 Gawler Park Road, in Angaston. Phone 8564 2606

Yum: Dried apricots from Gully Gardens can be used in a variety of ways, including a delicious dried apricot jam.  Photo - supplied.

Yum: Dried apricots from Gully Gardens can be used in a variety of ways, including a delicious dried apricot jam. Photo - supplied.

Dried Apricot Jam

Ingredients:

450g dried apricots

1.35kg sugar

1.4 litres water

Method:

Soak apricots overnight in water. Next day boil the soaked fruit and water together for half an hour until soft and mushy.

Then add sugar and boil for another half an hour, stirring frequently or until thick.

Bottle and seal while still hot. Delicious served on scones.