Nan’s been dying to take me to the Turners Beach Berry Patch ever since she saw punnets of their exquisite looking strawberries for sale at the Burnie Farmers Market. It wasn’t a sudden onset thing, she’d been talking about it for a while. It seems the whole of northern Tasmania is talking about the place actually. Just before I arrived, the local council had confiscated a sign they had on the side of the road. It was a picture of a giant strawberry with an arrow pointing the direction to their property. Apparently it was a distraction to drivers. Well, I doubt the Berry Patch has ever had more publicity, and the incident may well have bought out droves of Tasmanians by way of protest against the council’s actions.
We decided to escape the heat with a road trip. As it turns out, it was a genius idea. We took the coast road from Burnie through to Ulverston. I never get tired of that road. The northern coastline of Tasmania is rocky and just a little dramatic. The towns are lovely. I think Penguin would need to be my favourite. It has some good looking food places these days. The road is built with the sea on one side and towns on the other. Towns like Sulphur Creek (a name I’m not fond of, but a place that looked inviting) have planted the sea-side of the road with garden cuttings; whatever the residents have felt like. It looks wonderful. If you didn’t know where you were going, the Berry Patch would be a bit tricky to find; it’s on the off ramp from Turners Beach back onto the highway.
We weren’t the only ones who’d decided to make the trip. I was pleasantly surprised by the wood fired pizza oven outside. After ogling the berry dessert cabinet, we ordered the gourmet lamb pizza. Service was friendly and helpful. The pizza was truly fantastic. It had a great base, suitably crisped to perfection in the wood oven and strong enough to hold the filling, but still lovely and light, bubbled from the hot oven. In addition to the standard cheese tomato base, it was topped with chucks of quality (I’d say backstrap) marinaded lamb; rosemary; great sundried tomatoes; rosemary; olives and a light drizzle of yoghurt. It was impeccable. I confess I may have eaten the best bits before I took the photograph.
I have to say though, I think it was the house mixed ice cream that was drawing the crowds. After wandering through the raised rows of strawberries to pick our own punnet, Nan and I bought ourselves a waffle cone each of this strawberry confection. I was not disappointed. I don’t know if you’ve seen the machines before, but they have those things with a giant cone shaped vessel in which the operator scoops ice cream, then frozen (local in this case) berries, before a giant drill shaped cone is lowered to churn the two ingredients together while forcing them out into the waiting ice cream cone. The resulting deliciousness has the texture of soft serve ice cream (with none of the pork fat). Our cones were greatly enjoyed as we beat the heat (in more ways than one) licking them before they melted all over us.
It was a fine day out, recommended to all in the area, or travelling through. Turners Beach Berry Patch is open seven days a week from 9-5. They close on public holidays.