David and Ros Sutton own a 12 hectare (30 acre) property at Thulimbah just north of Stanthorpe on Queensland’s Granite Belt. They grow 30 varieties of apples. The business is also home to a juice factory, cidery, distillery and a shed café with a menu focusing on apple based ‘goodies’.
Today Sutton’s Juice Factory, Cidery and Distillery is a multi-faceted boutique business that has grown to include an on-farm cellar door open seven days a week selling varietal apple juice, sparkling cider, apple brandy, grappa and naturally fermented apple cider vinegar. Our goal is to give our customers access to the best quality fresh produce and value-added products available direct from our orchard. A very popular activity for farm visitors is picking the tree-ripened fresh apples that taste wonderful.
When you visit the farm, you can:
Pick your own tree-ripened apples from the trees (seasonal)
Sample a wide range of varietal apple juices, fruit liqueurs, apple ciders, brandies and grappa
Enjoy a home-cooked meal and Merlo coffee in the Shed Café
Sit back, relax and enjoy the country air on the orchard grounds.
The farm is open seven days a week between 10am to 5pm.
On the farm with the Suttons
How long have you grown apples?
"In 1994 David and Ros Sutton purchased one of the original apple farms on the Granite Belt. They followed traditional orcharding practices until 2000 when they diversified into value-adding, making pure varietal apple juice and alcoholic apple cider. "
How long has the orchard been in the family?
How many generations have been apple farmers?
"The Suttons have planted more than 30 varieties of apples on the farm including French cider apple varieties and more traditional eating apple varieties such as Granny Smith, Cripps Pink (sold as Pink Lady™), Jonathon, Mutsu, Gala, Summer Delicious, Early Delicious, Lady Williams, Winesaps and Coxs Orange Pippin. In addition to apples, the family’s orchard grows small quantities of nectarines, apricots and lemons. "
Who do you sell to?
Sutton’s originally focused on commercial distribution, selling to the supermarkets. However, in response to falling apple prices and changing market conditions, the couple began value-adding with the development of pure varietal apple juice in 2000. The juice was soon followed by a range of sparkling and still ciders crafted in accordance with traditional English and French styles, real fruit liqueurs, brandies, grappa, conserves and vinegars. The shed retail outlet was opened in 2002, selling direct to the public in season produce and the Sutton’s wide range of local fruit products. Today, the family’s business has grown from a traditional apple orchard to a multi–faceted boutique business incorporating a juice factory, cidery, distillery and home style café.
The farm shop offers the ‘pick your own’ apples experience during the produce season between mid January and June. A wide range of varieties including Cripps Pink (sold as Pink Lady™), Granny Smith, Mutsu, Royal Gala, Old Style Delicious and Jonathons are available for ‘Pick Your Own’ adventures.
What other apple products do you produce?
All products including our varietal apple juice, apple cider, real fruit liqueurs, brandies and grappa, are hand made by David on the premises using fresh local produce. David is constantly researching and refining his techniques to provide the best quality to his growing customer base. We grow fruit on our farm using environmentally aware orcharding practices. Some of our products include:
Varietal Apple Juice - In their juice factory David and Ros produce varietal apple juice quite unlike any other available in the market. It has that super fresh varietal flavour that can only be obtained by bottling the freshly pressed juice immediately. Varieties available vary depending on the season and demand but may include: Granny Smith, Jonathon, Royal Gala, Fuji, Winesap, Mutsu, Cripps Pink (sold as Pink Lady™) and Cripps Red (sold as Sundowner™). Adding the juice of other fruits to the apple juice has produced an increasingly popular and diversified range of juices which currently include; apple with ginger, lemon, grape, beetroot and lemon, mandarin and orange. All juices are totally free of additives and have been minimally filtered to retain the freshest flavour possible.
Cider - Growing in popularity is the Sutton’s cider which is sparkling and either dry or semi-sweet. It follows the traditions of the English and French ciders.
Brandy - Producing apple brandy is another of David’s specialties. Brandies are distilled wines. The term brandy is used specifically to refer to spirits distilled from any fermented fruit.
Vinegar - Naturally fermented apple cider vinegar is popular both as a gourmet condiment and as a bulk product suitable for veterinary purposes.