Land of plenty: Discover Maitland’s farm life and produce

From the traditional owners, the Wonnarua people, to the European settlers of the early 1800s, Maitland’s plentiful lands, nourished by the Hunter River, are steeped in rich agricultural history.

Today the local community remains deeply rooted to its farming traditions and is passionate about showcasing the very best of the region to visitors from near and far.  

There’s no finer display than the annual Tocal Field Days, celebrating an impressive 39 years from Friday 5 to Sunday 7 May 2023. Regarded as the premier agricultural event throughout the Hunter, Newcastle and Central Coast, farmers and enthusiasts alike will gather to share the latest in farming innovations, machinery, livestock, food and wine, craft and entertainment from more than 320 exhibitors.

Offering something for everyone, take in a live cooking demonstration by celebrity pastry chef, Anna Ployviou, enjoy the free concert by Amber Lawrence on the Saturday night, or treat the kids to a pony ride. View the interactive map and buy tickets on the Tocal Field Days website.

Keen to get your hands on the region’s freshest seasonal produce? Head to the Earth Market Maitland from 8.30am to 1.30pm on the first and third Thursday of each month at The Levee. Meet local farmers and producers and buy direct from the source. Prompted in 2016 to address food waste and rescue a doomed crop of pumpkins, the first slow food market in Australia was born.  

Local farmer Jesse Clarke and his team at Phoenix Park Farm are champions of the slow food movement and provide organic and sustainable seasonal produce to the local community and restaurants. Head to their website or socials to see the latest crop being harvested, or visit their stall at the Earth Market Maitland to pick up a box of seasonal veg. The team also provide hands on learning experiences for children through their Growing Future Farmers educational programs.

Dedicated to teaching sustainable agriculture practices, Purple Pear Farm is a biodynamic permaculture farm that offers educational courses and farm tours. Book a school holiday farm tour or an unforgettable birthday party, where kids can feed the animals and explore the market gardens. Memberships for weekly veggie boxes are also available.

Go the whole hog and truly escape it all with a farmstay. Families and groups will love Hunter River Retreat, located a short 10 minute drive from Maitland. Rustic cedar cottages offer picturesque views of surrounding bushland. Soak in the spa on the verandah, explore a bushwalking trail, or meet local the residents – Smoky the horse, Molly and Murphy the Scottish Highlander cows, chickens, kangaroos, native birds and more.

Couples, retreat to Donnybrook Eco Retreat in Luskintyre for a glamping experience in a luxury permanent tent set alongside a picturesque dam and surrounded by views of the countryside. Wander the 100 acres of farmland, meet the animals, or don’t do very much at all. For an extra touch of romance, pick up some fresh flowers on route from the farmgate stall at Lorn Rose Farm.

Tranquil Vale Vineyard produces award winning wines specialising in semillon, chardonnay and shiraz grown in their own backyard. Couples can enjoy a glass of wine overlooking the vines from the private balcony while staying at the Loft, or groups can get cozy in front of the fireplace in one of the self contained cottages sleeping up to five people.

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