Along with a thriving restaurant and cafe scene, ample shopping and access to nature trails, Sydney’s Hills District retains pockets of country charm, with plenty of businesses and activities that tie us back to our agricultural beginnings.

Whether you are looking for organic local farm produce or the freshest eggs, there are an array of options in and around the Hills District that ties us back to our Hills heritage of farming and orchards.

Here are some of the ways you can access the bounty of fresh food from nearby Hills Shire farms.

The return of fresh produce

As the pendulum swings away from packaged, imported products, residents in The Hills are looking to source fresh produce from local growers.

For all things organic check out Warrah Farm Shop. Established over 20 years ago, this outlet stakes its claim as the premier supplier of certified biodynamic and organic produce in Sydney’s north west. The food you’ll find here is grown locally and sourced only from certified growers and producers.

Warrah Farm Shop on Harris Road in Dural is open from 9 to 5 on weekdays or from 9 to 3 on Saturdays. You can also explore joining a Co-op hub and picking up a weekly box of seasonal fruit, veg or both.

Also in Dural, Hills Organics offers an organic wholefoods store and cafe. The founders are passionate about health and well being, and are committed to sharing the freshest, seasonal, fair-trade and organic products. The majority of dishes on the cafe menu are free from gluten and refined sugar.

Closer to home, Northwest Growers is a family-owned business in Castle Mall. Most of the vegetables on sale are from local growers in Windsor and Galston, and a lot of the fruit comes straight from the owners’ orchard.

Local farmers markets

The Urban List rates Castle Hill Farmers and Fine Food Markets as one of the best farmers’ markets in Sydney. Held at the Castle Hill Showground on the second and fourth Saturday of every month, there are close to 100 stalls with an array of locally made gourmet food, including cheeses, herbs and spices, bread, pasta and fresh eggs. Buyers will also find fresh fruit and vegetables to take home. It is recommended you arrive early (before 8:30 am) so that you don’t miss out on the best picks.

Up the road, Rouse Hill hosts an Organic Food Market on Saturdays. You’ll find a handful of stalls at the Rouse Hill Town Centre from 9 am till 1 pm.

Further north in Glenorie, the Growers Market is held on the fourth Sunday of each month. As well as sampling and buying a wide variety of fresh produce and tasty delicacies, visitors can meet the growers and producers who come from nearby farms.

Westmead also hosts a farmers’ market every second Wednesday from 7:30 am until noon in front of the hospital. Organic foods are on sale along with artisanal deli goods and honey from local beekeepers.

Farm fun for the kids

If you’re looking for activities in the Hills Shire, why not provide an educational and fun day out by taking the children off to pick their own fruit at a local orchard or farm?

Head up the Hawkesbury and you’ll find several farms which allow the public to come by and pick mandarins, berries, stone fruit and tomatoes. Opening hours depend on the produce and the season so check out the Harvest Trails and Markets website to find out when the following are open:

As these orchards are closed to the public between harvests, an alternative to fruit picking is Nancy’s Freedom Farms in Arcadia. Here, children have the opportunity to see a working farm with free range chickens. In addition to collecting eggs, chasing chickens and holding chicks (depending on the time of year), children can interact with other farm animals. Bookings are essential so check the Facebook page for more information.

Sourcing locally grown produce is just one way to make the most of life in the Sydney Hills but you don’t always have to be the buyer. The area was originally settled because of its fertile soil — so why not try your hand at growing your own at home?

Jane Booty, Tony Didd and team

Jane Booty, Tony Didd and team

Whether you live in The Hills or are looking to move into The Hills District, there’s nothing we love more than helping people with Hills Shire homes! Caring and considered, our real estate agency doors have been open for 23 years, so we’re very much part of the fabric of The Hills District community.

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