Spring harvest festival – this weekend

Jacqui Newling, ‘the Cook’, and Scott Hill, ‘the Curator’, in the kitchen at Elizabeth Farm. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Our gardens with fruit and vegetables are extensive; and produce abundantly. It is now spring, and the eye is delighted with a most beautiful variegated landscape; almonds, apricots, pear and apple trees are in full bloom; the native shrubs are also in flower, and the whole country gives a grateful perfume …

So wrote Elizabeth Macarthur of Elizabeth Farm in 1795, and when you visit her home in Rose Hill, near Parramatta – Australia’s oldest surviving homestead – it takes little imagination to place Elizabeth at her writing desk admiring her flourishing and fragrant surrounds.

Elizabeth Farm, home of the Macarthur family from 1793 – 1850s. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

This weekend we celebrate spring and all the season brings at Elizabeth Farm. Our Spring Harvest brings together some of Sydney’s finest artisan food producers who follow traditional and techniques and philosophies in their work, including Feather and Bone meats, The Bread and Butter Project, Cornersmith pickles, Kristen Allan’s cheeses, Sweetness the Patisserie, Eat Me Chutneys and more. Talk to the producers, hear their stories and taste their produce as part of your day out or to take home to share with family and friends. You can also drop into demos by cheese maker Kristen Allan and pickling and ferments with Jamie Edwards of Cornersmith.

Taste our traditional tomato chutney from an heirloom recipe. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Come and meet us – the Cook, Jacqui Newling, and the Curator, Scott Hill – in the shade of the elm tree for short talks hosted by Food and Word’s Barbara Sweeney. Hear how food preparation and preservation techniques used in the colonial era continue to be relevant today, including preserving with Ankit Chopra from Eat Me Chutneys and meat preservation with Grant Hilliard from Feather and Bone. Scott and Westerly Isbaih from Alto Olives will discuss the story of the olive in Australia, including Elizabeth Farm’s very own olive tree, which may have been planted as early as 1805.

Colour, flavour and freshness from spring’s harvest. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Throughout the day, our expert staff will demonstrate how the Macarthurs’ dining table would have been set for a formal meal. Explore the kitchen with its wood-fired stove and scents of drying herbs. Then look for what’s growing in the kitchen garden, and be sure to stop in at the Elizabeth Farm tearooms for homemade Devonshire teas and light refreshments.


A FREE shuttle bus will operate between Parramatta station (Darcy Street) to Elizabeth Farm from 10am – 3.15pm.* Last bus from Parramatta station at 2.30pm.