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Leppington Valley Farm and Cafe

Home > Sydney > Cafes | Farms | Food and Wine
by Mualla Aydogan (subscribe)
So good to see you here! The kettle's on, want a cuppa? Take a seat while I get that for you. In the meantime, head on to @mualla.ea on Instagram to follow my personal journey or have a read of my work via I'll brb.
Published May 25th 2021
Entrance to Leppington Valley Farm. Photographed by Mualla Aydogan.
Entrance to Leppington Valley Farm. Photographed by Mualla Aydogan.

Tucked away in an unassuming corner of Sydney's South West is a prickly pear and fig farm with a cosiness sure to add some charm to your day.

As you park your car and walk down the large driveway, a café peers out with all its rustic glory, framed by a farm gate and fig trees to its left, and a double-storey house to its right - making you feel like you're walking right into the warm embrace of your best friend's Italian grandparents.

In fact, it is still home for the Marando family, whose parents Vittorio and Julia decided, almost forty years ago, to turn their Australian land into something most reminiscent of their home in Calabria - a farm growing vegetables and fruits best suited to Italian cuisine. As years went by, the couple's family grew with the farm, which had come to offer two main crops - figs and prickly pears. The fruit would regularly be packed by the family for early morning deliveries to markets, and the tiresome feat would become almost festive with the homemade treats Julia would serve them. Friends and locals who knew them would also visit to buy the fruit and sample these treats, which, by 2008, became delicacies made and sold by the farm's kitchen due to locals' popular demand to purchase them.

As you near the shed-style café, you're pleasantly surprised by the sheer size of it and all that it offers - boxes of fresh figs and prickly pears for sale welcome you at the entrance, eager to introduce you to all the homemade goodness waiting inside. The laid-back ambience of the place allows you to explore the products on display at your own pace, possibly taking a mental note of what you'd like to purchase on your way out. Years on, Julia's biscotti and shortbread range still remain strong favourites, as they sit proudly packaged amongst the homemade jams, chocolate-dipped dried figs, balsamics and wines.

Leppington Valley Farm Cafe. Photographed by Mualla Aydogan.
Leppington Valley Farm Cafe. Photographed by Mualla Aydogan.

'They're all family recipes,' says Robyn, who's been working for the family since the café's opening two years ago. 'It's all in the kitchen in a book, and no one's allowed to take it.' Usually a friendly face who greets you from the café's kitchen at the back or steps out of the house with an apron as you walk in, she sits across from me at one of the tables, reflecting on the sentiment and hard work the farm is run with.

'Prickly pear is an innocuous weed,' she explains, 'you've got to have a license to grow it. If one leaf drops off, it'll start growing another tree. So every year they plough half of it back into the ground. It could end up in Wollongong if we didn't control it!'

But what exactly do these interesting fruits growing on a plant from the cactus family taste like? Robyn has a rather interesting answer for this. 'They come in three colours. Orange, red, and the green. They've all got different tastes, but everybody tastes something different. To me, the red one tastes like watermelon. When I had the green one it reminded me of kiwi fruit but my partner reckons it tastes like honeydew melon - some say nashi pear.'

Whilst the fruit's season only lasts between December and early April, the farm's café is open year-round, attracting customers with its great coffee, dried figs, Julia's delicacies and other sweets baked on the premises by Robyn. 'The place always smells like jam because we're always making it,' she says, as I catch a hint of cinnamon, citrus and fig in the air. 'When I bake on Fridays you've got numerous smells, the kitchen is right next door too so it wafts in here. People walk in and say 'mmm something smells nice' - it is like being at home.'

Feeling a little cheeky, I ask her whether the fridge filled with her baking are also family recipes, and I'm told that everybody loves her scones and that it took her years to perfect them so she gives the recipe to no one. This follows a confession about how her scones are better than the ones made at the kitchen she used to work for before - now there's a reason to head over there this weekend to enjoy a cuppa next to homemade sweets with a story, taking in the sweeping views of Camden from the café's balcony.

Leppington Valley Farm. Photographed by Mualla Aydogan.
Leppington Valley Farm. Photographed by Mualla Aydogan.

Leppington Valley Farm. Photographed by Mualla Aydogan.
Leppington Valley Farm. Photographed by Mualla Aydogan.

Off-season trading hours are as below:
Thursday - Sunday
9:00am - 4.30pm.

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Where: 129 George Rd, Leppington NSW 2179
Your Comment
Very interesting and informative article Mualla, and a great location.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|2610) 26 days ago
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