For more than four decades Maggie Beer has tended her farm in the heart of the Barossa and has grown it into an iconic business offering guests farm-fresh dishes at her café, delicious products in her shop and even a place to stay in the centre of the heritage orchard she bought next door.
Maggie’s Orchard is now an experience for all the senses, and that’s exactly what Maggie intended when she first put down roots in the Barossa.
“Handpicking from our own Heritage orchard has been a dream of mine from our very first days in the Barossa and is the literal fruits of heartfelt labour picked at their peak of ripeness,” Maggie says.
“Our orchard offers me the chance to share old fashioned flavour beyond our own table, and that is the essence of what I strive for.”
Maggie says that the five-hectare orchard also has a special place in her family’s life.
“The Orchard is where our two daughters first formed their memories of life in the Barossa, playing hide and seek amongst the fruit trees of the orchard that neighboured our Pheasant Farm property at the time,” Maggie says.
“When the chance to buy the orchard arose, I needed no convincing of its worth and set about nurturing the heritage fruit trees to continue the time honoured craft of growing and drying, this time for our own range of gourmet products and being able to offer them through the Farmshop.”
Buying the orchard didn’t just offer Maggie baskets of fruit, but also a farmhouse to restore and offer to guests as an extension of her hospitality.
“By rebuilding the original farmhouse in the middle of the orchard, we’re able to continue another tradition dear to me; old fashioned country hospitality,” says Maggie.
“It’s such a welcome escape from the busy-ness of day to day life.”
“There is something completely tangible but difficult to capture in words about being surrounded by the rhythm of the seasons, drawing inspiration for cooking by the food you can see outside your window, and the feeling of being nurtured that slowing life down brings – every reason for us to create Orchard House for guests visiting the Barossa to enjoy.”
Sitting on the other side of the orchard is the Farmshop where Maggie shares all the orchard’s produce along side her iconic products with visitors.
“It has evolved since Colin and I first established it over 40th years ago, first as the Pheasant Farm restaurant and then as the Farmshop,” Maggie says.
“It is still the place to come and taste many of the products or just sit and enjoy a glass of wine with cheese; or a cake and coffee overlooking the dam.”
Maggie says the mission of Maggie’s Orchard is to preserve the knowledge and traditions of farm life.
“The Heritage Orchard and the Pheasant Farm are very dear to me, holding equal measures of sentimental value and the chance to preserve an all but lost tradition of fruit growing, beyond grapes, in the Valley,” Maggie says.
“We simply can’t lose the tradition of the landscape and all that heritage. I hope this place will be in the family forever.”
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