The Sydney Royal Easter Show is an agricultural highlight of the year with farmers, growers and other exhibitors coming from all over Australia to showcase their talents and produce on a grand scale. With about 7000 exhibitors entering in 35,000 competitions – ranging from dog shows to produce dioramas – it can be hard to be noticed. With last week’s win for Lake Illawarra High in the ‘Schools District Display’ diorama category, a few people might be wondering just how connected the Illawarra is to agriculture.

The Illawarra is a small region of New South Wales, taking up less than 1% of the total land area. Of this area, 31% is dedicated to agriculture, spread across 146 farms with a total of 400 workers.

Some Illawarra farms are receiving acclaim for their product. Among these is Glenbernie Orchard at Darkes Forest which sells their own apples and homemade apple cider. Owner Jo Fahey said that although selling apples is still their main business, they have branched out and expanded their product range. They have also adapted the way they sell their products. “It’s not really beneficial for us to send our produce to Sydney buyers because costs are too high, however being in the location where we are makes it easy for buyers to come to our farm and pick their own apples. This has turned the orchard into more of a tourism hotspot.”