A toxic mix of scorching heat, high humidity and a lack of rain has left Maitland's fresh food revolution - and the country's first earth market, hanging on by a thread.
Growing vegetables has proven to be almost impossible in recent weeks.
Plants are frying in the heat - despite mulch and shade cloth, and in most cases there isn't enough water available for farmers to adequately nourish them.
Four producers have already pulled out of the February 6 Slow Food Earth Market in The Levee.
Two of those have shut their farm gates and cannot consider returning until the winter months when growing conditions should be more favourable.
The remaining producers will battle on and bring what they have, but don't expect their usual wide variety of food.
"They've been doing such a good job trying to keep the plants alive in these conditions, it's a very difficult task," Slow Food Earth Market Maitland chairwoman Amorelle Dempster said.
"They need to receive an income to keep going on the farm so we as a city need to get behind them and do whatever we can to help them through this difficult time."
Even farming duo Matthew and Liam Dennis, in East Maitland, are struggling - and they can irrigate.
They haven't bothered with their usual summer crops like tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchinis. Watermelons, rockmelons and pumpkins are the only foods that have survived.
The bleak situation spreads much further than the farmer's pocket. It means there is less fresh food for the city's shoppers who regularly come to the earth market to support local growers.
It also means farmers cannot keep up roadside stalls and sell to chefs in the area who want to put local food on local plates.
"We want people to come and support them and to buy what they do have," Ms Dempster said.
"We've moved the market to the morning to help them as well so their produce isn't out in the heat of the day. It's now starting at 8.30am.
"When their harvest is limited, or they can't harvest anything it is going to have an impact on their income. It's not just the loss of income from the market, it's the ongoing loss of income throughout their business and the loss of local food for the community."
Paddocks around Maitland are boasting a green tinge after recent storms brought rain, but a lot of fruit and vegetable growers missed out on the deluge.
The Slow Food Earth Market is held in The Levee on the first and third Thursday of the month in central Maitland.