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If there’s one silver lining to be drawn from the pandemic, it would be the appreciation of our backyard. We travelled around our own states, rediscovered our hometowns, and connected with locals, specifically growers, makers, and purveyors. This seems to have sparked an interest in where our meal comes from and the production process, ushering us into the resurgence of the humble weekend farmers market.
Farmer’s markets are popping up in parks every Saturday and Sunday across the city, and Sydneysiders have embraced them — reusable tote bags in tow. There’s nothing more fulfilling than waking up early, strolling through a market, picking up fresh vegetables and fruit, baked goods, and even a bunch of flowers to brighten up the home. Not only do you have a chance to meet the growers, but markets also offer a great opportunity to spend time in your local community or get to know a neighbouring one.
The sustainable benefits of farmer’s markets are plentiful. They provide goods directly to consumers, cutting out extra transportation or production costs which can lower their carbon footprint. You can also get the less-than-perfect fruit that doesn’t make the cut at supermarkets simply because it’s bruised or out of shape, saving them from going to waste. These markets are a cultural institution we temporarily lost in a haze of endless supermarket aisles and mass production. Now that they’re back, we’re looking forward to a more ethical and sustainable future, and you can too.
This weekend, why not get outside and shop in the open air at Sydney’s favourite farmer’s markets.
This market is unlike the rest. Yes, you will find fresh veggies and fruit, bread and even olive oil, but every Saturday, when stalls set up their marquees, it’s a movement—a food revolution. The community is dedicated to promoting a sustainable food system and are more than happy to help newcomers learn a thing or two about food choices, chemical-free choices, and eating seasonally.
Fill your tote bag with seasonal fruit and vegetables (organic & low chemical input), free-range poultry and eggs, rare breed meats, fish, handmade pasta, artisan cheeses, condiments, organic bread, olive oil, honey, flowers, herbs and, much, much more.
When: Every Saturday, 8 am-1 pm
The Cambridge Markets houses the biggest selection of fresh produce in Sydney, so whether you need a pumpkin or an obscure ingredient like a cumquat, chances are you’ll find it here, by the box load. All produce is supplied and sold by local farmers, most direct from the farm earlier that morning.
Although fresh veg and fruit aren’t the only goods, you will find here. Expect pony rides for the kids and a sprawling display of arts and crafts to browse. You can munch on gozleme stretched and pressed right before your eyes or peruse the French stalls peddling artisan cheese and gifts for that special someone in your life or yourself. Go on, spoil yourself.
When: Wednesday and Saturday, 8 am-2 pm
Rain or shine, you will find the Northside Produce Markets nestled in a green parklet flanked by jacaranda trees on either side, packed with locals picnicking on croissants and bagels. There are around 50 stores selling everything from free-range eggs to flowers by the bucket, tea blends, and creamy burrata.
One of the biggest draws of this market is the ready-to-eat food options. Brooklyn Boy Bagels, arguably Sydney’s best bagels, sells them by the bag full and will even smear them for you so you can eat them as you walk around. Sonoma Bakery has a glass case full of pastries and often a long line, so get in early; they sell out quickly. You can bring your dog and the kids and make a morning of it. St Leonards Park is just on the other side of the road and provides ample picnic spots to enjoy some cheese and bread on a sunny day.
When: First and third Saturday of every month, 8 am -12 pm.
Sitting at the most northerly tip of Sydney, this market is more of a stop for tourists and day-trippers, but likely where locals hang out, shopping and lingering around for a long lunch.
The market offers various products, including fresh bread and homemade cakes. There’s even some local honey, but the main item sold here are high-quality homewares, fashion and jewellery from local markers. After sifting through the treasures, head over to the food stalls for lunch. There’s a heartwarming Vietnamese Pho, or dig into some traditional fish and chips with freshly squeezed juice to wash it down.
When: Fourth Sunday of the month.
This market in a car park is where locals flock to do their weekly shopping. Fill a basket with farm-fresh produce, fill your keep cup with hot coffee, and peruse the only dedicated foodie market in the Sutherland Shire. Walk around and be guided by the whiff of fresh crepes, searing on the pan, filled with strawberries and drizzled with Nutella. There are Portuguese tarts, croissants, fluffy doughnuts, and a range of seasonal everyday produce, including carrots, mushrooms, and honey.
Pick a bunch of flowers for the apartment or a tea towel made by a local. There are also keep cups for sale and other fun Homegoods to shop for. Don’t forget to stop for a bite to eat or sample savoury and sweet treats along the way.
When: Every Saturday, 8 am to 1 pm
There’s no shortage of truss tomatoes, berries, and leafy greens here, but if we’re being honest, Flour and Stone’s lemon cake is reason enough to venture to this market. Set within the Orange Grove primary school, you can expect to see the locals wandering around, picking up essential ingredients and lining up for a bacon and egg roll from Bowen’s—a must. There are tables layered with pastries, cookies, organic vegetables and fruits.
You can grab a saucisson for your charcuterie board or rummage through eskies for free-range steaks. If you’re hungry, you might recognise some purveyors, including Eat Fuh pho, and Flour and Stone.
When: Every Saturday, 8 am to 1 pm
Sydney Olympic Park
If you are looking for cruelty-free goods, need a vegan snack, or want to stock up on crystals, look no further. Sydney Vegan Market is a compilation of over 100 stores, peddling everything from food and drink to homewares, fashion, art, and even cosmetics. You can start the morning with a free yoga session or a cup of chai in hand and end with a picnic on the grass surrounded by good company and good food.
The main point of this market is to educate and get people involved in cruelty-free fashion and sustainable goods. There are charity stalls supporting various causes, and the market itself is free from single-use plastics. They’re also passionate about dogs, so bring your pooch along; they might end up featured on the dedicated Dogs of Vegan Market Sydney Instagram page.
When: Third Sunday of every month, 9 am to 4 pm
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