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May 27, 2011 / amyjmcintosh

Bondi Farmers Market

Pic by Joni Morris

Something wonderful has happened in my neck of the woods. They’ve started a farmers market at the local public school every Saturday. It’s called Bondi Farmers Market and it’s an absolute blessing to supermarket-fatigued consumers like me who have been crying out for more seasonal, diverse and fresh produce.

I lost touch with the seasons during my early adulthood when supermarket chains started messing with the seasons by selling produce all year round. Great for convenience, but quite disastrous for one’s taste buds. My palate has taken a good thrashing in the process. Like many Aussies, I’ve become accustomed to flavourless tomatoes, floury carrots and less than average apples.

It’s a sad state of affairs when you have to consult Wikipedia to check what’s in season. When you can buy pineapples in winter and apples in summer, you can hardly blame us for losing touch. As for biodiversity, well don’t even get me started on that topic. Did you know, for example, there’s such a thing as purple and white carrots? In Bill Bryson’s book, “At Home”, he talks about the plenteous amount of produce available during Victorian times. He says, “Of apples alone, there were, almost unbelievably, more than 2000 varieties to choose from – Worcester pearmain, Beauty of Bath, Cox’s orange pippin and so on in long and poetic vein”. Begs the question, what exactly are we missing out on as modern-day consumers?

The fruit and veg you see on your supermarket shelves merely scratch the surface of what’s dished up by Mother Nature. All in the name of ease of transport and economic efficiency.  In a similar vein to the sea and tree change movement which saw city slickers run for the hills in search of a better quality of life, many urban dwellers are turning their backs on the supermarkets in favour of better quality produce. This is where farmers markets come into play.

You wouldn’t believe my delight at discovering the Bondi Farmers Market. Running every Saturday from 9am til 1pm, the market is brimming with fresh seasonal fruit and veg, organically grown meat and poultry, just picked flowers, artisan breads, homemade jams, farmstead cheeses, seafood, olive oils, and herbs and spices. With a promise to be open rain, hail or shine, the markets are a fantastic way to get your weekend groove on. Everything sold is made with love, and by the people who grow or make it. Think seasonal fruit and veg.

I was like a crazed woman kid in a lolly shop as I made my way around the market and chatted with the lovely stallholders. Such a refreshing change from the anonymity and soullessness of supermarket shopping. The ladies from the Haweksbury’s Willowbrae Chevre Cheese gave me a quick lesson on the different varieties of kale (so pretty it could almost double as a bunch of flowers) as well as stunning purple and white carrots. Who knew there was such a thing?! Oh, and they had baskets of beautiful fresh herbs for $3 a bunch.

Kale from Willowbrae Chevre Cheese.

The prettiest kale I've ever seen.

Purple and white carrots from Willowbrae Chevre Cheese.

Purple and white carrots from Willowbrae Chevre Cheese.

Kale from Willowbrae Chevre Cheese.

Kale from Willowbrae Chevre Cheese.

It’s fair to say that Addiction Food whip up the best brownies on the planet. They’ll even tell you that on their website, and it’s true. Better still, they’re wheat, egg and dairy-free which is perfect for a girl like me. It tasted just like a normal brownie. I am going to try to replicate it in my kitchen, so stay tuned for that.

Addiction Food brownie

World's best brownie by Addiction Food.

Paddy the Baker specialises in traditional Irish breads. I don’t think their soda bread would be as good as Paul’s wheat and yeast-free variety, but who am I to judge?! I’ll be sure to post Paul’s amazing recipe soon, so keep your eyes out for that.

Paddy the Baker

Traditional Irish breads from Paddy the Baker.

The lovely Jonathan from Stockman’s Ridge Wines in Orange gave me a quick 101 on what constitutes a perfect pinot gris as I snuck a taste of their 2008 Rider Shiraz and 2009 Outlaw Shiraz (both of which won bronze medals at the Sydney Royal Wine Show).

Stockman's Ridge Wines

Stockman's Ridge Wines

Stockman's Ridge Wines

Stockman's Ridge Wines

I couldn’t resist a taste test of Red Delicious and Ginger Snap tea from The Rabbit Hole organic tea bar. I made an impulse purchase of a Bodum Tea for One cup so I can be civilised and sip tea at my desk throughout the day at work.

Red Delicious and Ginger Snap tea by The Rabbit Hole

Red Delicious and Ginger Snap tea by The Rabbit Hole

Toffee apple tea by The Rabbit Hole.

Toffee apple tea by The Rabbit Hole.Pic by Joni Morris

One of the most impressive stalls in terms of produce and variety was Field to Feast. You may have read about them on Not Quite Nigella. I plan to do my weekly grocery shop here every Saturday from now on. The stall was a kaleidoscope of green with fresh herbs, lettuces and vibrant veggies generously sprawled across the counter. They had containers filled to the brim with unusual chilli varieties which I can never find at the green grocer – Scotch Bonnets and the like. Then there were tubs of miniature light green zucchini and a stunning display of pumpkins fit for a Halloween party.

Field to Feast

Field to Feast dishes up the freshest and most interesting produce around.

Pumpkins from Field to Feast

Pumpkins from Field to Feast

Field to Feast chillies

Field to Feast chilliesPic by Joni Morris

Vicki from La Pizza Cucina told me a great story about how she ate the best pizza of her life in Venice and decided when she got back to Australia that she simply had to replicate the pizza and turn it into a business. They sell gluten-free bases without toppings, so I might have to grab some next time I’m there.  If you can’t make it to the markets, you can find La Pizza Cucina at David Jones Food Halls and other gourmet food stores.

Vicki from La Pizza Cucina

La Pizza Cucina's most popular pizza is the Margheurita.

I’m looking forward to buying some wooden chopping boards from Simon at Byron Bay Boards so I can channel Jamie Oliver at my next dinner party and serve food on them. They’ve been seen on Masterchef with Maggie Beer, so I figure they must be good. They say you can look after your wooden chopping boards by rubbing them with grape or vegetable oil.

Byron Bay Chopping Boards

Byron Bay Chopping Boards.

The Apple Man makes the long trip from Batlow to see his shiny Pink Lady and Granny Smith apples. I can feel apple muffins, apple pie and apple cake recipes coming on. Wheat-free, of course.

The Apple Man

The Apple Man sells crunchy apples from Batlow, NSW.

The Apple Man

Batlow apples

Another stall to check out is Farmer Jo natural muesli. I haven’t tried it yet, but there’s a wheat-free variety that I have my eye on. Food writer, Kate Gibbs gives Farmer Jo a good wrap on her blog. It has some of the funkiest packaging I’ve seen in a while.

Farmer Jo muesli

Farmer Jo muesli

I couldn’t possibly wrap up this post without doing a quick shout out to:

  • the organic macadamia stall ($9.50 a pack)
  • gluten-free Black Angus sausages from Spring Lamb Beef for $10 a kilo
  • the dairy-free, handmade choccie by Jiradan Organics
  •  the man who sells fresh local strawberries
  • Old Man’s Gully sausage sizzle
  • Mirrool Creek pasture-fed lamb
  • the spatchcocks from down south
  • the exquisite exotic mushrooms from the Southern Highlands
  • Popes Free Range Eggs for $8 a carton

Bondi Farmers Market

Bondi Beach Public School (On Campbell Parade) Bondi Beach 2026
Open 9am-1pm every Saturday

My next assignment might involve coming up with recipes with food I’ve bought from the market. Sound like a plan?

4 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Tina McIntosh / May 28 2011 8:44 pm

    How smart is the lady who ate pizza in Venice and turned it into a successful business in Australia? I love reading about people like that who turn their dream into a reality. Great read. I look forward to the next post where you cook with some of the ingredients from the market.

    • amyjmcintosh / May 28 2011 9:06 pm

      Yeah, smart lady indeed. Looking forward to trying her pizza. She has a gluten-free variety which is perfect for me. I bought a gigantic pumpkin from the market today so I’ll make some soup from that and post the recipe soon.

  2. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella / May 30 2011 10:02 pm

    Thankyou so much for the story and for the lovely shoutout! 🙂 I was wondering what the markets were like and I haven’t been around for them. Must pay them a visit as it sounds like there are lots of good things 🙂

    • amyjmcintosh / May 31 2011 7:10 pm

      Thanks Lorraine! I think you’ll love the market. Make sure you grab one of those brownies… to die for! Also, I heard you can have your kitchen knives sharpened for $25. Not bad at all!

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