Each weekend (and some weekdays) in Sydney, public parks, primary-school grounds and city streets are transformed into colourful community food markets. Sydney’s many markets are where growers and producers from the city and surrounds sell the fruits of their labour to a clientele eager to shirk the monotony of supermarket shopping – and nab freshly cooked market fare for breakfast.
Carriageworks Farmers Market
With a creative director like Kitchen by Mike’s Mike McEnearney and a space like Carriageworks, it’s hard to go wrong. But this is a market with ambition: McEnearney wants Carriageworks Farmers Market to become an international drawcard like London’s incredible Borough Market. In pursuit of this goal, the market is an ode to the local and seasonal – think zucchini flowers, olive oil straight from the barrel and Pepe Saya cultured butter. It’s also a place where market-goers spend time drinking coffee in the sunshine, listening to live music and running into friends doing their own weekly shop.
When: Saturday, 8am-1pm
Where: 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh
What to buy: Some Saturdays you’ll find Kylie Kwong herself presiding over the steamer and doling out fresh, fragrant dumplings and shallot pancakes at the Billy Kwong stand.
Marrickville Organic Food Market
Don’t eat breakfast before arriving at this Addison Road market – the temptation from the many snack stalls will prove your undoing. There’s fresh produce, cute locally made wares and even pony rides. A visit to the Marrickville Organic Food Market is not complete without a quick pop-in to next door’s Reverse Garbage, where the imaginative can find any number of useful discarded treasures such as craft items, old signs, hessian sacks and wooden pallets.
When: Saturday, 9am-3pm
Where: Addison Road Centre, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville
What to buy: Carnivores will be lured from the street to the scent of spit-roasted lamb rolls smothered in gravy from Waroo Lamb.
See also: We Found the Best Brunch in Sydney
Pyrmont Growers Market
Pyrmont Growers Market is one for the early birds. Leash the dog, grab a bag and stock up on free-range eggs, organic fruit and veg, handmade chocolates and smallgoods then take a breather with a cup of coffee while your knives are sharpened at Sabre Sharpening.
When: Every fourth Saturday (check website for details), 7:30am to 12pm
Where: Opposite the Star on Pirrama Road, Pyrmont
What to buy: Ever heard of achacha? Neither had we, but it’s a topical fruit that was originally cultivated in the Amazon Basin of Bolivia – and it’s being sold at Pyrmont Growers Market. It’s been grown in Australia (with the approval of Bolivia) since 2002 and its flavour is sweetly acidic.
Kings Cross Organic Food Market
Formerly only revellers unready to relinquish last night’s party could be found stumbling around Fitzroy Gardens on a Saturday morning. Since the advent of the Kings Cross Organic Food Market, though, the area has become a hive of activity with Potts Point, Woolloomooloo and Kings Cross locals descending for a wholesome weekly shop of fresh and smoked fish, organic produce, bread, pastries and locally made cheese. Now that is a party.
When: Saturday, 8am-2pm
Where: Fitzroy Gardens, MacLeay Street, Potts Point
What to buy: Perhaps if she’d said “Let them eat cake for breakfast once a week” Marie Antoinette would have been a more sympathetic figure. We’ll never know. The important thing to remember that cake-eating – at any time of day – is a worthy pursuit. Birgitta’s Kitchen has a tempting selection – think yuzu and lime curd cheesecakes, fig and orange cakes with cream cheese icing and choc beetroot cake with beetroot and raspberry buttercream.
Bondi Farmers Market
Beach-goers wander over to Bondi Beach Public School after a morning swim and Bondi types armed with French market baskets shop for their weekly organic supplies. At Bondi Farmers Market there are New York-style bagels, fresh flowers and plants, artisan pickles, marinades and jams, fruit and vegetables and plenty of stalls selling fresh-cooked food such as bibimbap bowls, bao buns stuffed with pork belly and green smoothies.
When: Saturday, 9am-5pm
Where: Bondi Beach Public School on Campbell Parade
What to buy: Fritter House corn fritters. You’ll note the queues – and it’s not just because this is Bondi and they’re gluten-free and vegetarian. There are accompaniments including double-smoked bacon, haloumi and herbed mushrooms and toppings such as vegan aïoli, dukkah, hot chilli sauce and caramelised maple balsamic.
See also: Tech Talk with the Bondi Hipsters
Moore Park Produce Market
Ever think about where your food comes from? Market curators encourage a dialogue between customers and producers at the Moore Park Produce Market, and provenance, sustainability and integrity are written in to the Market Charter. Expect baked goods from Sydney Brasserie Bread, organic meat from Meat Emporium in the Hunter Region and fresh produce from Meliora Farm in Peats Ridge. Wednesdays will also find local office workers eagerly queuing for the Angus Smokehouse steak sandwiches, Jimmy Liks salads and rolls, and Brooklyn Boy Bagels come lunchtime.
When: Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8am-2pm
Where: 122 Lang Road, Moore Park
What to buy: The fresh, stretched curd cheese produced by Vannella Cheese’s head cheese-master Vito Minoia. Think creamy burrata, fior di latte and buffalo mozzarella the likes of which haven’t been seen this side of Puglia.
Northside Produce Market, North Sydney
Loose-leaf teas, locally made haloumi, baked goods from Sonoma, Black Star pastry and the Bread & Butter Project, purple carrots from Grima’s Farm Fresh Produce and Willowbrae goats milk and chevre are just some of the delights awaiting visitors to the Northside Produce Market. Plastic bags are banned, but if you forget your shopper, there’s the Bag Depot where you can nab one that’s been kindly donated.
Image by Vanessa Levis
When: First and third Saturday of each month, 8am-12pm
Where: Civic Park, 220 Miller Street, North Sydney
What to buy: Warm up on a cool morning with a steaming cup of Brilliant Food’s smoked seafood chowder.
The Rocks Friday Foodie Market
The cobbled streets of The Rocks between the harbour and the bridge host a smorgasbord of stalls each Friday for The Rocks Friday Foodie Market. Take a stroll among the vendors selling gozleme, French pastries, authentic German hot dogs, pretzels, pickles and handmade chocolates. Select something for lunch or dinner or stock up on treats to toast the weekend.
When: Friday, 9am-3pm
Where: 130 Argyle Street, The Rocks
What to buy: Each pork roll from Phillip’s Foote comes with both roast pork and smoky pulled pork with coleslaw, apple sauce, gravy and a generous slab of their signature crackling.
See also: Vivid Sydney is Almost Here
Sydney Sustainable Markets
The Slow Food philosophy infuses Sydney Sustainable Markets. The rule is that producers must be involved in a permanent, hands-on capacity in the making of their products. This means that each vendor has an intimate knowledge of exactly how their products came to its final destination of Taylor Square, whether it’s honey, bread, wine, passata, cheese or kombucha.
When: Saturday, 8am-1pm
Where: Taylor Square, Oxford Street, Darlinghurst
What to buy: It sounds simple but not all bacon-and-eggs rolls are created equal. A regular entrant on “best bacon-and-egg rolls” lists is the Mr Bacon + Egg Roll version – they do one thing and they do it well. The roll is stuffed with honey-port cured bacon and free-range egg – add haloumi or mushroom if you must.