After months, years actually, of talking about it, on Saturday morning I finally made a visit to the Eveleigh Farmer’s Market. After all this time, the level of expectation was high – trying to manage sensible levels of expectation is a constant battle in my life… So was I disappointed? Far from it. They actually turned out to be even better than I had hoped and deserving of the praise heaped on them. It was all a little bit exciting!
Firstly there’s no sign of marquees and leaning tents, it’s a nice big building with a roof. And when it’s raining and you’re trying to juggle cash, a coffee and bags of fresh vegies, not having to worry about an umbrella and wet toes, really makes a difference.
I did a lap, down one side and back the other, checking out the amazing fresh produce and homemade goodies – a nursery (with potted herbs, ferns & indoor friendly plants), a florist or two, a mushroom man (funghi heaven!), apples in brown paper bags & freshly baked apple pies, cheese and olives, olive oil, milk & cheese, eggs (and bacon & egg rolls!), sweets and cakes, tomatoes and strawberries, fresh juice, bunches of beetroot alongside piles of figs, fresh herbs, zucchini flowers, freshly baked bread, jams, pickles, sauces and fresh veg, fresh veg and more fresh veg.
I think one of the coolest things about the morning, was realising that these people don’t just supply your average Saturday morning Joe, they supply each other – the lady from the egg stall is dropping off two dozen of her eggs to the man at the mushroom stall, who’s dropping off a brown paper bag of swiss browns to the lady at the cake stall, who’s dropping off a slab of brownies to the fresh veg stall. It certainly instils confidence – if their eating each other’s food, I want to eat it too. And if I was feeding the masses, these markets would be the key to my success – so much variety, such fabulous freshness – but as my teeny fridge limits my storage capacity and my Sunday lunch party was only for three, I stuck to my list and headed home with some colourful and gnarly heirloom tomatoes, three punnets of strawberries (I haggled to get a good price on my bulk order!), the freshest looking basil I’ve ever seen, a giant bunch of cerise dahlias wrapped in brown paper and used as a weapon as I jostled for service and a Crooked Madam (Surry Hills restaurant Bird Cow Fish’s take on a Croque Madame – double smoked ham, Dijon mustard, Heidi Gruyere & a fried egg), which I ate in all it’s hot and stringy-cheese glory, sitting on the sidewalk on the way back to the car. Who has patience when there’s melted cheese involved?
So for my next trip, I’ll stick to my game plan of the full browse, the limited shop. Because as much as I’d love to shop big, if I keep my haul small, it gives me an excuse to go back and try something new the next time. Like a pile of chocolate meringues for instance…