This week's best markets and pop-up shops
The Entertainment Quarter is reintroducing its weekly Wednesday and Saturday morning markets as Moore Park Produce Market, giving farmers, chefs and food producers a direct link to customers and a place where shoppers can ask questions about the produce from the people who grow or prepare the food. Produce is sourced from New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Chef Matt Kemp, the market’s curator, is keen to ensure producers are getting a fair price for their products and that customers can engage with the stallholders through conversation, workshops or tours at the markets. The Wednesday market is focused on food and the Saturday market is geared towards family activities with a focus on growing and sustainability.
Held at the Royal Randwick Racecourse every Sunday, the Fair Farmers Market will sell locally sourced and competitively priced produce from family farms. Helmed by fresh fruit and veggie company For Goodness Sake, the market will feature 50 stalls with a broad choice of sustainably sourced, ethically produced meat, seafood, eggs and dairy, including goods from Country Valley Diary, Jenny Brown’s free range eggs and Serendipity Ice Cream. Keep your eyes peeled for creations by some of Sydney’s most loved restaurants, including Joel Best of Bondi's Best who is launching his line of poke bowls in new venture Poke Bear. Chef Oliver Heath from Blue Hills Stone Barns will be creating vegetarian dishes using fresh market produce as well. While entry to the market is free, ten per cent of every purchase at the markets will be donated to Oz Harvest to feed millions of Australians living with hunger insecurity.
Every weekend a squad of entrepreneurial grandmas and grandpas set up an unofficial market along the main strip of John Street. You’ll find them quietly selling homegrown veggies, herbs and little pot plants in between some heavy gossip sessions. Local police and council turn a blind eye and we’re grateful for it. Take home a tub of ready-chopped lemongrass for cheap or grab a couple of bamboo leaf packages filled with sweet or savoury sticky rice.
If you want to catch fishermen at work, you’ve got to get up early. Sydney Fish Market runs almost-daily tours that start at 6.40am. Wrapped up warm, our group of six visitors meet outside Doyle’s Restaurant where tour guide Alex gives us a briefing and a few impressive facts about the largest fish market in the Southern Hemisphere. For one, it’s now considered the second most diverse seafood market in the world after Tokyo’s markets. We enter the auction floor on the mezzanine level, where we can see buyers seated in front of three huge screens, jeering as a sale is completed. Alex jokes that the jeers might be because the young bidder paid too much and set the bar high for the other sales in that category. In any case, we’re fascinated by the electronic Dutch auction system, which gives the buyers in the room just two seconds to make a decision. Sydney Fish Market has been using the Dutch auction system for over a decade and their data informs the cost of fish purchased on any week of the year. Auction prices start at $3-to-$5 above the data price per kilo and as the counter clicks at high speed, buyers in the room tap away on blue keypads at plastic desks and a sale is made before you can say ‘medium blue swimmer crab’. Alex says it’s significantly more efficient than a voice auction, and wasted stock is as low as 0.5 per cent on any one day. We learn that there’s 55 tonnes of fish out on the auction floor on this Monday morning, brought in by more than 1,000 suppliers