This week's best markets and pop-up shops
Stave off the winter blues by bunkering down in on of Sydney's favourite bottleshops for its own wine showcase. The Boutique Wine Fair is all about giving you the chance to try drops from some of the country's most exciting young winemakers – so think organic or biodynamic and minimal intervention makers – alongside the top importers. The Oak Barrel will also be opening up the backrooms to allow for plenty of room for tastings and discussions.
Sydney has no shortage of markets, which means the bar has been set high when it comes to purveyors of local, handmade and artisanal goods. Luckily, market snobs are in for a welcome treat, with the upcoming Etsy Community Market set to showcase some of the finest wares by Sydney’s best creatives. On Saturday July 29, over 70 local makers, artisans and designers from Etsy.com, the online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods, will come together to show off their talents at the Brewery Yard at Central Park. The once-yearly event is the brainchild of Sydney Made, a creative organisation consisting of over 1,400 Sydney-based Etsy buyers and sellers. Director Bea Bellingham is passionate about local talent, and urges Sydneysiders to explore and celebrate what the city has to offer. “These markets are a chance to discover the extraordinary makers that can be found in your backyard,” says Bellingham. “Sydney is an incredibly creative city, and the makers attending represent just a snapshot of talent and the sellers we’ve come to love.” Shoppers will be able to browse products ranging from sustainable homewares to beauty brands, jewellery and fashion, plus artworks and pet accessories. A significant drawcard to the event will be the chance to directly connect with the crafters and pick their brains before purchasing their creations. Plus, you can expect buying to be a breeze, with card payment accepted by all stallholders on the day.
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.
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.
Held every Tuesday at Rose Bay’s Pannerong Reserve, Cambridge Markets is a weekly farmers’ market that features a range of boutique products from over 25 stallholders. Started by the team behind Vaucluse’s Cambridge Markets, Rose Bay Farmers’ Market specialises in bringing fresh fruit, veg, seafood, cheese, meat, eggs, milk, yoghurt, bread and hot food to the East. Keep your eye out for flowers by Sweet Pea and Honey Bee, environmentally friendly cleaning products from Koala Eco, dairy from the Pines Kiama, skincare goods from Boundless Organics, gluten free baked goods from Kitchen Green, organic gluten free dumplings from Golden Pig and cakes from Truffula Sweetery.
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
Pyrmont’s monthly produce markets have been operating at Pyrmont Bay Park for almost 20 years, but last year the event was given an early retirement when the lead sponsor pulled the plug. In February 2017, the markets reappeared with new organisers, new times and a few new stallholders. The markets now operate on the fourth Saturday of every month, running ever so slightly later from 7.30am to noon, which means you can squeeze in a bacon and egg roll from Sutton Forest Meats – crisp rashers and a floury bun for $6 – and there’s still room for ginger ninja biscuits from Black Star Pastry. You can shop for fruit and veg from Roots Shoots and Leaves, fresh-cut flowers grown in Goldstone or wheels of Brie from Formaggi Ocello. There’s the Australian Gourmet Coffee Company, Little Marionette and Toby’s Estate for your caffeine hit. Plus, if you’re lucky, Egyptian food truck El Qahirah will be there dishing up fragrant bowls of koshary for $12. Once you’ve stocked up on organic nitrate free bacon and handmade chocolates, take a plastic chair and order a ‘Prince Will-I-Ham’ toastie from Great Wheel of Cheese. For ten bucks you’ll get a salty sandwich of German butcher ham on Pioik sourdough and their signature cheddar.