Markets are the solution if you’re looking for a quick adventure, and if you’re a visitor to a region then a farmers’ market or a craft market is a great way to get a locally produced souvenir. A souvenir from a farmers’ market will probably be of the edible variety, a sweet or savory snack such as chocolate, honey or smoked almonds – tasty and a good choice for the environment. At a craft market you’ll be supporting local, independent artisans by purchasing something to wear or use, or just something beautiful to place on your window sill. Markets are also just nice places to hang out at and have a coffee or a hipster beer and watch the people go by. Because markets most often seem to me to be filled with a community of happy people. Everyone is happy to be there; it’s a place celebrating the joy of creating things of beauty and you can’t help but be energised and reverberate with all those vibes of goodwill and peace. Who knows? A market visit might spark a creativity in you that’s been pummeled and buried by life!
With Spring in the air, markets are starting to bloom again after winter recesses, so here are a couple to consider.
One Sunday afternoon market that I enjoy south of Adelaide is Upmarket Unley, and it is having a Spring Fling market day on Sunday September 10. At Upmarket Unley, held in the carpark north of Unley Shopping Centre, you’ll find handcrafted chocolate delicacies, interesting candles and art made from wood and leather. Last time we were there we found some unique handmade box cards, some very healthy herbs ready to put into your garden at this time of year, and local director Nima Raoofi was selling copies of his SA Screen Awards Best Feature film Charlotte. There’s also quality handmade jewellery (Johanna bought some eye-catching spun sterling silver earrings) and children’s toys and clothing. But the good thing about markets is that, unlike window shopping in your regular shopping mall, you never quite know what you’ll find at a market.
It’s a few months away, but just across the road from this market, in Oxford Terrace, the popular Etsy Made Local Adelaide market will be held on November 25. Just in time for Christmas.
Ottawa’s year round farmers’ market
On a trip to Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, recently I visited the Ottawa Farmers’ Market at Lansdowne Park. As noted, farmers’ markets are a great opportunity to get up close to the local culture. You see what people eat, how they shop, what they talk about. For those of us living in an artificial city apartment bubble, a farmers’ market brings you back to reality. We rely on these folk for our food. The Lansdowne Market is the city’s only year-round, producer-only farmers’ market, so whatever time of year you visit you’ll find some seasonal produce on offer. Every vendor at the market grows, makes, and bakes everything that they offer from within 100 kilometres of the City of Ottawa. And yes, it was filled with happy people, gladly filling their shopping bags with delicious goodies. We tried strawberry juice, and bought food for that night’s dinner including dried corn on the cob ready for popping, young garlic shoots and other vegetables that I’d never seen back home, and some of those spectacular tomatoes. As a friend noted, it was a taste of an Ottawa summer. The adjacent Lansdowne Park is a great place to relax and have a picnic, especially in summer. And the main city canal is just across the road. From here you can hire a kayak and explore the city from yet another angle. And that’s just what yours truly #starkravingmad did, but more on that later.
More markets than you can poke artisanal French-sticks at
Back to Adelaide, and of course our number one farmers’ market (in my humble opinion and not counting our wonderful Central Market) takes place every Sunday morning at the Adelaide Showgrounds in Wayville between 9 and 1pm. Great for breakfast or a coffee while you get quality produce for the coming week. And I recommend Steve Hudson’s article “Top 7 Farmers Markets in SA” if you’re looking for more farmers market options.
City East Markets is located in the Adelaide CBD inside the big blue shed at 230 Flinders Street. It’s a short walk from the Central Market and even Rundle Street isn’t too far away, so why not wander here after breakfast, or have breakfast here for that matter, and pick up some indie crafts, vintage re-purposed goods and one-of-a-kind jewellery.
There are markets held right around this state, from the Barossa out north, right down to Goolwa on the south coast, and then there’s Stirling (every fourth Sunday, highly recommended) and Mount Pleasant through to the Gepps Cross Treasure Market every Sunday. So many to choose from on any given day – so if you are visiting, do a bit of research, find a market in the general direction that you want to head, and go and meet some local producers.
Full details of @upmarketunley, @EtsyAdelaide, @cityeastmarkets, @AdelaideFarmersMarket and many more can be found on Facebook, and the SA Markets and More (@SAMarketsandMore) website has a good events calendar that will help with your planning.