The Northside Produce Markets is run by the North Sydney Community Centre, one of their major fundraisers. It is held on the first and third Saturday every month, rain, hail or shine, with stall holders coming from as far as Orange and Kiama. The markets take place on the rolling hills of the park next to Stanton Library. Fun fact: I was told that the hills of the park were actually designed to evoke a calm mood.
The first stall holder I met was from The Pines micro-dairy farm in Kiama, selling award-winning cheeses and ice cream. The stall-owner, Kell, is warm and friendly, and proudly displayed all his products that come straight from the farm.
Ian and Sandra are the two stallholders of Adelong Fresh, a farm in the small town of Adelong in southern NSW. They drive 400km (over 4 hours!) every fortnight just to come to these markets and have done so since 2008!
The have a variety of apples, eggs and other fruits that they bring fresh and straight from the farm. It’s a beautiful display and the apples taste crisp and very sweet.
The next stall over is Arlington’s Gourmet Goodness. Selling a variety of award-winning dips, pestos, Afghani “dippits” and more, you’ll be sure to find something that tickles your taste-buds.
The markets are also a great place to pick up a bouquet to freshen up your home.
I had a good long chat with Kim who operates Poetry Fine Foods. She specialises in toffee and makes every piece by hand. Her factory is on the northern beaches of Sydney near Collaroy. I can say from first hand experience that her toffee tastes amazing. You can also find her on Facebook.
I had a long chat with Alicia from The Original Smoke and Spice Co. who’s been doing the markets for five years and she says these are her best performing markets. Her factory is in Arncliffe where she smokes all her products.
She sells a wide range of smoked spices and flavoured, smoked salts, garlic and even smoked rice!
I sampled one of her smoked almonds which was lightly salted but had the wonderful smoky flavour from the smoking process and retained the texture and crunch of a fresh almond. If you’re at the markets, it’s worth stopping by and having a chat to Alicia.
My next stop was at Yolanda’s stall. She’s been at these markets for three or four years and loves it every time she comes. Of all the markets she does, these are her best. Most of the products you see in the picture above are made by her including the tea towels behind her.
Yolanda gets her pickled products from a supplier she greatly respects: a lady called Holly Davis who is renowned for her preserved products. I loved the light flavour of her kimchi and it’s great for you, containing some great probiotics.
These Bee Wraps are pretty cool. They’re a reusable food wrapping which is a substitute for Glad Wrap. The idea is that the wrapping uses your body heat to stick together and help preserve your food. When you want to reuse it, you can just wash it in warm water and use it again.
The Batlow Apple Man is there every markets. They have an apple orchard to the east of the town of Batlow. They drive about 450km every markets to get here, nearly 5 hours. The apples they sell are always fresh and sweet. Their apple pies, if you’re lucky enough to get one, are delicious and easy to heat up!
They also sell delicious fresh apple juice and, in the winter months, sell hot and fresh mulled apple juice with spices and citrus rind. I’ve had this a couple of times and for $5, it’s the perfect way to warm up as you browse the many stalls.
Grima’s Farm Fresh Produce is a family-owned business who have been at the markets for almost the full 18 years it’s been running. All of their produce comes from their farm in Horsley Park, near Prospect Reservoir, or neighbouring farms. Their produce is freshly picked so you can be sure your veggies are going to be delicious and last long. If you have any questions, you can always ask one of the Grima family or their helpers.
Very Healthy Pizza Bases sell a variety of baked-in-house pizza bases. They even have gluten-free options! In addition to their bases, they also sell pizza sauces and fresh mozzarella to help top your pizza. Their delicious, thin base paired with their pizza sauce and some parsley made my mother a very delicious pesto pizza that night.
Black Star Pastry also made an appearance with their iconic watermelon cake.
Pepe Saya was at the market selling their handmade cultured butter. They culture their cream before they churn it into butter which not only adds flavour to the final product, it also means the butter is packed full of probiotics to aid with your digestion. They also sell a range of other products like crème fraîche, mascarpone, butter milk and ghee. Be sure to stop by and sample some of their butter on fresh bread!
The Hunter Valley Cheese Factory Also came along to the markets. Their cheese factory is located in the Hunter Valley wine region and is next to the McGuigan cellar door. If you visit their factory, you can look into their different rooms through windows to the carpark to see the different stages of cheese production.
Today they had a range of cheeses to sample including a five year aged cheddar. Sharp and hard, my mother couldn’t resist getting a block to take home.
Our last stop was visiting Ross and Sally Smith from The Walnut Grove located in the NSW Central Tablelands. They sell walnuts and walnut related products like walnut oil and flour. Walnuts are very seasonal and unfortunately they lost their entire walnut crop last year due to a hailstorm in January. When they’re back, you should definitely stop by and have a chat to this lovely couple and sample their walnuts!
The Northside Produce Markets are a great place to stop by and get your groceries done for the next fortnight or just come by to chill out and hang out with friends or family. The North Sydney Community Centre also runs classes open to the public that operate on a school term. Next time you’re in the area or are just looking for a nice way to spend your Saturday morning, why don’t you come by the markets and see what they’re about?