Pyrmont Growers’ Market: a buzzing, social, foodie hive
The Pyrmont Growers’ Market has come and gone for the month of February. But, are they worth waiting around for each month? Amy Rathbone writes.
It’s 7am on an overcast, dreary morning, and yet, Pyrmont Bay Park is packed to its harbourside brims.
The first Saturday of February is here and so too, the Pyrmont Growers’ Market.
There are farmers in checked shirts and cowboy hats, eccentric types with their vintage, hip clothing flecked by piercings and tattoos and herb growers with wide grins. But there’s more to these markets than simple, aged stereotypes.
The monthly markets are home to roughly 85 stalls, which line the harbourside boardwalk and park’s edges. The Star, the city skyline and the super yachts moored in the harbour prove an ironic backdrop. The markets are organic, homegrown, pared back, authentic, simple. Their setting is anything but.
Far from pretentious, the Growers’ Market’s vibe is relaxed. There’s a clatter of noise, but considering this involves the acoustic music of a guitar, a cooking demonstration underway and the laughter of happy families, the atmosphere is tranquil; calming in its own way.
There’s a strong focus on limited food miles (the distance the product has been transported), ensuring that everything at the market is fresh, seasonal and local.
But don’t think there’s little variety. As one stallholder puts it, there’s “too much choice.”
The crowds have flocked for the artisan breads from the likes of Sonoma Bakery, fresh vegetables, gourmet meats and cheeses produced with time and care, colourful flowers, baked foods, coffee and preserves. There’s also cooking demonstrations from Chef Lucio Galletto to promote his new cookbook, The Art of Pasta, co-written with journalist David Dale. Food is the language here.
The beauty of farmers’ markets is the opportunity they provide to converse with the farmers and growers. Here, there’s a story behind every delicious morsel of food. Of course, there’s also the opportunity to try before you buy. Breakfast is almost unnecessary with the grazing on samples that is to be had at almost every store.
The markets are not strictly a foodie’s affair. Claire Mahoney has been making the trip from Dee Why with her 14-year-old daughter as long as she can remember. She aptly states that as much as the Pyrmont Growers’ Market is about fresh food and shopping local, it’s also about family and bonding. She couldn’t be more right.
Rowie Dillon’s Marrickville kitchen bakes delicious treats that are one hundred per cent wheat, yeast, dairy and gluten free. Dillon has been selling her wonderfully naughty, allergy-friendly treats at the Pyrmont Growers’ Market for 10 years now and says supermarkets just don’t compare. For Dillon, the markets are a prime opportunity to talk to customers, and educate consumers regarding how things are grown and made. She says selling at the markets has allowed her to develop “a loyal, kind of cult following.” When a regular interrupts us, Dillon responds warmly telling them to “Pop in!” It’s plain obvious that Dillon loves her customers back.
78 Livingstone Road, Marrickville
Regal Smoked Salmon
Regal Smoked Salmon is different from all other salmon in Australia, Richard Wood informs me, “because it’s all Atlantic, whereas here it is King Salmon.” This King salmon, from the south island of New Zealand, has double the amount of Omega-3 oils and is farmed a lot more naturally. The salmon has a wonderfully rich, full flavour and a deep red-orange flesh colour. Wood describes it as “The best in the world.”
Visit the website
Frank Mazzotto is as friendly as can be. His store is buzzing with business and yet he takes the time to speak to me. Dynamic Herbs grows and sells potted herbs—including chillies and tomatoes—as well as gardening products like lavender and hydrangeas. The nursery is based in Glenorie, near Dural, and Mazzotto says getting fresh produce to the consumer is of upmost importance. Mazzotto cannot rave more about the Pyrmont Growers’ Market. “It keeps me alive,” he says, but also, “It’s a good day out, with a relaxed feeling… it doesn’t feel like a chore.” The bright, bold colours and excellent structure of the plants makes it obvious that Dynamic Herbs’ produce is of high quality
13-19 Schwebel Lane, Glenorie NSW 2157
Phone (02) 9652 2996
Gwydir Grove Olives
Gwydir Grove Olives specialises in olive oil, with their products ranging from your standard olive oil to lemon myrtle, blood orange and spicy chilli and fresh lime varieties. They also manufacture paté, vinegar and soap. The product is from Moree in northwest NSW. Steve Fletcher is looking after the Gwydir Grove Olives product range, as well as a couple of ring-in chutneys and marmalades from Maxwell Treats (which hails from Berry). Fletcher is beyond friendly as he talks various customers through the products. You can test everything here, with an ample supply of biscuits and bread for your dipping pleasures.
Market provedore and fine meat retailer, Melinda Dimitriades, personifies these markets; she is bubbly, vibrant and a little bit eccentric, yet equally down-to-earth and friendly. Her stall offers a wide range of preserves as well as gourmet meats. For Dimitriades, sister to The Slap actor Alex Dimitriades, markets are about personalisation in terms of the source and consultation. “It’s about sort of sharing stories about food, and cooking recipes and actually having a relationship with the people who provide the food you’re putting on he table.” Nearly all of Dimitriades produce is sourced from a farm in Windsor and available at her Waterloo store.
7 Botany Road, Waterloo
Drover’s Choice Saltbush Lamb
Brett Stockings is helping out at the Drover’s Choice stall today, jovially donning a very appropriate checked shirt and hat. The saltbush lamb sold here is from Narromine and, Stockings assures me, boasts an extremely unique flavour; he describes it as tangy, salty and rich. For Drover’s Choice, markets are a means of advertising and educating consumers. They also give farmers a bit of control in an increasingly globalised and commercialised market.
(02) 6889 1188
La Tartine, owned by Laurence Anthony and her husband, specialises in certified organic wood-fired sourdough. Their delicious artisan breads come from Somersby on the Central Coast. Anthony believes that the produce available at markets is all-round better quality than that at supermarkets, a reason being that such products are more than a number on a mass production line.
Pyrmont Growers’ Market is on the first Saturday of every month, rain, hail or shine. They begin in Pyrmont Bay Park from 7am-11am and boast around 80 stalls. For more details, visit the website.