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More than one million plastic bags are used every minute worldwide. This is taking a massive toll on the environment. But there are things you can do to reduce your usage of plastic.

Plastic Bags – The Shocking Stats

A staggering ten tonnes of plastic waste litter Sydney Harbour and its foreshores each year. And plastic bags are a significant contributor. Plasticbags2

It’s not just the look of this amount of rubbish that matters either. For sea life, a plastic bag resembles a jellyfish, something eatable. This is why fish, birds and turtles often die from plastic ingestion, the bags and waste caught in their stomachs. Worldwide, one million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed each year from plastic in our oceans.

Here are some facts on plastic bags:

*worldwide, approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used each year, this is more than one million bags being used every minute

*46 percent of plastics float and they can drift for years before settling in the ocean

*plastic takes between 500 and 1,000 years to degrade

*only about 3 percent of plastic bags are recycled - did you know you could recycle them?

Go Plastic-free at the Markets

Many markets and market goers support plastic-free shopping. People want to buy fresh local produce made using sustainable farming practices with minimal environmental impact. This means fresh food, without packaging.

Some market retailers implement plastic-free initiatives and market goers expect plastic-free shopping, often bringing their own reusable bags to the market or purchasing reusable bags there.

Retailers and consumers will lead change in this area, as government bans on plastic bags have been slow to come into force. In Australia, single-use plastic bags have been banned in South Australia, the Northern Territory, Tasmania and the ACT. There are no bans in place in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. The Queensland government has said their ban will come into effect next year.

Tips for Cutting out Plastic

In addition to bringing your reusable bags to the markets and other shops, here are some tips for reducing your plastic usage: Plasticbags3v2

*bring your own washable coffee cup for your next cup of coffee

*carry water in a washable canteen rather than buying bottled water

*carry reusable utensils in your bag to use when you are out

*travel with a small cloth bag for unexpected purchases

* favour retailers who don't package their goods

*at home, use reusable food covers

*pack kids lunches, and your own, using reusable cloth sandwich sleeves and reusable food wrap

*recycle any plastic that you do have to use - many supermarket chains have dedicated bins to collect plastic bags and wrappings that aren’t collected by local councils in normal garbage and recycling collections.

Plasticbags1No More Plastic

Plastic pollution is a global problem with action being taken only by some governments. Consumers and retailers will have to lead the way on reducing the use of plastic bags and packaging, and shopping at the markets is a good way to start. See you at the markets, with your reusable bags ready for shopping and your own coffee cup!

 

Research with thanks to:

*“22 facts about plastic pollution (and 10 things we can do about it)” Ecowatch, http://www.ecowatch.com

*“Sydney Harbour hidden plastic pollution is killing endangered turtles and marine life” ABC News, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-12/sydney-harbour-hidden-plastics-threatening-endangered-turtles/8263368

*Plastic bag recycling http://recyclingnearyou.com.au/bags/SydneyNSW

 

Australia - a coffee culture

Coffee is the go-to drink for many Australians. The way we order our coffee is important, but so is the source of our coffee. And now, more than ever, Australians want to know what goes into their coffee.

We invented the flat white but many enjoy the long black, espresso or macchiato. The taste of these coffees turns on the quality of the beans used. Little wonder we are becoming more knowledgeable and selective about the source of our coffee beans. Coffee1

How much coffee do you drink?

Coffee is consumed by nearly half the Australian population. One in three people aged 19-30 years, and two in three people aged 51-70 years, drink coffee. The median amount of coffee consumed daily is 330 mls, which is about one large mug.

How do you take your coffee?

Everyone has their own preferences for how they take their coffee – is yours a flat white, cappuccino, latte, long black or short black? Here are some newer ways of making coffee that are taking off:

Pour-over coffee: this is made using freshly ground coffee in a filter and a “pour-over dripper” which holds the filter. The coffee is not “plunged” into water, like the French press, instead water is slow dripped over the coffee. This method is slow and emphasises the flavour of the coffee beans.

Filter coffee: people are again buying coffee filters for home. As with pour-over coffee, the quality of the coffee bean is paramount because the flavours are extracted more slowly than with other types of coffee. Filter roast coffee is usually lighter than espresso roast, having been less developed in the roaster. The final finish is milder than the more caramelised finish of the espresso roast.

Cold brew: this type of coffee is replacing the traditional “iced coffee”. It is made by steeping fresh ground coffee in cold water for between 12 and 24 hours. The cool temperature of the water and the lack of movement mean that not as much flavour is extracted from the beans. Some retailers use twice as many beans in making the cold brew so that drinkers get the full “hit” of flavour.

CoffeeFarmWhere in the world does your coffee come from?

Because the new trends in the way coffee is consumed emphasise the flavour of the bean, it isn’t surprising that people are increasingly interested in where their coffee is sourced. Like wine grapes, there are regional differences depending upon where the coffee bean is grown.

Black coffee drinkers in particular will want to source single origin coffee. This means the coffee has been supplied by one farm or estate, rather than a blend.

The two main coffee trees are Arabica, which produces about 70 percent of the world’s coffee bean harvest, and Robusta, which produces the remainder.

Coffee is best grown in warmer climates and therefore usually comes from the “coffee belt” which is roughly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Brazil is the biggest producer, followed by Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico, Ethiopia, India and other countries.

Between these countries and within them too, there are variations in rainfall, temperature and soil conditions which, similar to the growing of grapes for wine, impact the flavour of the beans and the ultimate cup of coffee. There are also different types of coffee bean varietals, for example, common varietals of the Arabica tree are Bourbon, Caturra and Typica. All produce a slightly different flavour.

With so many variants and influences, the coffee bean is sounding more and more like the wine grape.

Will the coffee run out?

Coffee farming worldwide is likely to be affected by climate change which has brought about more erratic rainfall in some areas, and an increase in pests and diseases. The Climate Institute in Australia estimated that by 2050 climate change will have halved the area suitable for coffee production. Given the poverty of many coffee producing nations, there is a lack of diversification of crop and a lack of investment and research in ensuring continuing coffee production.

In 2010, the Initiative for Coffee and Climate was founded by key players in the private development and research sectors, to address issues arising from changing climate conditions. Their pilot programs are being run in partnership with coffee farmers in Brazil, Tanzania, Trifinio (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador) and Vietnam, which are some of the biggest producers in the world. Coffee3

The hope is that with attention now being given to the sustainability of coffee production and real investment in new production methods, some of the worst predictions won’t be realised.

Is “Fair Trade” and organic coffee worth it?

In the coffee trade, the “Fair Trade” certification is important – it guarantees a minimum price and this assists farmers who are often from some of the world’s poorest nations. The “Fair Trade” organisation also supports research programs relating to climate change which will help bolster the resilience of farmers to changes in climate and resulting market conditions.

As for organic – the proof is in the taste. Organic coffee is grown without the use of chemicals and artificial pesticides, and using only natural fertilizers. Coffee that is grown conventionally is heavily reliant upon synthetic pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers. This affects the crop, the farmers who are handling it, and the soil and environment. 

Organic coffee allows for more sustainable crop production, and is also supposed to be higher in anti-oxidants – so it is better for you and tastes better too. 

Your local coffee seller

Stop in and see your coffee seller at your local markets.

Visit the Saporium Market in Rosebery, held every Saturday from 10am-3pm, and visit

Welcome Dose Coffee which has a “bean-to-cup” philosophy. 

or The Little Marionette at Pyrmont Growers Market on 4th Saturday each month.

Toby's Estate Coffee at Northside Produce Market

[Research:]

Australian Bureau of Statistics “Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results – Foods and Nutrients, 2011-12” http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/4364.0.55.007~2011-12~Main%20Features~Non-alcoholic%20beverages~701

National Geographic: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/coffee/map.html

Climate Institute: http://www.climateinstitute.org.au/coffee.html

Initiative for Coffee and Climate http://www.coffeeandclimate.org/about-cc.html ]

The best chocolate for Easter and all year round

Cacaoette owner and chocolatier, Philippa Bembo, speaks with us about her chocolate obsession, her chocolate market stall and the treats she will be making and selling in the lead up to Easter. Cacaoette5v2

Philippa is a self-confessed, life-long chocoholic. She says that chocolate has to make you go weak at the knees, otherwise there is no point. Her sublime chocolates are fast developing a loyal following among market goers.

The essential, simple bliss of chocolate

Philippa Bembo, now an artisan chocolatier, began working with chocolate about six years ago, initially in a chocolate shop. Her childhood love for “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” meant chocolate had long held a fascination for her. Working in the shop, she found the “essential, simple bliss of chocolate” was something she loved and could not let go of. Three years ago, she made the leap into opening her own chocolate business.

The real chocolate factory

Every week, Philippa makes chocolates in her commercial kitchen. These chocolates are for the Frenchs Forest and Kings Cross markets, the Peakhurst Night Foodie Market, pop ups, and some corporate buyers and select wholesalers. She also has a market at the Prince of Wales Hospital from time to time in support of the Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation.

Cacaoette1The chocolate source

Cacaoette uses single origin, EU certified organic chocolate from Belgium, the cocoa beans coming from the Dominican Republic. The chocolate is hand-tempered in Sydney.

Philippa does not use any pre-prepared pastes or compounds. Instead, she makes everything herself and that includes marshmallows, ganache and even the honeycomb, which begins with Paperbark, Red Malley or Ingleside honey from the Northern Beaches @foreveryounghoney and bought from the markets.

Whenever she can, Philippa uses Australian organic products, such as sultanas, raisins, honey and roasted almonds.

New wave chocolate

Chocolate is increasingly becoming art, Philippa says, and points to these current chocolate trends.

Colour: There is now a more sophisticated use of colour in chocolate making, with some incredibly vibrant chocolate being created through hand painting and spray guns. Lustre dust is also popular, in a wide range of colours.

Artisans: Now, more than ever, people want to buy chocolates made by hand and by local chocolatiers. The tactile, sensual nature of chocolate makes the markets the perfect place to buy chocolate, because you can see and taste the chocolate before you buy.

Classic and elegant: More than anything, the chocolate has to taste beautiful, Philippa says. In Australia, we like our chocolate classic and elegant and not as heavy or creamy as the European market. We like seasonal ranges that recognise our warmer climate and make chocolate a treat no matter what the weather.

Easter essentials

Here are some Cacaoette chocolates guaranteed to make you swoon this Easter:Cacaoette3v2

Luxe Road eggs: these are available in milk or dark chocolate and made of blueberries, raspberries, organic coconut and roasted almonds. There is also a tangy, passionfruit and white chocolate version.

Honeycomb eggs: in milk or dark chocolate, these half eggs are filled with chocolate coated, giant chunks of honeycomb.

Golden bantam eggs: these 4cm eggs available in milk, dark chocolate or salted caramel, are dusted with gold.

Hot cross bun bark: milk or dark chocolate speckled with cardamom, ginger, dried figs, cinnamon, currants and gold dust.

Where to find Cacaoette?

Visit Philippa at the Cacaoette stall. She is there every week at Frenchs Forest Organic Food Market and Kings Cross Organic Food Market.

See the Cacaoette Facebook page for further details: https://www.facebook.com/cacaoetteorganicchocolate/

 

Is the best bit of fruit and veg really on the outside?

We all strive for a long and healthy life and we all know that we need to make sacrifices in the name of wellbeing. So, to a lesser or greater degree, we’re all willing to sweat for that goal, deprive ourselves of certain pleasures and resist the temptation to sit in front of the TV for too long. Grimas4v2

But did you know one of the healthiest things you may be able to do is simply to leave the peel on many of your fruits and vegetables?

Why eating the peel is a healthier way to consume fruit and vegetables

It’s not always true that beauty lies within. For many fruit and veggies, the peel is actually their most nutritious part. If you remove it, you’re missing out on a powerful source of antioxidants, vitamins, fibre, nutrients and minerals.

Here are some of the benefits of leaving the peel on common fruits and vegetables.

*Apple: the skin holds about half of its overall dietary fibre content and has four times more vitamin K than its flesh.
*Cucumber: the skin contains the majority of antioxidants, insoluble fibre, potassium and vitamin K.
*Eggplant: its purple skin has an antioxidant called nasunin, which helps protect the brain against cancers
*Carrots: the highest concentration of phytonutrients (another word for ‘good bits’) is found in the skin or immediately underneath.
*Potatoes: gram for gram potato skin has more fibre, iron, potassium and B vitamins than the flesh. It’s also rich in antioxidants.

Eating the peel on lesser known fruits and veggie

But let’s not stop with the peels you’ve already probably tried. What about bananas or even citrus?

Well, there are plenty of tasty ways you can eat their skins too, if you're willing to get a little creative. Citrus peel can be cooked into a sweet marmalade. The skin of a mango can be eaten raw, or cooked along with the insides, or you can simply pickle the entire mango. Lemon zest can be used in a creamy pasta sauce or in a delicious cake.

Peelingvegv2How to make sure pesticides don’t ruin the peel

Concerned that pesticides and chemicals might ruin all those amazing benefits? Don’t be.

The American organization Environmental Working Group (EWG) has been reporting on the “Dirty dozen” and the “Clean 15” since 2004. The dirty dozen is a list of foods they claim contain high amounts of pesticide residues. Meanwhile, the clean 15 is a list of the fruit and veg least affected by them. The question worth asking is how relevant is this information for Australians?

The Food Standards Australia New Zealand organisation (FSANZ) sets very strict maximum residue limits (MRLs) on all the produce we consume, whether domestic or imported. Besides, in Australia we use different herbicides and pesticides to those used in America and we reduce their impact by setting the minimum time between crop spraying and harvesting.

Of course, you should always remember to wash all your fruit and vegetables well before eating them. Plain water is usually enough to remove dirt, as well as any bacteria and pesticide residues. A vegetable brush can be useful too, to wash firmer produce like potatoes.

So make the most of an easier and healthier way of eating, leave the skin on and gain without the pain. Washingvegev2

Want more?

If you want to get hold of the very freshest fruit and veg that you can eat, peel on visit your local market.

Two of our favourite Sydney market fruit and vegetable suppliers are Grimas Farm Fresh Produce found at Pyrmont Growers Market and Northside Produce Market and Johnstone's Kitchen Gardens at The Beaches Market.

 

Sources/references:

http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx
http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/why-you-should-eat-fruit-and-vegetable-peel-20160624-gpqx17.html
http://www.bbc.com/news/health-39057146, http://www.stack.com/a/fruit-vegetable-peel, http://www.sbs.com.au/food/article/2016/04/28/your-fruit-and-veg-full-chemicals,
http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/nutrition/slideshow/fruit-vegetable-peel-perks
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10962130

 

Pyrmont Growers Market Returns!

Written by . Tuesday, 14 March 2017

After a short break in 2016 one of Sydney’s pioneering farmers markets have reopened thanks to Pyrmont Ultimo Chamber of Commerce, The Star and a passionate local community.

It’s no secret Pyrmont Growers Market is a Sydney favourite, loved for its unique waterfront location and dedication to offering fresh farm produce and quality artisan goods. The monthly market now boasts over 80 stalls set along the wharf and the adjoining park with the city skyline as a backdrop.

There is a healthy mix of old and new stalls, and above all, provenance and freshness are key, each trader with a story to tell and a wealth of knowledge to share.

PyrmontGeneralv2Grimas2v2

AltoOlivesv2Saucissonv2

New comer Little Big Dairy Company offers delicious creamy milk, straight from their farm near Dubbo. They have also recently been accredited as the first Fairtrade flavoured milk producer, committed to the exclusive use of Fairtrade cocoa, coffee, sugar and vanilla.

It is also hard to go past Long Paddock Eggs who proudly told Local Market Guide that “the last of the eggs were laid and packed last night before hitting the road this morning”. Seasonal heirloom vegetables from Grima’s Farm Fresh Produce sit alongside Pepe Saya’s handmade butter, local olive oils from Alto Olives and freshly baked breads.

The joy of a market is that there is always something new to taste and discover. You will love Achacha, a tropical Amazonian fruit grown in North Queensland and Italian antipasti and smallgoods from Pino’s Dolce Vita Fine Foods “just like Nonna makes”.

185hensv2Achacha2v3

WestviewLimesv2Pinosv3

It is great to see producers from the Macleay Valley food region too, including Westview Limes with their harissa sauce, fresh limes and chilli and pasture raised pork from Near River Produce.

The offering of wonderful stalls is curated by food professional TawnyaBahr.

Expect more wonderful additions to the regulars over the coming months and be sure to arrive early to avoid missing out!

4th Saturday of the Month Pyrmont Bay Park, Pyrmont
7.30am to 12.30pm

www.pyrmontgrowersmarket.com.au

TGM Willoughby Launches

Written by . Tuesday, 28 February 2017

A new monthly market for Sydney's northside!

TGM is excited to announce their second monthly market, now open in Willoughby.

Nestled between Penshurst and High Street, the Willoughby market in set amongst the spacious grounds of ‘Club Willoughby ’with plenty of parking onsite. Most importantly it showcases a carefully selected cross section of unique and local stallholders. Each of the stalls is passionately run by the maker and producer themselves, boasting small product runs, one off pieces and a good ol’ chat!

For those wishing to deck their house out with soft furnishings you will love the range of products from cushions to plants and paintings. There is even macramé hammocks and hangings and beautiful handmade and hand painted ceramics. The market also offers a handful of tasty producers including fresh farm eggs, honey and artisan baked breads along with delicious lunch options too.

“TGM is proud to join the wonderful Willoughby community with a vibrant market, showcasing the best lifestyle products on the lower north and supporting local small business” says Jacqui Landis - Owner of TGM Markets. Jacqui and her team are dedicated to supporting local business which is already evident in the strong community they have built at their East Lindfield market.

Stay tuned – TGM is set to expand over the coming months, a market with a little something for everyone!

Here’s a few of our favourites:

Poppies and Amber / Originally Nic

TGMW1TGMW4

Love Our Work / Urban Ledge

TGMW3TGMW7

Bubawear / Little Rowan Redhead

TGMW2TGMW5

Kallisto Soaps / Emilia Lorena Macrame

TGMW8TGMW6

That Great Market Willoughby
Open  9am to 2pm - 2nd Sunday of the Month
Club Willoughby, 26 Crabbes Ave, Willoughby
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Shop for design pieces made by some of Australia’s most talented artisanal designers.

On March 24th the Turramurra Masonic Centre will host Designers On Show, an annual boutique market, which features artisanal Australian designers. DesignersonShow1v2

Jane Slicer-Smith, owner of Sydney-label Signatur Handknits created the three-day event in 2007 to showcase items that are “too special” to take to an open-air market.

“The venue is air conditioned and you simply step into another world of colour, design, texture. It's like going to an art gallery with the exception that you can touch, try and buy everything you see on display,” she said.

Naturally, Slicer-Smith’s Signatur Handknits will be an exhibitor and will sell her trademark bright, textured swingcoats alongside other woolly items.

Slicer-Smith is one of those designers who has fashion in her blood. Her grandmother was a seamstress. “My barbies had ballgowns,” she said.  And she was drawn to knitting because it gave her an opportunity to create the fabric as well as the garment.

Designersonshow5v2Customers who are drawn to her wares will also have the option of buying made-to-order pieces, which will be made by a “great team of country knitters.” In fact, her oldest employee is 88. 

Most of the stallholders have been personally invited to participate at Designers On Show by Slicer-Smith. “Whenever I see unique creations, I introduce myself tell my story and ask the maker about their design journey, and invite them to join the show.“

There is no-doubt that Slicer-Smith is a fan of the exhibitors as she owns at least one item from most of the participating stalls.

Some of her event highlights include customised footwear by Page Shoes, the decorative pottery of Nicole Miranda and the versatile and elegant clothes of fashion designer Ruth Tate.Designersonshow3v2

The stalls on display will have ready-to-buy pieces but there will also be many opportunities to order bespoke items, ranging from engagement rings to watercolour paintings.

If that’s not enough incentive to take a peek, Slicer-Smith assures that the market will also feature “fabulous food.”

Designers On Show
24-25 March 9.30am - 6pm
26 March 9.30am - 4pm

Turramurra Masonic Centre
Cnr Turramurra Ave & Pacific Highway, Turramurra

http://www.designersonshow.com/Designersonshow/Welcome.html

https://www.facebook.com/DesignersOnShow/

The benefits of garlic

Garlic has been consumed and used for thousands of years and is said to be very good for us. But what exactly are its qualities, and how can we benefit? NSGarlic

Garlic basics

Garlic is a bulbous plant belonging to the onion family along with the shallot and leek.

From wild garlic to crow, field, silver skin, purple hardneck, and pearl there are many different types of garlic. Originating from the region between the Mediterranean and China, the Allium sativum has a rich history right around the world, from being used as food flavouring and seasoning, to ailments and traditional medicine.

What makes garlic so nutritious

The use of garlic has been well documented by Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans and the Chinese for its nutritious and medicinal qualities. It is the sulfur compound (allicin) responsible for garlic’s distinct smell that is also the cause of garlic’s health effects, formed when a garlic clove is chopped, crushed or chewed.

Today garlic is widely consumed for several conditions linked to the blood system and heart:

*Kicking the common cold: Health studies have shown that adding more garlic to your diet or increasing your dosage of garlic supplements can combat the symptoms.
*Reducing blood pressure: High doses of garlic appear to improve blood pressure of those with known hypertension.
*Lowering cholesterol: For those with high cholesterol, garlic supplementation appears to reduce cholesterol, leading to lowering the risk of heart disease.
*Preventing dementia: Garlic supplements have been shown to increase antioxidant enzymes in humans and significantly reduce oxidative stress in those with high blood pressure – helping to prevent cell damage and common brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
*Detoxifying heavy metals in the body: At high doses, allicin has been proven to protect against organ damage from heavy metal toxicity.

What makes garlic so delicious

There are also several culinary uses you can make the most of. In the kitchen, this mighty bulb is just as versatile, with its characteristic pungent, spicy flavour that mellows and sweetness considerably.

*When cooking with garlic, you’ll typically remove the skin before using in raw or cooked form.Roasted Garlic
*An alternative is to cut the top off the bulb, coat the cloves with olive oil and roast them.
*Extract garlic from its bulbs by squeezing the (root) end of the bulb or individual cloves.
*Combine with bread to create garlic bread or toast, bruschetta, crostini or canapés.
*Heat the heads of garlic over longer periods of time to come up with sweeter, syrupy ‘black garlic’ – popular in Korea and more recently the USA, UK and Australia.
*Infuse your oil with garlic for dipping sauces – also a good way to store it!
*Soak your cloves in vinegar to produce pickled garlic.
*If you’re cooking Southeast Asian or Chinese cuisine, use immature garlic (green garlic) for its aroma without the spiciness.
*Use the leaves and flowers (bulbils) on the head (spathe) too; immature flower stalks (scapes) can be used in dishes in replacement of asparagus, for example.

Grow GarlicGrow your own garlic

Most of our garlic globally is grown in China, followed by India, with the ‘garlic capital of the world’, claimed by Gilroy in California, which accounts for the majority of production in the USA. Across all these locations, the soils are loose and well drained; garlic does well in mild, sunny climates. In Australia, our terrain is just as suitable. So why not give it a go yourself and avoid buying the imported, chemically treated cloves?

Garlic is easy to grow, all year-round. You can plant individual cloves in the ground in containers of sufficient depth, leaving enough space for each bulb to mature. If you’re in a colder climate, dig a little deeper for your bulbs to prevent the growth of mould from the freezing and thawing. Watch its growth – stalks can grow up to more than one metre tall – and look out for its flowers that help with pollination and the spread of its growth naturally.

Come join us at Northside Produce Market

Discover more about Australian-grown garlic and hear from some of our finest local garlic farmers at the Garlic Month at Northside Produce Market throughout the month of February.

Garlic Month at Northside Produce Market

18 February 2017 at Civic Park, Miller Street North Sydney

Chinese New Year 2017: Celebrate the Year of the Rooster at the markets

It’s that time again: welcoming in a new year. The Chinese New Year, to be precise. Known as ‘Spring Festival’ or ‘Lunar New Year’, this is the highlight of the Chinese calendar and a special occasion for families to come together and celebrate their heritage. So grab your red packets and giant lanterns, embrace the food markets and lion dancing, and get ready to enjoy The Year of the Rooster.

Chinese New Year basics

Centuries old, Chinese New Year is celebrated across countries with significant Chinese populations: think Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mauritius and, of course, Australia. Traditionally, the festival was a time to honour deities and ancestors. Today, it’s a major holiday recognised globally.Chinatown6v2

Celebrations typically run from the evening preceding the first day, to the 15th day of the first calendar month. In 2017, the first day of the Chinese New Year is on Saturday 28 January (the first day of the new moon), initiating the Year of the Rooster -- one of the 12-year cycle of Chinese animals appearing in the Chinese zodiac -- which is associated with confidence, motivation, and assertiveness, boding well for future success.

Chinese New Year traditions

Chinese New Year is all about family. Chinese families gather for their annual reunion dinner on the evening preceding Chinese New Year’s Day. As part of the traditions, every family will clean the house to sweep away any ill fortune and make way for good luck ahead; look out for the windows and doors decorated with red paper cuts, and the themes demonstrating good fortune, happiness, wealth and longevity. Those unmarried might receive a red envelope from married couples or elders -- ‘lai see’ which helps spread wealth and good fortune.

The tasty treats

Food is the cornerstone of the Lunar New Year celebrations. If you find yourself at a dinner table, or food market, in the next two weeks, you’re likely to come across the following Chinese traditional gastronomy

*Dumplings, especially those of vegetarian fillings, feature prominently in the meals celebrating the festival. They insinuate a sense of wealth -- the saying associated with dumplings refers to ‘ringing out the old year and ringing in the new’. Families traditionally spend New Year's Eve preparing the dumplings and will eat them at midnight. Legend has it that the more dumplings you eat during the New Year celebration, the more money you can make in the upcoming cycle.Chinatown2v2

*Fish, in the context of Chinese New Year, means ‘may the year bring prosperity’. Families buy a whole fish, symbolising unity, and typically steam it with ginger and a light soy sauce. Leftovers for the next day are important to signify that the prosperity will overflow.

*Rice cakes, of both sweet and savoury variety, refer to ‘increasing prosperity year after year’. Eating rice cakes celebrates the beginning of the rice harvest in the spring.

*Turnip cakes, steamed or fried, stand for fortune and are a must-have particularly for Cantonese people celebrating the New Year

*Noodles -- long noodles -- represent longevity. Served uncut to signify long life, they are also served as a birthday dish

*Mustard greens are a standard vegetable dish for the celebration. In the context of the New Year, they are labelled as ‘perennial vegetables’; they can't be overcooked, so they're an ideal symbol for a long life. You're expected to eat the entire vegetable.

*Mandarin oranges and pomelos are the common fruit during Chinese New Year, representing luck.

*Sweet rice balls are consumed during the 15th day of the celebration, the first night of the full moon of the new lunar year. The roundness of the rice balls signifies a complete circle of harmony and unity within the family. They are served in a soup and traditional fillings include sesame paste, red bean or peanuts.

Chinatown Night MarketsChinatown7v2

Held every Friday evening, Chinatown Night Markets are the place to visit this Lunar New Year. Dixon Street Haymarket is lit up with lanterns and lights, and featuring bustling street food stalls and stalls operated by students and young deisgners. Dont miss the Dragon Beard Candy stall for something different orginating from the Ancient Chinese Palace!

If you’re looking for Chinese cuisine, or a touch of the Lunar New Year to take home with you this time of year, be sure to visit one of the markets to sample some local goodness -- most markets will be embracing the New Year spirit. Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Sydney’s Best Markets Revealed

Written by . Monday, 02 January 2017

Our guide to Sydney’s finest seasonal spots

What are the best markets to visit in Sydney this Summer? Well, that depends what you’re looking for, of course. Whether you are looking for fresh seasonal produce or a unique locally crafted gift, there’s a Sydney market that delivers the very best of it. Below are some of our favourites. 

1. Sydney Fish Market

If you’re looking for lobster, fresh fish or seafood platters this summer, the Sydney Fish Market should be on your hitlist. With up to 100 varieties of seafood on offer every week, you can explore the providores or tuck into one of the dishes for lunch. Best to visit early morning to watch the catch arrive - or book one of the Behind the Scenes Tours to experience the live auctions of vendors buying their produce for the day.  

Daily 7am-4.30pm at Bank Street Pyrmont.

2. Bondi Farmers MarketBondi Farmers EdwinaMain

Just a skip away from one of the world’s most famous beaches, it may be time to hang with the Bondi hipsters at this local favourite. Visit the Bondi Farmers Market for wholesome food, fresh produce and just-picked flowers, brought to you by the hands that make or grow them. Stock up on farmstead cheeses and homemade jams, olive oils, artisan breads and spices. And while you’re at it, grab brekkie and chill on the grass while listening to some sweet tunes from the locals. A good way to start the weekend!

Every Saturday 9am-1pm at Bondi Beach Public School.

3. The Beaches Market

Fancy a trip to the markets on a Friday? Head to the Northern Beaches, where you’ll come across more than 100 stalls offering a wide selection of farm-fresh goodies and deli foods directly from the farmer. The Beaches Market is more like a country market with a friendly atmosphere and plenty of space (and rides) for the kids to run around too. You can find a selection of handmade and local artisan goods too.

Every Friday 8am-1pm at 1472 Pittwater Road, Pittwater Rugby Park Warriewood.

4. Carriageworks Farmers Market

One of Sydney’s most loved markets, Carriageworks is known as much for its quality seasonal produce as it is for its setting: a charmingly historic building. You’ll find this farmers’ market at the old Eveleigh Railway Workshops in Redfern, boasting a great atmosphere, good coffee and temptations to get your weekend underway.Carriageworks1v2

Every Saturday 8am-1pm at 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh (reopening for the year on Saturday 14 January).

5. Marrickville Organic Food Market

There’s something for everyone at Marrickville Organic Food Market, from scrumptious lunch and fresh produce, to pre-loved goods and  pony rides. You can make a day of it and get a haircut while you’re there! Operating for more than 15 years, this market has a broad focus on sustainability, including fair trade, food miles and more recently, slow food. The perfect Sunday morning for you and your favourite people.

Every Sunday 8.30am-3pm, 142 Addison Road, Addison Road Community Centre.

6. Northside Produce Market

For those north of the city, make the most of the Northside Produce Markets twice a month. With an array of foodie brands and top notch flower stalls, you’ll come across quality coffee, organic meat and veggies, fresh country butter and milk, sourdough and spelt breads, pasta and smoked seafoods, cider and wine – all set around the beautiful Civic Park. There’s always plenty happening too, with talks from the farmers, workshops and market tours to learn more about some of the finest from Sydney and its surrounds.

Every first and third Saturday of the month at Miller and McLaren Streets, North Sydney.

7. Surry Hills MarketSurryhills6v2

Get ready for a treasure trove of all things pre-loved… Think vintage clothes, valuable antiques, retro homewares and endless curiosities. Visit family-friendly Surry Hills Market for homemade, second-hand and recycled goods. If you’re feeling peckish or in need of a break from the browsing, hop across the road to the Surry Hills Community Café for something sweet or savoury. Your support at both the market and café helps raise funds for the locals, helping Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre deliver services to the disadvantaged members of the community -- so get down there and dig a bit deeper into your second-hand Levi’s!

First Saturday of every month, 7am-4pm at the corner of Crown and Collins streets, Shannon Reserve. Open regardless of weather.

8. Blak Market

Blak Market is a quarterly cultural festival showcasing Aboriginal arts, crafts and food. You’ll enjoy cook-ups, bushfood stalls, weaving and shellwork demonstrations, and a traditional smoking ceremony. Keep an eye on the monthly program of activities with workshops and performance. All profits go towards helping improve the skills and well-being of disadvantaged Indigenous people.
Held quarterly.

9. Palm Beach Market

Make a day of it and head to one of Sydney’s most iconic beaches for some surf, sun and shopping. Operating since 2008, the Palm Beach Market is located between the ocean and Pittwater, with Barrenjoey Cliffs to the side. If the food is in vogue, you’ll find it here. Select your spread of local goodness including fresh breads and cheeses, superbowls, smoothies or hot food including Pho soup. Grab your coffee (or tea) and mingle with the day-trippers and surfers, the well-heeled and the weekenders, and enjoy being footloose and fancy-free -- barefoot is essential.

Every Sunday of every month, 9am-3pm at Governor Phillip Park, Palm Beach.

10. Brewery Yard MarketBreweryYard4v2

Brewery Yard Market is located in one of Sydney’s newest urban spaces, Central Park, Chippendale. Boasting hip food stalls and artisan designed goods, the Brewery Yard Market combines food, culture and the arts, with over 50 stalls of fresh produce, gourmet bites, ethical fashion, artisan designs and handcrafted homewares. This is the perfect spot to enjoy a lazy Sunday with delicious food, live music, quality handmade goods, music and art.

Every Sunday, 10am-4pm at 28 Broadway, Chippendale. 

Want more?

These are just a few of the very best markets our city has to offer.  Check the Local Market Guide Calendar for What's On.

Please note many markets are currently enjoying a small break over Christmas.

Unlike our friends in the northern hemisphere, Aussies often celebrate Christmas with a cold seafood lunch. There’s nothing fishy about that. Sydney Fish Market 36 Hour Seafood Marathonv2

With temperatures often soaring to 35 degrees on Christmas day, the thought of slaving over a hot turkey simply doesn’t appeal to many Australians. Throwing another shrimp on the barbie is actually a more common practice than many of us might care to admit.

Along with backyard cricket and a swim in the surf, fish for Christmas is an Aussie tradition. This year, more than 100,000 people are expected to visit Sydney Fish Market between 5am on December 23 and 5pm on December 24, in what is fondly known as “The 36-Hour Seafood Marathon”.

From smoked salmon to barramundi, we’ll be buying 700 tonnes of fresh seafood, including 200 tonnes of prawns and 900,000 oysters.

As well as being scrumptious, seafood is actually a healthy option as it’s generally considered to be a low-calorie protein source and low in saturated fat. Plus, fish is a natural source of B-complex vitamins, vitamin D and vitamin A, associated with healthy development of the nervous system, support for vision, healthy skin and bone development. Cheers to that!

Here are five ways to celebrate Christmas with seafood:

1. Oysters Kilpatrick

Enjoy Christmas ham the Australian way, by frying up some tiny pieces to place on top of fresh oysters, Kilpatrick-style.

2. Smoked Salmon and Avocado

Serve a plate of glistening smoked salmon with some freshly cut avocado – as well as a great source of omega-3’s, guests will enjoy the Christmassy colour palette of salmon and green.

3. Fresh King Prawns with Cocktail SauceLOBSTER TAILv2

A true Aussie favourite, cold king prawns served with lemon, salt and cocktail sauce are a sure way to get the celebrations started.

4. Barramundi with Fresh Chilli and Parsley

Nothing says summer more than barbecued Barramundi, a crowd-pleasing fish that’s native to Australia.

5. Grilled Lobster with Garlic

The perfect summer recipe, flash-grilled lobster brushed with garlic, butter and parsley will have everyone saying Ho Ho Ho.

Sydney Fish Market Seafood Marathon - More Details.
Open 5am 23rd to 5pm 24th December 2016.

Favourite Christmas Desserts

Written by . Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Christmas traditions: We’ve all got them. From santa sacks to bons bons, backyard cricket to beach time, Aussie family traditions bring a unique twist to the festive season. And with Christmas upon us, we’re taking a closer look at the sweetness bringing our families together. Whether you’re enjoying Christmas at home or visiting others, here are some tips on the most typical desserts to dine on -- and where to get them from -- as you prepare for the festive season.  

PavlovaXmaspavv2

‘The Pav’ is as Aussie as they come… Or is it? It’s in fact the Kiwis who lay claim to the making of the first Pavlova, in a rural recipe book in 1926 before sending it over to Australia only in 1931. Everyone’s sure to love this meringue-based dessert, loaded with fresh fruits for summer. Try a modern twist from the Northern Beaches: Palm Beach Catering sells Pavlova Wreaths for pre-order. Visit The Beaches Market, held every Friday in Warriewood.

Gingerbread house

If your home will be filled with kids this Christmas, they’ll get a kick out of the gingerbread house. For a more European holiday tradition – a fairy tale tracking back to ‘Hansel and Gretel’ in Germany in the 1800s -- this dessert continues to delight. It can be a long process to start the spicy dough gingerbread (‘preserved ginger’) from scratch, so buy the basics then get the family to add their own sweets and icing. Or head straight for the full house from Honeycomb Valley who use their own eggs and honey. Visit The Beaches Market on the fourth Saturday of every month or The Beaches Christmas Market on 17 December.  Deliciously Sweet Gourmet Biscuits can also be found with their mini Gingerbread Houses at That Great Market.

Christmas pudding

Whose parents haven’t had a crack at making the customary Christmas pudding? Older than the origins of beer and honey, pudding has stood the test of time, with one of the earliest presented in England’s Mary Kettilby’s recipe book in 1714. The staple mould of berries, mixed spices and sugary dough, iterations of this recipe continue to be passed down through generations. Perhaps it’s time to have your own crack this season! Grab the ingredients or try a local standout: The Pudding Lady has plenty, along with shortbread and sauces at or visit Black Star Pastry, both at Northside Produce Market.Pudding1v2

Panettone

Much like the pudding, dome-like Panettone serves up a ‘fluffier’ version of dough and dried fruit. A type of sweet bread loaf originally from Milan, this European treat captures the taste of Christmas with candied orange, raisins, citron and lemon zest. You can serve this one in slices with hot drinks or a dessert wine. For an extra decadent taste try replacing regular bread with panettoni to create a Christmassy version French Toast, and you’ll have breakfast sorted too! Head to Organic Food Markets for a touch of Italy in your home these holidays.

Trifle

The simplest of dessert traditions, trifle pudding is easy to prepare with mixed fruits, custard and whipped cream, layered together with sherry-soaked sponge cake. Also hailing from Britain, the name ‘trifle’ evolved from a similar dessert known as ‘a fool’, with the two names becoming interchangeable. So don’t be a fool! Choose this quick after-dinner dish to brighten your table. And if you’d prefer no alcohol, replace the brandy with orange juice. Top it with grated chocolate and fresh seasonal berries from the markets.

Chocolates and nougat

You’re not done yet! Bring out the bite-sized choccies and nougat for a final touch. Another gift from Europe, nougat is the even crunchier dessert variety, usually made with nuts, egg whites, sugar and honey. For hand crafted, hand cut and crafted, indulge in Nougat Royale from The Beaches Market. Or you can’t go wrong with chocolate: try Gumnut Chocolates for their Chocolate Pudding Truffles at Northside Produce Markets and Carriageworks Farmers Market or chocolate covered creamed honey hearts from Two Creeks Honey at That Great Market.Gumnut1v2

Finally, if it’s not tea, polish off your dessert with liqueur Muscat or Old Tawny -- after all, it’s Christmas! (Just be wary after the alcohol in that pudding…) Happy Feasting to you and your families these holidays.

Top Christmas Markets in Sydney 2016

Written by . Wednesday, 16 November 2016

How to celebrate Christmas 2016 at your local market.

Christmas markets are a wonderful tradition and we don’t have to miss out just because we’re in sunny Sydney. Our local Aussie Christmas markets might not be all snow, gingerbread, twinkling lights and mulled wine like they are in Europe, but they do heat up with amazing goodies and treats for all your Christmas needs. Decs1v2v3

Many markets are on in November meaning you can get in early and take the stress out of Christmas, knowing your gift shopping is sorted. Plus, shopping at the markets means you’ll avoid the chaos of the busy shopping centres.

From unique handmade gifts to delicious food, you’re also supporting small local businesses, craftspeople, producers and your local community by shopping at the markets.

So here are our top picks for making this year a market Christmas:

1.       Lindesay House Christmas Fair
17-19 November

Tour this historic house and gardens in Sydney’s Darling Point and grab a bite to eat while doing your Christmas shopping for unique gifts like antiques, clothes and accessories.Lindesay Gardenv2

2.       Etsy Sydney Made
19 November

If it’s creative and unique handmade gifts you’re after this is the market for you - and you can meet the local crafters, collectors, artisans and designers who sell their gorgeous wares on Etsy.com.

3.       Henry Deane Christmas Market
24 November, 1, 8 and 15 December

Make the most of the long summer nights after work and enjoy this European style twilight Christmas market near the CBD, complete with Christmas carols. Stock up on Christmas puddings, table and tree decorations, unique bonbons, cards and wrapping paper and christmas presents.

4.       Cambridge Christmas Market
27 November

With something for all ages, this family friendly market in the Eastern Suburbs has rides and activities to keep the kids entertained while you shop at over 85 stalls selling affordable gifts, fashion,  accessories, homewares and gourmet food.

5.       Central Coast Christmas Fair Xmasv2
4 December

It’s worth driving north of Sydney for this huge market, now in its 9th year. With free entry and free parking and over 150 stalls there is something for everyone: from cooking demos, local artisan gifts and fresh produce, to international food stalls, music and face painting.

6.       Mosman Twilight Markets
8 December

Another twilight market in the suburbs, with a great variety of food and unique artisan gifts for Christmas at over 140 stalls, topped off by live music, carols and a visit from Santa.

7.       The Beaches Christmas Market
17 December

Great for food and last minute gifts, it’s also a good excuse to spend a lazy afternoon at the beach once you’ve shopped at the Christmas themed stalls and enjoyed the kids entertainment including a petting zoo and rides.

8.      Carriageworks Christmas Twilight Market Croydon1v2
23 December

If you’ve left your Christmas shopping until the last minute this is the perfect solution: With locally designed and made gifts, plus amazing gourmet food and produce from the regular Eveleigh Farmers’ Market, you’ll get Christmas sorted in just one evening.

Check out our full list of Markets at Local Market Guide and have yourself a very merry markets Christmas!

Rivergum Cottage Markets

Written by . Monday, 14 November 2016

It couldn’t have been better day for our visit. The sun was shining, the music was playing and kids were having a lovely time playing amongst the haystacks and flowers and an over-sized garden game of Connect Four.  

Rivergum Cottage Markets are held alongside an historic settler’s cottage in Rouse Hill. Lintbrae Cottage dates back to the early 1800’s and today provides a perfect setting for a country style market.Viewv3

Over 60 local artisans and producers are spaciously set up on the grass, offering a boutique selection of everything from fashion and jewellery to homewares, childrenwear and gourmet food. There is a focus on handmade creations and handcrafted goods as well as pieces that have been lovingly restored. There is oodles to choose from whether it’s a gift you are after or something for your home.

It is refreshing to also see some of the more traditional cottage crafts on display. In the adjoining hall there is an abundance of handmade and handknitted designs. The Western Sydney Woodworkers Inc. also offer a unique display and demonstration of hand turned wooden products. Pens, puzzles and bowls are perfectly finished, the bowls of which are donated by Woodworker members and the proceeds put towards buying equipment for the local hospital. A community market at its best!

Haystack3Butterflygarden

MikanoXmasRivergumv4
WoodturnersHamptonsinthehills

A few of our favourites finds include:

*Old Country Shoppe – country and vintage style homewares. Some great Xmas decorations too.

*Raggedy Bits – Repurposed and vintage farmhouse style décor from small furniture pieces to decorations

*Bindie Patch – Lovingly handmade cloth creations including dolls, animals & dream catchers

*Mikano World – Handmade jewellery inspired by Japanese design and fabric
FluffyCrunchRaggedyBits

Rivergum Cottage Market is family friendly, with plenty to keep the kids occupied including a jumping castle and slot car racing. It is spacious and well organised (parking attendants to direct you in and out) and successfully creates a positive community atmosphere, encouraging visitors to stay and enjoy a day out.

Don’t miss the special Rivergum Cottage Twilight Markets on Sunday 11th December. There will be a visit from Santa, Xmas carols, a photo booth and more.
http://www.localmarketguide.com.au/event/2032-rivergum-cottage-twilight-market

Rivergum Cottage Markets
49 Withers Road, Kellyville

From their staples of smoked salt and garlic to their new product of smoked almonds, the Original Smoke and Spice Company takes seasonings, snacks, and gourmet ingredients to whole new levels of deliciousness.

From their beginnings in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2003 smoking garlic and sea salt, The Original Smoke and Spice company has successfully branched across the Tasman and into new products like smoked nuts and smoked rice. They sell their delicious offerings online and at markets around Sydney and beyond. Local Market Guide recently spoke to Elisha Hudson who runs their Australian operation. Smokespice1v2

How did you get into the smoking business?

My family started the business so I kind of fell into it naturally. I took over the Australian side of things in 2011 when I returned to Sydney after the Christchurch earthquake.

What was your first product?

Our original smoked garlic salt and our amazing smoked garlic were our first two products. We smoke the salt over New Zealand manuka wood and then tumble-roast it with garlic and other flavourings to produce a truly wonderful seasoning. The garlic is smoked whole and the smoking process converts its volatile oils to sugar, which gives it a unique flavour—nutty

Smokeandspice5v2What other products do you offer?

We do different salts and black garlic which is a really interesting product. A new product we offer is smoked rice which people seem to love. And something we launched just a few weeks ago is smoked Australian almonds! We got the idea from those “smoked” almonds you can buy which aren’t really smoked at all, they just have a lot of additives to give them a smoky flavour. We thought we’d do the real thing! Like our other products, we cold-smoke our almonds for long periods of time at ambient temperatures. It gives them a wonderful flavour profile that you just can’t achieve any other way. They’re so yummy!

The almonds sound like a great snack. How do people use your other products?

Well, the smoked salt is outstanding on everything and anything, from veggies to meats, from breakfast to diner, we use it everywhere! The smoked garlic is good, too, for roasts, dips, soups, there’s no end to the dishes which can be enhanced by its delicious flavour. And the smoked rice, which is another new product, is a wonderful way to experience a familiar staple in a new way.

What do you like about selling at markets? Smokespice2v2

We do lots of markets and love the experience. We sell our products, which we smoke at our shop in Sydney—we’ve just got a new smoker so we can do larger quantities without compromising on quality—along with a range of other hand-crafted goods from us and other local producers. We love the market atmosphere, the weather, the people, the early starts—it’s all hard work but so much fun at the same time!

To find out more about Original Smoke and Spice Co and where to find their products, go to:

www.SmokeAndSpice.com.au

 

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