You walk into a fish shop with a huge selection of fresh seafood laid before you, yet rarely do you take the time to think about how the seafood came to be there.
The Sydney Fish Markets offer behind the scene tours and a look at the auction floor in action several times a week, and what an experience! The history alone is interesting enough. Originally the markets were located in Central Market in the area now known as Chinatown, which offered buyers a variety of fresh produce. In 1966 they moved to their present location in Blackwattle Bay, Pyrmont. But it is the deregulation and privatisation of fish sales in the 90’s that has made them what they are today.The market floor opens at 4.30am (the fish starts arriving the day before) allowing buyers to look at the produce and assess its quality and size. Hundreds of crates are stacked in lots and arranged on the floor by region of origin. Interestingly 60% of the produce is local, 30% interstate and only 10% from overseas.
The 150 or so buyers at each auction are seated facing the trade floor and watching the two large digitalised screens, each running separate auctions simultaneously. The auction system is based on a reverse auction, where the price is set a couple of dollars above the predicted sale price. At the start of the clock the price drops $1 per revolution (and fast). A buyer can bid at any time at the price they are prepared to pay by pressing a screen in front of them. Based on the ‘Dutch flower’ auctions this system has increased efficiency and ensures best competitive price in an open market.
On the floor our wonderful guide Portia handles dozens of fish and crustaceans as we move between the bustle of buyers, each with with trolleys eager to pick up their stock and load it on their truck. We head to the back where large whole Tuna fish lay in line, theirs tails slashed enough to expose their flesh and allowing them to be graded. For sashimi lovers, this is heaven!
The tour is definitely a must do, especially if you love understanding where and how the food we eat reaches the table. You will gain a better understanding of sustainable fishing practices and how to identify fresh seafood when you buy it. Thanks Sydney Fish Markets!
If you think Double Bay is a little sleepy with not much happening you are wrong! Every Thursday a weekly ‘Organic Food Market’ operates from the peaceful Guilfoyle park. Stalls are set with willow trees as the backdrop and the harbour only two blocks away.
As you easily pull alongside the park, you get the feeling you could be miles away from the city. Locals, businessmen and young families are amongst those who are in on this eastern suburbs secret, some stocking up on produce and dinner, others just looking for a coffee and enjoying the live entertainment.
Toddlers line up (mine included!) eagerly for their turn on the pony ride through the trees. It’s worth coming down just to see the smile on their faces. And yes, there is great coffee and plenty of delicious cakes, pastries and breads to go with it. I couldn’t go past the blood orange cupcakes myself (thanks Brasserie Bread), however looking equally delicious were the French Patisserie tarts & croissants and Neu’s German bread.
Visit ‘You can Afford Organics’ – perfect little cherry tomatoes, tamarillos and dates. For dinner perhaps some fresh pasta or organic meats and of course you can’t leave the markets without some fresh flowers or perhaps a treat for yourself from Spark Candles.
If you are looking for a local market then then you will feel right at home!
On the second Saturday of each month North Sydney Community Centre in conjunction with North Sydney markets curate an art exhibition aimed at giving voice to new and emerging artists.
The free exhibition features mostly local artists and each of the works are available to be purchased. If you are looking for affordable art to fill that empty wall at home then this is definitely the place to come. It is a great way to spend the day and you can enjoy a wander through the markets, great food and live entertainment.
This month’s theme ‘Transcend’ has inspired work influenced by nature, culture and memory. The four exhibiting artists go beyond the ordinary, some verging on abstract and others impressionist in nature with their visual brush strokes and depiction of light. Artists include: Barry Lester Johnson, Laxmi Duble, Lisa Woolfe & Mary Rafter.
This Saturday from 10am to 3pm –Civic Park, 220 Miller Street North Sydney
Would you like to feature your artwork in a monthly ‘Changeable Art’ Exhibition?
Email: [email protected]
Ph: (02) 9922 2299
One of things I love about travelling is learning about local produce, traditions and trade. And one of the best ways to see this is to visit the local market wherever you are.
This blog is the first I hope of many to cover great markets around the world. Feel free to share your top picks and photos of markets near and far.
Sarlat-la-Canada Market – The Dordogne Region, FRANCE
The Dordogne region in the South West of France is one of the most picturesque places I have travelled to. The Dordogne and Lazere Rivers run through the region and are surrounded by hundreds of beautiful villages. In Summer you can canoe down the rivers from village to village, stopping along your way.
Sarlat-la-Canada is one of the larger and more popular medieval villages with a famous market held on Saturdays. Stalls wind through the narrow laneways towered by beautiful turrets and stone buildings, centuries old. There is so much to take in between the fairy tale setting and the endless line of stalls, it is almost overwhelming. And to add to that, there are huge crowds and crazy traffic to tend with, so make sure you rise early!
You can find beautiful fresh local produce such as seasonal vegetables, mushrooms, stone fruits and berries. You know they are grown locally as they are rustically displayed and the lovely lady behind the stall doesn’t speak a word of English (which is great!). The region is also famous for its Fois Gras and truffle. If you love Fois Gra then you are truly spoilt for choice ranging from various tins and sizes to freshly jarred. Baskets are laden with Saucissons (salamis), breads, olives and cheeses ready to eat. French ‘provincial’ style linens including tablecloths and napkins are also available (at a price) as well as other artisan products and touristy gifts.
You could easily spend all day here. Sarlat has dozens of cafes and restaurants mostly overlooking the square or the laneways, where you can watch the world go by and wonder what it must have been like centuries ago without all the tourists. For food lovers this region of France is a must.