Saturday, August 20, 2011
Three Local Markets in the Northern Rivers Region in a week!
On our recent road trip up the NSW North Coast, I had the great pleasure of visiting three local markets in one week. After three days travel from Sydney, with some delightful stops along the way (which I'll tell you all about another time!) we arrived at our final destination Lennox Head, where we stayed for a week. Lennox Head is a sleepy little coastal town, located at the Southern end stretch of Seven Mile beach. It is about nine to ten hours drive north of Sydney and about fifteen minutes south of Bryon Bay. Lennox Head is a popular spot for surfers, fisherman, whale watchers and photographers, as well as those that want something scenic and a little quieter, than the busy Bryon.
At the Northern end of the town, set back behind the sand dunes, is the very picturesque Lake Ainsworth. The lake is a fresh water lagoon that is permanently discoloured by ti-trea (tea-tree) tanins, leaching from the trees that surround the shores of the lake. The ti-trea water is said to have health giving and rejuvenating properties.
Here between the lake and the sea, every second & fifth Sunday, the Lennox Community Market is on.
This colourful community market, is not just a fresh produce market, but also a mixture of local arts & crafts, second hand & vintage clothing, locally made hats, chopping boards, organic seedlings and an eclectic selection of foods to eat and people to see.
We enjoyed some delicious date & coconut creations from the raw food stall, whilst our son selected an "Organic Donut" from another stall nearby, and others chose something sushi, from the very quirky Green Sushi Van!
I came away with a lovely new chopping board, some organically made goats milk soap and a gorgeous hat just like I'd always wanted!
The following Thursday morning, we drove the fifteen minute journey to Bryon Bay and made our way to the Bryon Farmers Market. This market is held weekly, every Thursday from 8am - 11am at Butler Street Reserve and offers an abundance of local and organic fresh produce. A colourful community of locals gather here each week, to shop for their fresh produce and enjoy the market entertainment.
There was a variety of stalls, offering fruit and veges, seedlings to grow your own, local cheeses, meat, garlic, ginger, honey and freshly baked breads.
Fragrant fresh herbs
Deliciously fresh roots
Vanessa from The Gourmet Garlic Company was very helpful to talk to, on how to grow your own garlic. I bought four cloves home, for planting in my vegetable garden, they are now planted and sprouted and in nine months time, we'll be enjoying our own home grown garlic.
Amongst all the fresh produce their was also a raw food stall, with a vast selection of healthy choices to eat or take away. It was here I discovered an amazing beetroot cake! All I am going to say is, it is a must have when you visit! Yum!
Finally the absolute highlight for me of this market visit, was the incredible organic ginger and meeting lovely Bob and Elizabeth, who grow the certified organic ginger on their property at Goonengerry, fifteen minutes from Byron Bay.
Elizabeth also produces jars of Sweetened Ginger & Pear & Sweet Ginger, which is done in rainwater and Organic raw sugar.
Our last market visit, just three days later, was to Bellingen Community Market. We took a small detour on our way back home to Sydney, stopping in the delightful town of Bellingen.
This market was the largest of the three we had been too in the week. It was huge and is apparently one of Australia's largest and most diverse regional markets. The market is held every third Saturday of the month, just minutes from the town centre.
Stalls were incredibly diverse, from hand made candles, timber furniture, home made cakes, vintage clothing, hand made soaps, local honey, wooden boards and utensils, gorgeous arts and crafts and a whole lot more.
As well as the stalls, there was a large stage area with a live band playing and many locals enjoying the atmosphere and the local food.
We had a lovely fresh juice and bought some lovely home made brownies.
We also grabbed some lovely organic sour dough from the stall, supplied by the local bakery, Hearth Fire Organic Wood-Fired Bakery.
These markets had so much to offer, you really could stay for hours, with plenty of seated areas and food to enjoy in between. We left with locally made honey, some gorgeous Handmade In Bellingen Candles, some rustic hand made timber chopping boards and some very interesting wooden cooking utensils to test run!
So next time you do a bit of a road trip, do your research first and find out if there is a Community, Regional or Farmers market you can drop into on the way, you won't be disappointed.
Regional Markets NSW
Australian Farmers' Market Association
Jane Cooks Market Tours Eveleigh Farmers' Market