Northside Produce Market celebrates 20 years
From its humble beginnings as an idea thought up by a North Shore mum 20 years ago to becoming one of the most iconic markets in Sydney, thousands descend on Civic Park in North Sydney on two Saturdays each month between 8am-12pm to peruse and purchase produce from up to 75 stallholders. Some of these stallholders have been selling their goods at the market since day one.
It’s not hard to see why this market is so popular with not only North Shore locals but those further afield.
“The customers appreciate the experience of buying produce direct from the growers and the makers,” says Lisa MacDonald, the Northside Produce Market manager.
“We are committed to an ethos of integrity – from farmers who are dedicated to growing sustainable fresh produce to artisan producers who are passionate about creating products of the highest quality and supporting primary producers.”
Local Sydney traders include Sally and Ross from The Walnut Grove, and Jordan Sly from Wormticklers Nursery – both based in McMahons Point - and those from the outer regions include Trunkey Bacon & Pork from Orange, West Walla Farm Eggs from the Eastern Riverina, and Moonacres Farm from the Southern Highlands.
Today, the focus of the market, which is run by not-for-profit organisation North Sydney Community Centre, is very much on sustainability.
“We have always advocated for sustainability. Rather than create our own branded market bag for example, we asked the community to drop surplus shopping bags at the bag depot at our information stall for those customers who’ve forgotten to bring their own bags, basket or trolley,” Lisa explains.
“BYO is best, so we encourage our customers to bring keep cups and refillable water bottles - there are two water stations in the park.”
And it’s not just the produce that entices foodies to come to the market, it’s the atmosphere and other activities on offer, too.
“There is always live music, and a kids spot as well as tables and chairs for everyone to sit and eat, though many people bring a picnic rug. In the summer, children play around the fountain and every three months, we offer a free bike check which we hope encourages people to ride to the markets,” Lisa says.
She adds that the absolute highlight of the market is the ‘behind the scenes’ tour.
“At 7.30am and 9am, food consultant Tawnya Bahr takes a small group to taste, hear and learn from a curated selection of stallholders. We find those who go on the tour come out knowing ‘the bigger picture’ and form a connection to the grower,” says Lisa.
“Our market is a place where you can meet with friends and family, relax, eat and shop in a lovely park environment. It’s no wonder the ancient tradition of gathering with your community around a market place is still alive today.”
Northside Produce Market is located at Civic Park, 200 Miller St, North Sydney. It operates the 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month from 8am-12pm. For more information, phone 9922 2299 or visit northsydneycentre.com.au