After the call went out last week for the best markets in Canberra, I realised that it would be best to separate fresh food markets from creative markets. So, this weekend I went with fresh food and visited:
Capital Regional Farmers Markets at Exhibition Park (Epic)
Saturdays 7.30 – 11.30am.
Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets
Thursday – Sunday, 8am – 5.30pm
First up was Epic markets. Getting up early on a Saturday morning is the challenge, but it’s a great way to start the day. There is no need to have breakfast before you go (rookie error) because, as I discovered, there are multiple options to choose from when you get there.
The coffee machine is constantly turning over, The Brathouse serves up bratwurst and bacon and egg rolls, grab a pizza from Dish it Up or an icy, freshly squeezed orange juice (yes, you can tell the difference).
Or pick up multiple taste testers; real apple juice ice blocks, beef jerky samples and macadamias were just a few that I tried.
I was excited to find stroop waffles. They are delicious wafer biscuits with a chewy caramel inside. Originally from the Netherlands, they have found their way to Canberra as Stikkie Bikkies. The proper way to eat them is to sit one atop your coffee cup for a few minutes to warm them through. My problem with this is that I can never wait long enough to do that!
The waft of fresh bread is irresistible, the fruit and vegetables are an array of colours and seafood and meats are available, as well as fresh dairy products.
There is even a stall to get your doggy treats from. Is your dog sick of Schmackos? Fear not! Pupcake Bakery’s supplies range from dehydrated roo-tail and pig trotters to homemade baked treats of peanut butter hearts or mint and parsley biscuits.
The garden lovers will never be left desolate; fresh cut flowers ready for the table, pots for planting and shrubs for growing.
Remember to bring cash or, if not, there are mobile ATMs available.
While the Epic markets contain smaller vendors specialising in particular goods, the Fyshwick markets has the feel of a larger retail outlet that still provides a broad range of goods with a personal touch. The complex has several shops each for fruit and veg, meats, seafood, delis and bakeries and cafes.
Plonk houses a wide variety of wine, ciders and specialty beers from the Canberra region and all around the world. You might even catch a sneaky tasting session. T&E Asian Groceries offers unique and exotic Asian grocery items and products. Wiffen’s sells fresh produce as well as an extensive range of flowers and Ocean Fresh Seafoods not only sells fresh seafood but also cooks up fish and chips, which I can never go past. Unique Meats provides some great quality meat cuts and generous slices of bacon for a Sunday fry-up.
There isn’t any rush to get to Fyshwick at a certain time as everything is well stocked throughout the day. Sunday lunchtime was busy, but there is plenty of parking, space to sit down and eat and there was some musical entertainment to enjoy while doing so.
They also have the benefit of being able to pay by card here in most places.
I like the set-up of Fyshwick markets but I enjoyed the specialised stalls at the Epic markets and so I award Epic the best fresh produce market this week.