Everyone loves a good market. It could be your home town’s monthly event full of hats, diabetic-friendly cakes and secondhand books – or perhaps the monthly farmers market – chockers with fresh produce from the local region.
In mid-2020 many of our favourite markets were put on hold, breaking our poor little collective hearts and leaving many wondering when we’d get to see our ‘market’ friends again.
For that’s what truly makes our local markets so special. Sure – it’s great to restock on turmeric and garlic or randomly purchase another finely-polished seashell – yet the real added value of monthly markets is in rekindling old friendships. Sometimes it’s the regular stall-holder with whom you only identify according to their produce (hello Doraville Orange man). Perhaps it’s a former neighbour who you only ever seem to bump into at the markets. I really believe in my heart that it’s the crowd that makes a market so special.
Adele and I were so excited to venture back to the markets. One of our first outings was the Gloucester Farmers Market – driving from Forster through Nabiac to Krambach, then along the beautiful Bucketts Way – stopping at Mograni Lookout (obligatory scenic selfie #127) – down to Church Street and finally nabbing a parking spot right next to the stalls (nice being in small town territory)!
Our bounty that cool but brightly sunny winter morning included Manning Valley honey, local garlic and Faulls Ridge Chambourcin (guilty – we also slipped in an Old Inn Road Sparkling Frizzante). Sadly we were a tad late for the touring Patisserie Fe Fi Fo pastries (sold-out by 10am – as usual, however we came prepared – as usual – with our own little picnic hamper, which we ended up enjoying just up the road at beautiful Stroud lookout.
Further travels along the old Pacific Highway (waving – as usual – to the quirky Girvan high-rise) took us back to the Lakes Way for our last stop at Seal Rocks for a final picnic hamper nibble. What a wonderful way to idle through a day off together.
The road trip was wonderful, the produce delicious – yet our favourite memories were catching up with old friends Wendy and John Hughes (Barrington) and Ollie Rinkin (local sports legend). Of course, elbow touches replaced the usual hugs and handshakes – but chatting face-to-face (from approved social distance) and catching up on all the local town gossip was what really made the day feel so special.
Whether it’s Nabiac Farmers Market, the weekly Secret Farmers Market in Taree – or the monthly Wingham Markets ( first Saturday), Pacific Palms market (as well as all the others on hold so long), these local events offer us the chance to reconnect with friends in way that social media can only attempt to emulate.
May market day return to its rightful place in the heart of our local communities in 2021.