A true market aficionado, I try to take in new markets wherever I travel. Not really the bric-a-brac type, I’m usually on the hunt for good produce or hand-made products. While it’s not a produce market per se, The Hub Markets, certainly had enough fresh produce and hand-made products to keep me interested.
Put on by the Lions Club of Manning River, this eccentrically laid out local community market has stalls winding around, between and inside the buildings at the Taree Showgrounds. While it's not the most picturesque setting I've seen, there is plenty of parking. While this monthly market runs from 8am-12 noon on the third Saturday of every month, I'm told by 'those in the know', 9.30am is a good time to arrive.
You’re not going to find many brand names at this market, which adds to the community feel. The slickest looking labels I encountered belonged to Ginger & Brown Farmstead, located in the small rural township of Elands about 40 minutes north-west of Wingham. Run by a pair of city slickers who have migrated to the bush, they're specialists in fermentation. So on their chalkboard you'll find the prices for their sauerkraut, and unique coffee and ginger kombucha (that may be an acquired taste).
I’m starting to think everyone up this way must has bees and chooks, because every second stall is doing a sideline in honey and free-range eggs.
I’m more excited by big jars of chunky English Marmalade ($5/500g) despite the seller telling me most of her customers prefer it fine cut. For the record, I’m loving the extra texture and bitterness provided by spreading tasty citrus chunks all over my sourdough toast. Clearly loving winter, large fresh radishes were too tempting to pass by. We enjoyed shaping our giant, peppery daikon into our first attempt at Chinese turnip cakes at home, using some pork goods from nearby suburban gem: Mentges Master Meats.
Amongst the plentiful stalls of second hand goods including a slightly creepy doll collection peeking out from the back of a truck, you’ll also find a colourful rainbow of scarves, hand done leather work, and a wood turner.
It would seem those beautiful wooden chopping boards get cheaper the further you get away from Sydney's hipsters. I picked up a lovely turned kerosene wood bowl to hold all my locally grown fruit for under thirty bucks.
A spattering of hot food stallholders make eating breakfast at this market an option too, with reasonable coffee and homemade pies, as just two of the things you'll find.
The Hub Markets
Taree Showgrounds, Corner Muldoon & Mudford Streets, Taree
Ph: (0429) 192 149