There are some urban adventures that cry out for the helping hand of four wheels and a roomy boot. And the ritual weekend market haul is one of them. The more carrying capacity, the less we have to make sacrifices when our eyes are bigger than our bike basket. Here’s our guide to some of the best markets in the country, so you can load up your cargo with the season’s finest (and largest).
Carriageworks Farmers Markets, Sydney
Ordering a coffee from local carbon-neutral roaster Single O before pulling up a milk crate aside Carriageworks’ historic facade is practically a rite of passage at this beloved farmers market. Once you’ve sorted your Saturday morning caffeine needs – and maybe devoured a serving of Merna’s crumpets – there’s plenty of produce grown by NSW producers to explore. Gather up long stems of rhubarb and bulbous artichokes. Select the carrots with their unruly tops still intact (perfect for making your own pesto). With winter approaching, chunky cabbages and cauliflowers are in season. And because there’s no limit to your veg-toting abilities, you can take home tall leeks and celery too.
But it’s not just about the veg here. The flowers are glorious, the saucisson is award-winning and Pepe Saya will ensure your fridge is well-stocked with Sydney's best hand-churned butter.
Prahran Market, Melbourne
This indoor market has been a mainstay of Melbourne home cooks and chefs since 1891. It’s perfect for stocking up on sacks of staples, but also hard-to-find and thoughtfully sourced ingredients. Third-generation family business Pino’s Fine Produce will load you up with bulk tomatoes for passata-making in summer and root veg in winter. Pop next door to organic grocer Ripe for a trunkload of fuji apples, while mushroom man Damian Pike has you covered for delicate (read: highly squishable) truffles and edible flowers.
Lug home a leg of saltbush Dorper lamb from Gary’s Meats with ease – plus a couple of bones for the doggo. Make sure to pause for a decadent grilled cheese toastie at Maker & Monger before you go.
Davies Park Market, Brisbane
Because this is Queensland, the weather is nice so markets are held outdoors. Colloquially known as West End Market, this Brisbane favourite spreads out under the shade of the giant fig trees in Davies Park each Saturday.
Organic kale, free-range eggs and bulk legumes are all here, but you’ll also find the likes of bitter melon, longans and tiny Thai eggplants. Stock up on different kinds of ferments (like smoked garlic kraut or cauliflower kimchi) from Gutsy, and BYO bottle to fill with Buchi’s on-tap kombucha. Select two bunches of Darling Downs-grown sunflowers if you will, but make sure to save some space for pots of microgreens from Black Bear Farm and lion’s mane ’shrooms from urban mushroom growers Little Acre.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, grab a cold Black Star coffee and a paper plate overflowing with Hungarian langos, and settle in front of the live music to soak up the feel-good community vibes.
Fremantle Markets, Perth
The vibrant Freo Markets has a handsome heritage-listed facade and dates back to 1897. It’s the kind of place where local karri tree honey sits alongside crocodile pate, and you can sample smoked German mettwurst (but made on kangaroo) before tucking into a matcha soft serve.
If you were a bit too excited about your car’s carrying potential and forgot to pack your reusable bags, try The Natural Storage Co for its produce sacks and beeswax wraps. You’ll still need some form of carrying contraption, because your arms will be full of locally grown proteas from sustainable florist Market Stems.
Once you’ve gathered all your provisions, sip a Turkish coffee or tea at Palace Patisserie and pack some of their Ottoman borek to go. You can zip over to Leighton Beach for a dip and enjoy it with a view of the big blue.
Central Market, Adelaide
Another of Australia’s historic market halls, Central Market dates back to 1869. This lively hub has the same kind of energy as some of the European greats. No space is wasted with tidy towers of citrus and plums reaching braids of garlic suspended from above, and hanging salumi greeting deli goods below.
Go heavy on Australian-grown macadamias and almonds at Charlesworth Nuts, while The Olive Tree can load you up with local oils and wines. If unimaginably large portions of 24-month comte or a Swiss raw milk number called chällerhocker are your thing, The Smelly Cheese Shop has a slab (or wheel) with your name on it.
Farmer-merchant Rom from Rommy’s Market Garden keeps multiple types of potatoes. Take home bulky black midnight pearl potatoes and palm-sized kipflers.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with the MINI Countryman. With a roomy interior and 450 litre do-everything sized boot, it’s designed to do everything a city dweller needs and more.