Eveleigh arts and culture precinct Carriageworks has had a tough time of it lately – even by coronavirus standards. Like other entertainment venues across the country, it had to close during lockdown. But with six months of cancelled events taking a toll on its wafer-thin margins, it fell into voluntary administration. Thankfully, though, it’s been saved – thanks to government grants and philanthropic donations. And for the first time since lockdown, the popular Carriageworks Farmers Markets will reopen this Saturday, August 8.

“It has been a huge celebration,” creative director Mike McEnearney (Kitchen by Mike) tells Broadsheet. “The market is a lifeline to our incredible producers, and we are proud to be able to reopen and give Sydney the chance to buy NSW’s finest produce once more.

“Carriageworks Farmers Market is not only a place to buy your produce, it is a community of over 70 NSW producers that gather every Saturday, together with Sydneysiders local and afar. It is the fabric that connects the country to the city and allows people to form a relationship not only with growers and producers, but also with the food they eat.”

McEnearney says the market has established a strict safety plan. It’ll operate as a shop-and-go service (no hanging around to munch on your Flour and Stone croissant), limit entry to 350 patrons at a time, increase space between stalls, and encourage visitors to wear masks.

With the new in-and-out system to adhere to, now isn’t the time to dawdle between stalls, trying in vain to decide which ones to visit. Here are the producers and makers we reckon you should visit this weekend. Don’t forget your mask.

Alto Olives
Olive oil is a staple in the home pantry, but the quality you’ll find in the supermarket often isn’t up to scratch (in fact, former Icebergs chef Monty Koludrovic reckons the stuff you’ll find there is rancid). The extra-virgin olive oils at Alto are different, though – they’re fresh and vibrant. Pick up the mandarin version for a citrusy hit, or stick with the Alto Robust for a more traditional flavour. Alto will also be selling table olives (which we think should be a kitchen staple).

Bread & Butter Project
Australia’s first social-enterprise bakery was established in 2013 by the Bourke Street Bakery founders. The aim is to help refugees gain employment by giving them the skills to work in a bakehouse. From Saturday, the bakery will be selling loaves of bread and pastries at its Carriageworks stall; visit and get the added gratification of knowing you’re supporting a worthy cause.

Thirlmere Poultry Supply
You’ll need eggs to pair with that sourdough for your weekend morning breakfast – and Thirlmere Poultry Supply is a tops place to get them. They’re fresh as all get-out, and you can also grab a chook or duck for dinner while you’re there.

Wormticklers Nursery
Sure, you could visit Bunnings to buy your next plant baby. But it’s just as easy to pop in to Carriageworks for a new foliage friend that’s been grown sans-chemicals and in tune with the seasons. Grab a packet of seeds to plant later, or a veggie seedling in a biodegradable pot. There’s never been a better time to grow your own food.

La Bastide
We’re not travelling to France any time soon, so this might have to be our French fix for a while: a market stall selling award-winning saucisson. The cured sausages are made according to French technique, and along with traditional saucisson (made with pork, wine, salt and pepper), stallholder Jean-Marc Amar sells a range of spins on the classic sausage, including a drier version, a spicy one and another covered in dried herbs. You can also grab smooth pork rillettes and Toulouse sausages.

Pepe Saya
Forgive us for sounding like a broken record, but when it comes to butter, there’s no finer in Sydney than Pepe Saya – and Carriageworks is where the brand got its start. The hand-churned butter is rich, creamy, and ultra-fresh. At the stall you’ll also find crème fraîche, buttermilk and mascarpone.