Independent grocers, fishmongers, supermarkets, delis, butchers and more around Sydney are easing the burden of getting good produce – and what to make with it – during lockdown. Some of the below come with recipe cards, others with pantry selections so tempting you’ll need to clear a shelf. All of them are delivering (or offering pick-up) and making the weekly shop a little more interesting, ethical and local. Meal plans at the ready.

Romeo’s IGA
Romeo’s IGA has three locations in Sydney, and each delivers to its surrounding area. There’s Romeo’s North Sydney; MLC (Martin Place); and its newest spot in South Eveleigh. All deliver to the eastern suburbs, CBD, inner west and northern suburbs.

The South Eveleigh and Martin Place outposts are a collaboration between Romeo’s director Joseph Romeo and Sydney chef Orazio D’Elia (Matteo Downtown and Double Bay). The stores are a food hall-supermarket hybrid, and the South Eveleigh store is located inside an old heritage train workshop. The stores have in-house fishmongers, butchers and delis.

For delivery, as well as fresh fruit and veg, you can get ready meals (lasagne, vegan spag bol, soups, curries); sushi, meat and fish; cheeses and deli delights; flowers, papers and mags from the newsagent; and bakery goods. Check out the gourmet section for fancy pasta sauces, vinegars, granola and cookies. There are also fresh shrink-wrapped Romeo’s pizzas in two sizes. Online there’s a specials tab you can use to find the good deals.

Romeo’s is doing free on orders over $300 delivery within a two-hour window right now, and a substantial number of Sydney suburbs are covered.

Two Providores
Chefs love these guys and you will too. Two Providores works with small, sustainable producers and farmers across Australia. Before 2020’s Sydney lockdown it was only open for wholesale to the hospitality industry and it still supplies goods to some of this city’s best restaurants and cafes. But now us average Joes can get fish, meat, dairy goods, cleaning products, fruit, veg and more. And its offering has increased since the first lockdown too.

“We’re doing everything we can to support Australian producers and to keep the hospitality industry going,” Debbie Black, Two Providores’ marketing and communications manager tells Broadsheet.

More bulk items are available, such as butter and sugar. There’s even a 2.5-kilogram block of Messina chocolate previously only available to chefs. “Now, with people at home baking and doing lots of cooking, if they wanted to buy a 25-kilogram bag of flour the same as our wholesale customers they can do that,” says Black.

Subscribe to the Two Providores newsletter for specials usually only open to restaurants, such as two-kilogram buckets of Meredith Dairy goat’s curd, and 70 per cent off caviar with a week left on its used-by date. Truffles are available by contacting the customer service team.

“Our main focus is on Australian artisan produce and to support its producers,” says Black.

Next-day pick-up is available Monday to Friday for orders made before 10pm. For delivery, orders need to be made 48 hours in advance and also by 10pm. This time round the delivery fee has been reduced: it’s now free for orders over $100 (it was previously $200) in metro Sydney.

Good & Fugly
Good & Fugly is on a mission to rescue imperfect fruit and veg and deliver it across Sydney in an effort to reduce food waste. Good & Fugly reckons 25 per cent of fruit and veg doesn’t even leave the farm because it isn’t deemed pretty enough for supermarket shelves. So this start-up is making it easy to save it from landfill by delivering it in seasonal boxes to you. What’s in the boxes varies from week to week, but there will always be staples such as potatoes, onions, and leafy greens in every order. Plus, each box comes with recipe cards and the good vibes of knowing you’re eating food that would otherwise have gone to waste (and organic waste leads to greenhouse-gas emissions). Boxes come in two sizes: small ($39), which feeds up to two people for around four to five days, and large ($59), for up to five people for around four to five days. Both prices include delivery.

Deliveries happen Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, depending on where you live.

Sydney Fish Market
You know it sells fish and seafood, but did you know that Sydney Fish Market retailers are also delivering butcher, greengrocer and deli items too?

Get a fruit and veg box from Parisi, a sushi platter from Nicholas Seafood, oysters from Claudio’s, meat from Vic’s Meat, fresh and cooked seafood from Christie’s Seafoods, and artisanal cheeses and much more from Blackwattle Deli.

However, the market can’t bundle together orders from the different retailers and you have to order from each individually.

Harvest Bites Marketplace
Harvest Bites Marketplace is an online store stocked with dinner packs from some of Sydney’s favourite chefs and restaurants, as well as pantry items and fruit and veg boxes. Every order helps food-rescue organisation Ozharvest feed people experiencing food insecurity.

“Every time you order food through Harvest Bites it means we get to feed people,” Ozharvest founder Ronni Kahn tells Broadsheet. She says that Harvest Bites has so far helped the food-rescue organisation deliver more than 150,000 meals to vulnerable Aussies.

Marketplace features a range of meal kits that require only a little heating at home. To look forward to: a vego mezze spread by Kepos Street Kitchen, Ho Jiak’s signature Hainan chicken and its Wagyu rendang, a two-pasta pack with rigatoni and slow-cooked Wagyu, and a cacio e pepe from Fabbrica, Rising Sun Workshop’s ramen kits, and a chicken or eggplant curry by Abhi’s Indian.

Then add to your order: chocolate-covered macadamias, salt flakes and hot sauce from the pantry section. And browse the hamper section to brighten up lockdown for friends, family or yourself.

Irene and Chi Ching Fu have been running this Chinatown grocer for nearly 40 years. “We supply fresh produce to big Chinese restaurants like Golden Century, Palace and Marigold, and when Covid hit, we lost 80 per cent of our business,” the couple’s daughter-in-law Jen Ng told Broadsheet in June 2020.

To stay afloat the business went online, and Sydney grocery shoppers are the true beneficiaries of the new arrangement (which started life as a home-spun spreadsheet shared between friends that went viral and is now a fully-fledged online shop).

Add to cart: fresh rice noodles; egg noodles; canned goods such as water chestnuts, coconut milk and lychees; sauces and condiments; homemade kimchi; pantry items including rice and cooking oil; and some Western staples. The only things it doesn’t stock is fresh milk and cheese.

Season’s is best known for its excellent produce, particularly Asian greens such as gai lan, choy sum, garlic chives and bok choy. Many of the vegetable lines are grown by Sydney farmers who’ve been working with the Fu family for decades, delivering produce within just two days of being harvested.

Special items include fresh egg tarts, frozen dumplings, honey-pepper steak and DIY meal kits, which bundle ingredients and include recipes for home cooks to make dishes such as Peking duck pancakes and spicy sesame-vinegar eggplant. Plans are in the works to add hot-pot kits and pork-belly bao.

Orders over $100 are free, otherwise the delivery fee is $8. There’s a minimum spend of $50 per order. If you’re within range of Haymarket you can also arrange to pick your order up. Deliveries happen on Saturdays, and the delivery range covers a lot of Sydney.

Wholefoods House
This family-owned business, now based at The Cannery in Rosebery, and with a location in Woollahra, has relationships with a network of organic farmers. If you can’t visit its physical stores it also does delivery and has bakery, fish and meat, pantry, and confectionery sections. Find gluten-free breads and sourdough; organic eggs; all the fruit and veg you could need; sauces, oils and vinegars; nut butters; canned goods; fresh fish, Pepe Saya butter; bone broths; cheeses; and loads more.

Wholefoods House has developed a range of sustainable seafood, fresh and tinned. “We import salmon from Alaska – it’s 100 per cent wild caught. No antibiotics or any of the other nasty chemicals used in farming,” says Wholefoods House chief operating officer Luke Christie.

Wholefoods House has exclusive relationships with producers, such as berry growers. “We’ve gone to great lengths to cultivate those relationships. We care about what happens between the farm and the consumer so we’re across that whole operation,” says Christie.

Pick-up or next-day delivery is available to the inner city, inner west, north and south Sydney and the eastern suburbs. Delivery is free for orders over $250. Otherwise it ranges from $5 to $15. Broadsheet readers can get free first-time delivery with the code: WFHBROADSHEET on a minimum spend of $50.

Additional reporting by Pilar Mitchell, Winnie Stubbs and Aimee Chanthadavong.