5:20 seems awful early to be getting up on a Saturday morning (how long since I’ve been a paperboy?), but that’s what I did to go to the food markets at New Farm Park.
New Farm Park itself is huge with a tree lined ring road, flower gardens, impressive old trees and plenty of folks out jogging, playing with dogs, and other fitness activities. It’s right by the river with good views of some of the ostentatious houses on the other side. It’s also home to the Brisbane Powerhouse, a former power station converted into an arts venue.
The markets are held once a month (second Saturday) and are very popular. I bumped into a mate who was working one of the fruit stalls and he said the early morning was busy with older folks and serious foodies, while the late morning was a great time for checking out the “bird” life. Unfortunately, at 6am I was stuck with the grey set and boy, do they come prepared. Everyone’s got their special “granny walker”, a shopping basket on wheels. My mum and her friend were a bit more hi-tech with their fold-up versions.
Wandering around the stalls, there was tons on offer. Many stalls had the usual items like bread, specific fruits, little cakes, flowers, vegetables, and meats. There was also a good range of specialty items such as emu products, beeswax, fancy soaps, and gourmet sauces.
As I was wandering around, most of the vendors were more than happy for me to take pictures of their wares. They usually did not want to actually be in the photo, but did not care if I snapped away at the foodstuff. The Chilli Factory guy, though, was another story. He was very uncertain about letting me take a photo and I was glad I’d asked him if it was OK beforehand. It looks like he has a good product but since he’s a paranoid freak and does not like other people promoting his business I won’t include his website. Has a website but no business cards, he very reluctantly gave me a label tag from one of his bottles.
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Fortified by a cup of coffee, I made my way back to where we’d come in. I’d heard my dad rave on about this German sausage guy with 25 different varieties of sausage and I wanted to check it out for myself. In true German style, the stall was very efficiently laid out, showing everything they had and the corresponding prices. They also had two grills on the go with a selection of their Bratwurst and Bockwurst sausages. Figuring it was probably night-time in Chicago, I bought one, thanked the genius who thought of wrapping pig bits in its own skin, and chowed down on its fatty goodness.
Normally a beer goes down well with a German sausage, but the pickings were slim (oh yeah, it’s 6:30am). This was as close as I could get. If you wanted to get fancy booze though, you could really go to town, with all sorts of fruity exilirs (website) to kill those brain cells.
To ward off the food coma I walked around the Powerhouse building and down to the river to have another look at the ugly houses people insist on building over the water. One vendor I kept coming back to was the fish guy. He sounded like he was from East London and had the sales patter worthy of Bacon from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. He was doing his best to get rid of the bloody great fish in front, but it was still there when I left.
Going to the markets is a great way to start the morning and there’s enough variety of products around that you could buy everything you needed for a picnic and then find a spot in the park itself to enjoy it by the river or views of the city. New Farm Park is accessible by public transport (bus or ferry). If you’re driving, parking is free within the park, but arrive early to get a spot.
We were in and out within 80 minutes and the gals looked pretty pleased with the result.