My Three Favourite Market Stalls
I have been trading at markets now for over twenty years in Victoria, Australia. Mainly on the Mornington Peninsula but I do trade further afield in Canberra and Tasmania. Trading at Craft and Farmers markets becomes a bit of a lifestyle. You meet some fantastic people amongst your fellow traders.
Your fellow traders become good friends as you spend so much time together week after week. You grow a bond as you share the ups and downs of market life. Good and bad weather days. Busy markets and slow markets.
The one bonus that never changes though is being surrounded by some of the best Handmade, Home Cooked or Home grown produce that you will ever find anywhere in Australia. All of the producers take a lot of pride in what they sell and there is nothing like being face to face with the person that made what you are buying.
Featured here are three of my favourite traders that have been at a market I have traded at or sometimes just happened to visit. Some I have known for up to twenty years, some I have only met for the first time.
There are loads of good food market stalls on the markets and I certainly have my favourites. But the one that I keep going back to is lady Paella. Absolutely delicious paella. I love rice, I love spices and I love chicken. Put them all together and you have my attention. Especially if you manage to turn those ingredients into an award-winning combination which is an iconic dish that’s replicated in a lot of kitchens the world.
This is precisely what Lady Paella has achieved. Winning the regional and then national Paella Cooking Championship to represent Australia. Lady Paella is run by Jessica and Paul Alvarez. They attend about ten markets a month and the occasional Festival. You will find them at most of the Craft Market of Australia markets. Jess who is a qualified chef started Lady Paella in about 2004 with the paella influence coming from her nonno who is Spanish and her mother, part French.
Jess also runs cooking classes and Paul, who is a computer wizard is in the middle of a course while still keeping busy with the day to day running of the business. The guys travel all over Victoria for their markets all year round.
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Website : www.ladypaella.com.au/
Instagram : www.instagram.com/ladypaella/
I started on the markets over twenty years ago at the Mornington Wednesday market. My neighbour was Robert with his excellent pestos. We have been friends ever since. I now see more of his son Chris on the markets and sometimes young Cooper his grandson. Alberto’s delicacies are the creation of nonna Albert. Albert used to make his delicacies way before the boys started selling it at the markets. They make all of their products from scratch.
How time has passed. But their Pestos, over twenty years later still remain as brilliant as the very first day I tried them. There is also the home-made Fresh Pasta and Gnocchi that is so popular you need to grab it early before it runs out. The Basil Pesto is my favourite. I love making a creamy Basil Pesto Sauce with strands of salami and Alberto’s Gnocchi. Absolutely delicious. I miss the days when Robbo use to have marinated Mussels and Octopus. Bring them back.
You will find Rob or Chris Lombardo at one of the two dozen or so markets that they attend monthly. They attend both Farmers and Craft markets, including most of the Craft Market of Australia markets.
Like a lot of the producers on the markets, Alberto’s are always juggling with the fresh products they use as the seasons change and the prices fluctuate. They travel around two to three hours from base to bring their products to the healthy following they have built up over the years. They trade all year round. It is a rare thing that Chris manages to get away to kick up some dirt on his trail bike.
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I’m not sure how long I have known Doris and Andrew Herrick of Rushweaver Jewellery , but it has been about five years now that we started exchanging travel stories. It has been a tradition now for me and the daughter to stop off to say goodbye at the end of a market. Alas, our travel chats and plans have been curtailed due to travel being stopped worldwide due to Covid.
Besides the travel talk, I have been buying a bunch of ear-rings every year for my daughter at Christmas from Doris. Besides the fact they are absolutely beautiful as can be testified by the constant flow of customers at busy markets. They are also some of the only ones I have found that don’t cause a reaction to her ears.
It wasn’t really until I popped in recently to take some photos for this post did I realise how beautiful the pieces actually are. The more I looked the more I realised how special they were. This was confirmed by the few customers that I heard during the five minutes I spent in the Rushweaver Jewellery stall. They were all very impressed. Both new and returning customers.
As the name suggests, Andrew and Doris used to be Rushweavers. They now attend about half a dozen markets a month. Some of the Craft Market of Australia markets and also Heidi Park and Warrandyte. They trade all year and have been running the business for about eighteen years. The guys make all their own pieces and Doris kind of categorised as “tribal, beaded Australian” but even from my untrained prospective I can see this is an evolving thing. The little I know about fashion is that it is always changing.
Phone : 0403 918316
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