Orange Grove markets have been serving it up to Sydneysiders for 14 years. If you’re visiting our city and want a spectacular taste of organic produce, artisan breads and gourmet treats without too much schlepping around, then come on over. It’s top nosh without the frills. Located in the grounds of Orange Grove Public School in the inner-west suburb of Lilyfield, each Saturday hundreds of people flock to shop, gossip, taste and bring their kids to picnic and play. The markets are joie de vivre and also a showcase for independent producers and growers.
I spent Saturday morning exploring Orange Grove markets, and here’s just a sample of what I found and tasted. I took one shopping bag and came home with four.
G & B Herbs: Paul Mazza has been a fixture at Orange Grove for 13 years. He knows the turf. Some of his customers come from as far afield as Cronulla and the Southern Highlands. When he first started his herbs, plants and flower stall there were only about 20 other stallholders, but now he says there’s more than 100.
The Farmers Wife: Owner Wendy was a TAB agent for 31 years and decided she needed a change. Her love for homemade preserves turned into a cracker of a business. One of her best-selling items is Elderflower Cordial, a really old-fashioned favourite with a lemony tang. Wendy recommends you serve it with sparkling mineral water, or add a dash to a champagne cocktail. She sources her elderflowers from the Hunter Valley. The great tasting jams, butters and chutneys are available online and can be packed and sent directly anywhere in Australia. Her product list of 20 jams are reasonably priced at $6.50 a jar.
Moo and More: Libby gets up at 2.30am each Saturday to pack up and drive to Orange Grove from her home hundreds of kilometres north of Sydney. Her butter, cream and cheeses have that WOW factor. Rich, intense flavours that are unmistakably from happy grass-fed dairy cows near Tamworth in northern NSW.
The milk of Jersey cows carries the A2 protein which is more easily digestible. The heroine Jersey also produces more milk than a Friesian. Libby says Australians now have more educated tastes about food and buying fresh produce – the plethora of TV cooking shows has been an important influence.
She has been part of Orange Grove for six years and says she has 700 regular customers. Libby sells two ranges of cheeses which include camembert, washed rind, gruyere, fetta, blue and pecorino.
Mo Resin: Former Parisian fashion journalist Sandrine and her artist husband Olivier moved from France to Sydney seven years ago and Orange Grove is one outlet for their avant garde gold and silver leaf jewellery encased in resin. It’s light, indestructible and every piece makes a statement. Olivier develops new ranges all the time. You’ll find Sandrine tapping her foot to the music played by the band next door to her jewellery display. Read more about Mo Resin in an earlier blog here
Croquembouche: Sydney’s much loved Croquembouche Pâtisserie was founded in 2000 by Frederic and Laurence Caillon. Thanks to the support of folk in the southeast suburbs of Banksmeadow and Botany, the word soon spread around about “this new cake place” and the rest is a delicious history.
The French couple now have three stores and 25 staff. Laurence runs the Orange Grove stall and is almost too busy to talk. She says it’d be hard to pinpoint customer favourites because each weekend, everything sells out. Their tarts, quiches, croissants and hot cross buns sell like… hot cakes!
I made lunch from the market produce I had bought: freshly smoked salmon (yes, smoked on site!), organic tomatoes and asparagus, followed by Croquembouche’s French apple tart with a dollop of Moo & More’s double cream, with a glass of Elderflower Cordial and sparkling mineral water over crushed ice. The avocado is from my garden.
- Orange Grove Organic Food Markets, 2-8 Perry St, Lilyfield, NSW 2040
- Open 8am-1pm each Saturday
- Sydney buses: Route 445 and 470
- Metro Light Rail: Sun-Thu: 6am-11pm, Fri & Sat: 6am-12pm
- Over 100 stalls
- Prices are super affordable.