About four or five years ago Fitzroy Gardens in Kings Cross became home to a Saturday Organic Food and Farmers Market. Since then the Saturday markets have become a little town square where locals can go along, socialise and catch up on the area's gossip.
I try to go every Saturday, even when I don't intend on buying flowers or food, because I know that I will probably bump into friends or end up talking to complete strangers. I have met many interesting people there over the years, not least, the stall holders.
Some people even go along to the markets to pay a small fee to sit around and play board games (see picture of "Garden Games" below).
The markets is also the place overrun by politicians in the lead up to elections; was the scene of a protest against Mayor Clover Moore's plans to demolish Fitzroy Gardens; and has also become a regular busking scene.
There was even a busking ''incident'' recently.
The buskers actually have to apply to the market organisers to play in Fitzroy Gardens on Saturdays.
One weekend, the featured buskers were a group of poets who read aloud their work. They were at first situated near the children's playground, but some parents complained when one of the poets started reciting a verse about sex, menstruation and masturbation. It probably wasn't the ideal location or time for those sorts of topics.
So the following week the organisers moved them to a more central part of the markets, right near the plant-dealer.
I walked past them that day, but didn't realise they were busking. The poet's voice was barely audible and I figured it was just some woman talking to herself.
When the poets's allocated time was up, a male guitarist took over. The guitarist played for his given hour but still hadn't finished a song when his time was up.
The poets, who were due to start reciting again, became angry that they were losing valuable time and rudely told the guitarist - mid-song - to quit playing.
This in turn angered the guitarist who accused them of having no respect for his art.
The poets then became fired up and allegedly started yelling abuse and throwing coins at him - not in to his money-hat, but at his face and chest.
A full-on coin-brawl was only stopped when one of the market organisers intervened. Needless to say, the poets have not returned.
Here is one of the market organisers posing with the lovely Louisa from the Parker's Organic Juice stall:
The markets are run by Choulartons Australia, who also manage markets in the Sydney suburbs of Auburn, Chatswood, Hornsby, Double Bay, Frenchs Forest and Gladesville, as well as the regional centre of Newcastle, north of Sydney.
Stalls at the Kings Cross Saturday Markets used to cost just $60 for the day but stallholders now pay between $110 and $125, which has become unaffordable for many.
In the past few months the markets have lost some long-time stallholders, including Francis the Fish Monger, a cheese-dealer, a butcher, a mushroom seller (below) and a Malaysian cafe.
Some stallholders also cite the recent arrival of a nearby Harris Farm green-grocer as halving their business.
But they will get little sympathy from the shopkeepers of Potts Point, who in turn believe the markets have stolen business from them.
Whatever you think, I hope the markets remain, because I could not live without my $6 Saturday morning bacon and egg roll:
Or my iced-tea from Louisa and Hamish at the Parker's Organic Juice stall:
Naturally, Parker's Organic Juice also sell a range of fizzy juice drinks and juices, including the yummy Blood Orange Juice:
While consuming the aforementioned treats I like to look at Ronnie's plants:
Ronnie is a specialist in balcony plants, indoor plants and succulents:
I then might grab a lemon slice from the cake stall. I don't have any photos of the cake stall, but the woman who runs it is really lovely and bakes all the cakes and slices in her domestic kitchen - it must be huge. Cake demands a soy flat white from the Toby's Estate stall:
I always stock up on essential oils from Gabriel's Amphore stall (below). I have had a major mosquito problem in my apartment recently and Gabriel's lavender oil has been the only thing that has kept them at bay. I also put a few drops of lavender oil in to a spray-bottle of water and then use it to mist my clothes - it somehow take the crinkles out, so I don't have to bother with ironing. Gabriel only sells 100 per cent essential oils and they are really well priced. He always gives you a freebie too, if you spend above a certain amount.
Before I leave, I always buy some blooms from the flower stall. The female stall-holder can sometimes be a bit snappy, but who cares when they are the cheapest flowers in the district:
These yellow flowers are only $6, but I can't say I am a fan; they look like little brains. The orchids last up to ten days, look beautiful in a vase and only cost $10 for two bunches:
I have also recently become fond of the quinoa and vegetable pies sold by the Nourishing Quarter stall. The NQ has a eponymous cafe in inner-city Redfern, which I am now keen to visit:
Kings Cross Organic Food and Farmers's Market
8am to 2pm every Saturday
Kings Cross NSW 2010
02 9999 2226
Parker's Organic Juice
Toby's Estate Coffee
Amphore Essential Oils
315 Cleveland Street
Redfern NSW 2016
02 8399 0888