Sydney Markets, Flemington
We are up at dawn on Saturday to visit this fruit, vegetable and flower market that lies 13 kilometres west of the city and serves as Sydney’s food bowl. By 6 am the market has been open for hours. The place is in a flurry of activity: forklifts are artfully whizzed about, banks of delivery trucks start to head back out and the last of the retail vans are being loaded with bounty. About this time the general public start to replace the retailers.
At the flower market we find Matthew helping a florist from Mt Druitt load his van. Matthew has been up since 2 am to help his father Ted.
Inside, florists with arm loads of flowers are doing a last minute dash.
The flowers here are a third of their usual cost, so people tend to be extravagant. I notice people’s selections. A nun opts for all white.
These will be featured in a sample wedding bouquet.
This red and white theme will decorate a big early family Christmas celebration tomorrow.
And these are simply to add colour to the house.
A stall holder sells some delicious David Austin roses from Glenorie.
At the flea market I meet Jackie who has driven down from the Blue Mountains, on the lookout for good second hand jeans for her vintage clothing shop in Springwood.
By 9 am the produce markets are packed with shoppers, their trollies and progeny. The weather is pea soup humid. Walking through the aisles piled high on either side with fruit and vegetables, or eggs, cheeses, dried fruits, spices, nuts, is an assault on the senses.
The choice and variety becomes bewildering: cherries from Young, onions from Jerilderie, peaches from Murrumbidgee, capsicums from Camden, strawberries from the Central Tablelands. We want mangoes but should we go for the Kensington Pride, R2E2 or Calypso? Who has the best cherries? And as for mushrooms – well don’t even go there.
We snatch a box of Kensington Pride and head for the car park.
I spot Sister Renee and Sister Emilyn on the way and admire their festive poinsettias. Sister Renee retorts: ‘Christmas is here, no fear.’ They have driven from Mulgoa near the Warragamba Dam where their lay Catholic order called Schoenstatt is based. They graciously pose for me and I give them our card with the link to this blog. Sister Renee mentions Sister Emilyn is the expert Googler although she is receiving lessons. Offering us rich blessings, she sweeps off with a parting; ‘We will Google!’
A mother kindly proffers this tender cargo.
On our way home we keep noticing flowers in unexpected places.
And straight into a cool bath they go, to revive them after the heat.