Market Under The Mountain

 

Ahhh! It’s early Wednesday morning – it must be market day!

Who doesn’t enjoy a good growers’ market in bright winter sunshine, especially in such a picturesque setting? In this case at the Murwillumbah showgrounds with Mount Warning in the background. Let me paint the landscape for you.

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Produce in the pavilion – one of the organic stalls

The pretty rural township of Murwillumbah nestles in the centre of the lush Tweed Valley on the far north coast of New South Wales, close to the pristine coastline. Heritage listed Mount Warning, towers in the background – the central volcanic remnant of an ancient shield volcano, and the eastern most point of Australia to catch the sun’s rays each morning.

I call it ‘my mountain’ which always triggers an hilarious lecture from my grandchildren about sharing. The mountain is a special place for others as well. It remains a place of cultural and traditional significance to the Bundjalung people and is a sacred site for ceremonies and initiation rites.

I love the countryside around Murwillumbah. It’s a tapestry of rolling green hills and gently flowing rivers. The rich volcanic soil produces sugar cane, bananas and many fruit and vegetable crops in abundance. Galleries, arts and crafts abound in the quaint art-deco town and the surrounding small village communities, alluding to the diverse demographic and making it a favourite for day trippers.

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The showgrounds

Apart from being able to purchase the fresh produce grown within just a few kilometres of the market, there’s the opportunity to talk to the growers. I buy my eggs from a lady who has just a few chooks running on wide acres of green pasture. Believe me, the taste of the eggs tells the story. The banana man has lady finger bananas like none I’ve tasted elsewhere. He was a wealth of information about natural spraying and how to tell correct ripeness for eating as opposed to cooking.

The patch of grass outside the main pavilion is surrounded by marquees – a favourite spot to have coffee or sample home-cooked foods on offer. I could happily sit there for hours and people-watch while listening to the cool music of the busker. They have a different artist each week.

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A place to rest and enjoy the music.

But the market offers than produce and music. It epitomises the ‘slow movement’ I have written of before.

The market experience makes me feel more in touch with my food. More appreciative of the effort and care taken to grow it. More likely to value and savour the flavours. And more aware of the importance of caring for the environment. That I share this experience with a loved one is even better.

The sense of community at the market is palpable. Strangers taking time for each other – connecting because they’re interested, want to help, and because it feels good. Smiling faces and cruisey attitudes are for me, like drawing a deep oxygen-filled breath, then exhaling the tense busy-ness of city life and the angst un-spooling on the nightly news.

The market puts food on my table and feeds my spirit.

“Each moment you are alive is a gem. It needs you to breathe gently for the miracles to be displayed.” ~

Thich Nhat Hanh

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26 responses to “Market Under The Mountain

  1. I read south wales and was gobsmacked that such a beautiful place was only an hour away from me then i realised this isn’ wales as in from the united kingdom is it haha?! looks like a fun day!x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love local markets. We have one here on the waterfront, and while the fruit and veg don’t seem fresher than those in the supermarkets, they’re certainly cheaper. Plus the multicultural array of foodstalls – particularly the Mexican one where the man who runs it is more than happy for me to practice my rusty Spanish. And the dogs and kids underfoot, and the music…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. looks wonderful. I would be glad if our summer looked this good. I know what you mean about the eggs. I buy mine from a local producer. when you compare them with supermarket bought, there is so much difference in colour and taste.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So much emphasis is being placed on the contentment of our production animals and the difference it makes to the quality of the food they produce – aside from the ethical issues of animal welfare. Thanks for visiting Brenda

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, what a wonderful place to spend a day! And you write so that I can almost feel I’m there with you.Here in southern Rhode Island, we have weekly farmers’ markets and many are trying to buy local from our farmers, cattle and dairy men. Restaurants even have a farm to table night and in the special menu are the ingredients and the local farms from which they came.This is wonderful and I am craving a lady finger banana at 2 AM.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My goodness Clare! Two in the wee hours! A banana sounds just the thing. Maybe a cup of hot cocoa too. Thank you for the kind words Clare. I think passion shines through our words when we’re fully engaged, don’t you? I can imagine how lovely your markets are. We have food festivals too, to showcase the region’s produce. Rhode Islanders sound like my kind of people. I’m biased of course : )

      Liked by 1 person

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