The Market to End All Markets
Farmer’s markets might be a bit of an obsession of mine. I have been known to drag our family to the market in the middle of howling wind and driving rain to make our weekly appearance at the Grand Army Plaza Farmer’s Market. It was one of our family rituals and one we all enjoyed each Saturday morning. I know Jay will take issue with my saying that I “dragged” the family because he too has become a market devotee. The combination of excellent food quality, supporting local small businesses and the community aspect made the market one of our favorite family activities.
We have made an effort to stop at many weekly markets as our trip has gotten underway. We knew we had to make the stop when we read that the Eumundi Market was the largest in all of Australia. It takes place in the small town of Eumundi, Queensland every Wednesday and Saturday. We had stopped in Caloundra for a few days to catch our breath after all of the rain and chose Wednesday as our market day.
I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about its size particularly since it was not close to any urban center that I usually associate with larger markets. The first indication that the size of the market was not being exaggerated was the difficulty finding parking. There were people streaming from every direction, apparently having parked at some great distance – there were even several pay lots that I associate more with concerts than with farmer’s markets.
Once we parked, we walked in under the huge sign – make it, bake it, sew it, grow it. Our first stop was breakfast as we had postponed breakfast until we arrived at the market. We decided to go with a wide assortment – mini dutch pancakes, handmade dumplings, handmade vegetarian samosas and a delicious vegetarian omelette. The omelette was the result of a recommendation of an American we met in line that said as soon as he got off the plane having moved from Australia two years ago, he headed straight for the stand to get that omelette. While I am not sure it would reach that level for me, it was delicious.
The rest of the morning we roamed the various lanes of the market. It had an extraordinary assortment of items. The boys were engrossed by the free thirty minute magic show – they saw it twice. Jay was equally enamored with a coffee stand that he found a way to frequent three times during our three hour market visit. There was also the opal jewelry vendor complete with pictures of him mining the opals himself about ten hours southwest of the market. He gave the boys each a small stone! There was an entire section of the market focused on relaxation with reflexology, massages, palm readers and live spa music. We didn’t partake although I was fascinated by its inclusion. There was a huge collection of clothing, homewares, craft items and endless miracle remedies for a seemingly endless list of ailments. And the market would not have been complete without the eyebrow threading stand, which I was eager to see… I am taking this whole camping look pretty far, but I need some maintenance! There was a playground on one end of the stalls, where the boys were able to play while Jay and I continued to take turns exploring.
We somehow managed to work up an appetite in all of our market-ing. The options were pretty extensive – Thai, Malaysian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Chinese, Italian, Caribbean, French and many others. For lunch opted for a chicken schnitzel wrap (a weirdly bland choice given our options), a wood oven pizza (first pizza since leaving NYC), and spinach and cheese gozleme (Lake’s new favorite). It was a tasty and enjoyable excursion.