A visit to Avondale Markets was well overdue for us – it always seems to rain on Sunday mornings which puts me off going – but this Sunday was bright, clear and an unseasonable 20 degrees or so, perfect for a market jaunt. Citrus were looking great, with lemons clocking in at around $1-2/kilo, mandarins about the same and limes around $5-7/kilo. I went for the mandarins labelled ‘picked yesterday’, beautifully fragrant and sweet.
Met a lovely Thai woman who said she only comes to Avondale a few times a year, with produce from her Clevedon garden. She had lovely wee organic limes which I’ve been using like mad this week in just about everything – they’re tiny but so so juicy! She also had beautiful fresh Thai herbs, bay leaves and kaffir limes.
There are a couple of stalls selling Isaan Thai snacks like sticky banana rice wraps, fresh spring rolls and laab. We picked up some chicken laab, zingy, spicy and a of a drier consistency than the laab I make at home; nice.
There’s a stall on the far Western side that sells produce imported from Fiji. We always head there for green papaya to make Som Tam – I wish Thai restaurants in Auckland would do the same, instead of making an inferior carrot version! This week I spotted fresh white turmeric there, as well as the more common yellow turmeric. The stall holder said the white variety was mostly used for pickling, in Indian cuisine. They also had the long snake beans that are so excellent in Thai and Vietnamese salads.
Oh, and Pukeko Bakery is now at Avo, having taken a permanent stall a few months back. Will more artisan stalls follow? I hope so. I think it would be great to mix it up a bit, without changing the face of the place too much. It’s lovely to be able to buy freshly baked artisan bread along with your fruit and veg. Hoorah.
Among other things, we also bought fennel bulbs at two for $1.50, a huge bag of tart Granny Smiths, green papaya Asian Bride eggplant, nice fresh coriander by the kilo, bambino bread rolls and little Roma tomatoes. All far, far cheaper and fresher than the supermarket.
Over in the non-food area the stalls were abuzz with all the latest junk picked up from inorganic collections. Yes, all that crap you throw out migrates here. Ten year old cans of carpet shampoo, anyone?
I had to include a photo I took of some stall holders’ lunch of McDonald’s juxtaposed against all the lovely, healthy produce. Why would you?!