Regular market shoppers at the Paddington Markets, Capital Region Farmer's Markets and Old Bus Depot Markets will be familiar with Anthea Cahill and her 'real chai' stall.
The fragrant aroma of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and cloves will stop you in your tracks, if the sample cups of chocolate chai (with real chunks of yummy French dark chocolate) don't!
Anthea is passionate about chai and tells me she discovered it when she was travelling in the Czech Republic in 2004. She came home and took the plunge into small business after initially making up packages of her own chai blend as Christmas gifts for friends. 'I tried out at Gorman House Markets and was a big hit', she said. 'Old Bus Depot Markets and EPIC followed and then I had staff and here we are'.
Anthea's real chai range includes a caffeine free tea based on chicory and dandelion; white Christmas chai made with white chocolate, cranberries, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger; chocolate made with chunks of French chocolate; and original made with black tea, spices and love. For me, real chai is a far cry from the powdered, way-too-sugary substance sold in many cafes. There are recipes and videos on how to make the perfect brew with real chai on Anthea's web site, together with testimonials and FAQs. And if you can't make it to one of the real chai market stalls, you can shop online via the site. Try my prunes poached in Real Chai and Indian Spice and Vanilla!
In between running a restaurant, preparing a range of frozen meals and curry pastes, making media appearances and writing various blogs, the amazing Jackie M finds time to feed the crowds every Saturday at her Orange Grove Markets stall at Leichhardt in Sydney.
I had read and heard many good things about Jackie's cooking, particularly her Char Kway Teow and Roti. A container of Jackie's freshly made Roti Kaya (Roti with Coconut and Pandan Jam) disappeared before I had the chance to photograph it for this snippet. Indeed, it was so delicious, Peter and I couldn't help but tuck in immediately.
If you can't make it to Leichhardt, Jackie's food is also available from The Happy Hawker stalls at the Concord Hospital Market, Marrickville Markets and Hornsby-Kurringai Hospital Markets. Jackie's restaurant is at 85 Majors Bay Road, Concord and is open from 5.00-10.00pm Thursday to Saturday. Bear in mind that reservations are limited!
Russell Farr and Lyn Jones of Windellama Organics
One of the most inviting stalls to have caught my eye at the Capital Region Farmer's Markets recently is Windellama Organics. Look at the quality of the produce in the images below and the smiles on the stall owner's faces and you will understand why.
Growers, Lyn Jones and Russell Farr, previously worked in the online travel industry, but say they always wanted to have a farm. 'We wanted to farm good quality produce,' Lyn explained. 'Which is why we chose to go organic. This is our third season. Among a range of certified other organic produce, berries are our thing'.
On their stall, Lyn and Russell offer berries, beans, radish, cucumber, snow peas, tatsoi, mizuna, eggs, parsley and a salad mix that includes nasturtium flowers. You will find Windellama Organics at the Capital Region Farmer's Markets and Southside Farmer's Markets in Canberra each weekend, and look for them on Facebook too. Their farm is at Windellama, an hour northeast of Canberra, close to Tarrago.
Alongside hand-made, organically tinted 'Warp and Weft' products from Peru, Mat Campbell is now selling his first commercial crop of organic garlic.
Mat grows three varieties of garlic (hard neck, soft neck and Russian) on a small sustainable farm at Robertson in NSW and has recently received organic certification.
I spoke with Mat at his stall at the Orange Grove Farmer's Markets in Leichhardt. He explained the background to Warp and Weft and how he and partner, Harriet, had travelled through South America and, upon returning home, were inspired to establish an ethical business practising principles of Fair Trade.
You will find Mat and his Green Heart Organic Garlic at the Orange Grove Farmer's Markets in Leichhardt on Saturdays. Closer to home, Warp and Weft will be trading at the National Folk Festival over Easter.
We discovered Yahya Sevim of Andy's Gozleme at the National Multicultural Festival and were delighted to learn that he has a stall at the Gorman House Markets in Canberra every Saturday.
Andy's offers traditional Turkish pastries and gozleme, including spinach and fetta, as well as with mince. Catering is also available.
Yahya was a chef in Mersin, Turkey, where he and six brothers owned a seafood restaurant, Picnic. He has been in Australia for ten years now, with five in Sydney and the last five in Canberra.
You will find Andy's Gozleme at the Gorman House Markets in Canberra on Saturdays and the Hall Market on the first Sunday of each month.
Jane Sherborne-Higgins and husband, Harold Higgins from Goulburn Garlic had sold out of their beautiful garlic braids by the time we arrived at the Capital Region Farmer's Market this morning.
No wonder, their biodynamic garlic is OGA certified 'in conversion' and was perfectly plump and fresh.
Jane and Harold currently grow three varieties of garlic, as well as rhubarb on their biodynamic farm just outside of Goulburn in New South Wales. You will find them at the Capital Region Farmer's Markets every Saturday morning and also at the new Concorde Farmer's Markets from February 2012.
With Christmas just around the corner, Shavaya Huskinson's gingerbread cookies caught my eye at the Hall Markets today.
Shavaya sells her gingerbread houses, gingerbread cookies and construction kits under the label Sweet Tooth Constructions. The gingerbread man we sampled was absolutely yummy and we plan to buy a selection of gingerbread cookies as a Christmas gift for a family member.
Look for Sweet Tooth Constructions at the Hall Markets, the Queanbeyan Sunset Markets, Tuggernanong Homestead Markets, Captain's Flat Markets and the Ginninderra Village Markets.
Helen and Dennis Smith started their little business at their property just north of Temora four years ago with just 20 hens. Now, they are hatching galore and have more than two and a half thousand free range chookies.
The result is a bountiful supply of beautiful fresh eggs which they sell at the Capital Region Farmer's Market; as well as the Double Shot cafe in Deakin; and IGA Temora and Grenfell.
Helen and Dennis kindly stopped to smile for this photo in between a steady stream of regular happy customers.
Visitors to the farm are welcome.
Meet Scott Jones, Manager of the Alpine Berry Farm with his happy youngsters, Brooke and Jackson every Saturday at the Capital Region Farmer's Market.
Owned by the Hatcher family, the Alpine Berry Farm is located in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia.
You'll find their range of beautiful jams, marmalades and berry sauces at locations across the country, including Floriade in Canberra in October and the Capital Region Farmer's Market in Canberra every Saturday morning.
Farmers and growers, artisan producers, and wonderful providores.