written by Rebecca Goulter
You’ve read our previous blog post and have been summarily convinced that the Eagle Farm Markets are your go-to Sunday market destination. But if you don’t plan out your morning, you could end up going home with much more produce than you bargained for, only to have it wilt in the fridge in the days ahead.
To help you organise your next shop, we’ve come up with the following tried and tested helpful hints.
Tip 1: Arrive at open, or not long before close.
We know, you’re baulking at waking up at the crack of dawn to enter the Racecourse Road gates at 7am on the dot. However, there is method to our madness.
If you arrive at the very start of the day, you do not have to contend with the crowd that usually forms by 8:30am to 9am. You can take your time wandering through the stalls, checking out what is on offer before making any decisions. Another bonus for arriving early is that you have the pick of the best and freshest produce, and will have the opportunity to shop for popular items before they sell out. Unlike later shoppers, you can leave the market with a bag full of perfect apples.
If you arrive later in the day, you won’t have perfect produce, but you will have cheaper produce. Our fruit and veg stallholders would much rather sell what they have than pack it all back up again. Arrive at the markets at 11am and shop those end-of-day bargains like there’s no tomorrow!
Tip 2: Plan your shopping trip
Not to disparage spontaneous shopping, but it can result in wasted money and wasted food. Plan ahead of time what meals you would like to eat during the week, and craft your shopping list around these products. You won’t end up walking away with 10 cucumbers and struggling to incorporate them into your meal plan for the week (no judgement if you do eat ten 10 cucumbers a week, that was just an example).
Tip 3: Don’t be afraid to impulse buy
Yeah, we know this is contradictory. However, you just have to make allowances for produce that is in season a little bit before you expected, or a late harvest of pineapples. Use these market surprises as little treats when you’re cooking during the week.
Tip 4: Know what’s in season and how much you should be paying
For example, blueberries and Australian apricots are now at the end of their season and as such they will probably be charged at a premium rate. Or, on a topical note, with more avocado supplies coming into Queensland the prices will be going down, down, down (oh hello, avo on toast, how we have missed you).
Sites like news.brisbanemarkets.com.au are invaluable resources for staying up to date with what produce is on its way in and out of Queensland, and the best time to buy.
Tip 5: Get cashed up
While there are some exceptions, you’ll find most stallholders at the Eagle Farm Markets run on a cash-only basis. Transactions will take much less time as well if you have a crisp $20 handy rather than waiting for the EFTPOS machine. There are two ATM machines onsite at the markets where you can make a quick withdrawal.
Also, make sure you have some small change on hand. Some of the smaller purchases you make will be a cinch if you can give the stallholder the correct change, not to mention that they will remember you as a good customer.
Tip 6: Arrive hungry
Skip breakfast at home on Sunday morning. You’re coming to the markets anyway, so why wouldn’t you try the smorgasbord of food on offer? There’s three different coffee joints you can try, and heaps of breakfast options from around the world. Take your tastebuds to a different continent on a weekly basis.
Do try to eat before you do the grocery shopping part though – everyone knows you overbuy when you’re hungry!
Tip 7: Invest in some wheels!
And by wheels, we mean of course a market trolley. While we can save your muscles by driving you and your shopping haul back to your car with the Market Shuttle Buggy, you’ll wonder how you ever did you market shop without a lightweight and manoeuvrable trolley. You won’t be scared to buy in bulk with one of these babies!
Even if you don’t buy enough to warrant a trolley, definitely aim to BYO bags and baskets. A nice canvas bag is much more durable than any plastic bag, and much better for the environment too! The Eagle Farm Markets even sells roomy hessian bags at our entry points for $5 each if you’re in a pinch.
These are our top seven tips and tricks to make the most out of your market visit. Judging by this list, are you a seasoned pro or a market newbie?