December 11, 2014

To market, to market…..

To market, to market….. Anna Johnston -

The Challenge: If you were armed with a $100 gift voucher, what would be your must have Christmas shopping list essentials? And what Christmas dish could you create with $100 at Canberra’s biggest and original farmers market? Despite my better judgement, I’m a sukka for a challenge….. When will I learn huh!

A bleary eyed Zombie like Anna arrived bang on 730am at the Capital Region Farmers Markets to participate in a cheeky Christmas themed bloggers challenge. But, lacking coffee in my life, and feeling a little overwhelmed at being awake before double digits on a Saturday morning, especially as the night before I was dining & mingling & dancing the night away at an amazing exclusive Christmas Party in a very swish Marquee with a couple of hundred other cool peeps on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, but that’s another story for another time right. Suffice to say, I may have been feeling a bit overwhelmed by the task ahead.

To market, to market….. Anna Johnston -

I was rather surprised to discover the markets were buzzing and bustling at that hour. Word is, the hard-core market groupies turn up around 6am and the committed folk around 7am. But official open times are from 7:30am – 11:30am every Saturday.

Now I don’t know if this is a big market or not, but there are over 100 stall holders in a series of sheds buzzing with people who are busy buying their produce. The stall holders are chatty and from the happy banter and buzzy vibe, it is obvious there are plenty of regulars and friend catching up business that goes on at this hour too.

To market, to market….. Anna Johnston -

Canberra’s Farmers Market is run by the Rotary Club of Hall, they actually go out and inspect the producer’s farms to see the garlic growing in the ground, hear the oink of the pigs and see the chickens laying their eggs. Prices are competitive to local supermarkets, but the produce is so much fresher and we are talking days, not weeks, between the farm and you. As the caffeine kicked in I started to get right into the vibe of the Markets, I found myself chatting away & learning straight from the farmers.

To market, to market….. Anna Johnston -

Instead of navigating dodgy shopping carts through crowded grocery store aisles, you could be leisurely walking through the market while sipping a cup of coffee and chatting with vendors to find everything on your shopping list! I have named my first New Year’s Resolution for 2015 – get myself outta bed early on Saturday morning and hit up the markets on a regular basis!

To market, to market….. Anna Johnston -

It was cool to hang out with some of my fellow Berra bloggers and to be given a personalised & guided tour by Todd Wright, a Rotarian & Threesides Marketing Director to discover the faces behind the markets. And boy was there a lot to discover, so much fresh, colourful looking produce, baked goods, local honey, black garlic, flowers a plenty, home-made tea blends, seafood, meat and even some delicious pre-made bites to eat.

To market, to market….. Anna Johnston -

My bag was over flowing with goodies & I couldn’t leave without picking up enough ingredients to trial some ideas playing around in my head using huge delicious giant Mushrooms.

Pork & Bacon Stuffed GIANT Mushrooms w/ Crumbled Fetta

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • 4 x Giant Mushrooms
  • 4 x Burger Patty
  • 200g Goats Fetta
  • 200g Wild Rocket
  • Olive oil & Seasoning

Step 1: Giant Mushrooms – Drizzle with olive oil & season

Step 2: Pork & Bacon Burger Patty – Seal patties in a hot pan, bake patties in giant mushrooms for 15 minutes

Step 3: Crumble soft Goats Fetta on cooked mushroom & patty

Step 4: Rocket salad lightly dressed with olive oil

Step 5: Plate up – do it…. and do it good.

To market, to market….. Anna Johnston -

Challenge completed, I admit it was a bit of a blur until the caffeine kicked in, but boom…. cruising the Capital Region Farmers Market was totally worth skipping my Saturday sleep in, and sure was a fun way to kick off my weekend.

Thanks to Capital Region Farmer’s Market for the gift voucher and personalised tour.

What are your must have Christmas essentials? And what dish features every year on your Christmas table?

Ready to take this relationship to the next level?

Enter your email address to receive freshly published blog posts from shenANNAgans just like this one!



shenANNAgans is Anna Johnston, a 30 - something Aussie gal with an unwavering passion for the Hospitality industry. I love the quirky and unusual, designing events, travelling far and wide and eating food from all around the world. I am coffee blooded, a craft beer enthusiast, wine drinking yogi who enjoys writing about her adventures.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Care Bear Stares, Hammer Pants & Great Gran's Marmalade Jam - July 15, 2015 Reply

[…] for the jam, the bro said it put all those store-bought marmalades to shame. It tasted like sunshine in my mouth, it was so fresh, and the flavour was out of this world. It was delicious, and tasted […]

UrbanDuniya – UrbanLegends: Anna Johnston and Australia's 'culinary capital' - March 14, 2015 Reply

[…] Saturdays are my idea of a perfect day in Canberra. I kick off at the Capital Region Farmers Markets, I could spend hours chatting with vendors and sampling their produce. (My life seems to revolve […]

CakeSpy - January 12, 2015 Reply

OMG. Those tricked out ‘shrooms are psychedelically delicious!!

    Anna - January 12, 2015 Reply

    Hahaha! Yep, as soon as I spotted those mushies, I knew I needed to have them in my life. Delicious they were too. 🙂

Christmas Market Challenge? Yes please – A trip to EPIC Farmers Market | The Food Marshall - January 12, 2015 Reply

[…] our personal tour guide.  I’ve nicked the above image of the blogger group from Anna at Shenannagans blog, because I must’ve been off somewhere scoffing my face, buying more produce or ducked to […]

Denise Browning@From Brazil To You - January 9, 2015 Reply

From chef to chef, I imagined that you had a ball in that market.
Pork & Bacon stuffed GIANT mushroom w/ goat’s feta and rocket salad looks terrific. Good for you that I wasn’t there, otherwise you had to share it with me. 😉

    Anna - January 9, 2015 Reply

    Yep. It was a wonderful experience once I woke up and that caffeine kicked in. And heck, come on over girl, more than happy to share my giant mushroom with you, in fact… I’ll make you your very own! Happy weekend to you. 🙂

Shikha (whywasteannualleave) - January 2, 2015 Reply

What a fun challenge to be involved in! I absolutely love wandering around markets both at home and on my travels and they are a complete saviour when it comes to seeking out Christmas presents – you can always be sure you’ll find something special for those difficult-to-buy-for type people!

    Anna - January 5, 2015 Reply

    It was awesome, I actually really enjoyed the whole experience, especially when the caffeine kicked in and I was actually a functioning human. LOL! 🙂 Oh yeah, totes agree re the gifts for those hard to buy for people, such a great opportunity to buy some speciality christmas gifts for my foodie friends too. Thanks heaps for stopping by Shikha, hope you are having a fun filled first week of 2015. 🙂

Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl - December 25, 2014 Reply

I love markets! When I was in Seattle I went to this this beautiful big market that just had the most gorgeous flower bouquets…. every time I think flowers I think of them!

    Anna - January 2, 2015 Reply

    Yep, the flowers at the markets were indeed a super highlight for me too. I adore sunflowers and the beautiful bunch I bought, lasted nearly 3 weeks. Straight from the farm to my home. Very special! Hope you are well lovely Pamela. X

Anna (Hidden Ponies) - December 23, 2014 Reply

I miss having a good market nearby! This sounds like SO much delicious fun!

    Anna - January 2, 2015 Reply

    It was a sensory delight for sure Anna. So many delicious speciality eats and everything seemed to last a whole lot longer too. Big fan of the markets. 🙂

Bam's Kitchen - December 22, 2014 Reply

Anna you did quite well for running unleaded. Lots of delicious little goodies and a delicious menu to boot. Looks like fun!

    Anna - January 2, 2015 Reply

    Haha.. Love that saying BAM, running unleaded. Lol! Even now, weeks later Im surprised I made it through the experience de caffeinated. Am craving giant mushrooms now, very much looking forward to home cooked feeds with the fam. Happy New Year my friend. Hugs from Aus via Asia. X

Sophie - December 22, 2014 Reply

hahahahahhahha! Such a fun post! I love food markets too! 🙂
Everytime, I go on holiday, we visite the cool food markets!

    Anna - January 2, 2015 Reply

    I am travelling in Asia at the moment, first stop in every place we visit, the food markets. I especially love the remote markets that the small communities utilize. 🙂

The Squishy Monster - December 18, 2014 Reply

What treasures! Geez, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself with all that money to spend on fun food!

    Anna - December 19, 2014 Reply

    Pretty sweet huh Angie! 🙂
    I had me a bunch of fun spending up, and it just kept on going too. 🙂

Jean | Holy Smithereens - December 16, 2014 Reply

I’ve an ugly confession to make – I’ve never woken up early for food market!!!! I know I really should as I need to improve the quality of food I eat. But you did a good job with your haul 🙂 would be fun to watch a video of this!

    Anna - December 17, 2014 Reply

    Hahaha… Nope, nothing ugly about that. I TOTALLY understand. Twas a push to actually get to the markets at that hour. 🙂

Raymund - December 16, 2014 Reply

Salivating early this morning with that mushrooms

    Anna - December 17, 2014 Reply

    Twas delicious indeed Raymund. I baked a couple of eggs in one… Best kinda way to kick off the day.

Gourmet Getaways - December 15, 2014 Reply

I bet the lack of sleep was well compensated by fun at the market. I luuuvv markets!!! Nothing beats fresh!!

Julie & Alesah
Gourmet Getaways xx

    Anna - December 17, 2014 Reply

    Yep, once awake, it was an amazing experience. Def gonna make it a regular thing in my life. 🙂
    I am amazed at how long everything is lasting. You are right, fresh is totes best.
    Happy hump day to you Julie & Alesah. 🙂

Krista - December 15, 2014 Reply

What a fantastic morning out!! You found some delectable treasures indeed. I’ve never even seen black garlic, let alone eaten it. Since moving to Oz my Christmas food traditions have changed drastically. But it still wouldn’t be Christmas for me without Butter Tarts. 🙂

    Anna - December 17, 2014 Reply

    The black garlic was amazing Krista, we had heard about it, but not tried it either. It was surprisingly sweet and strange to eat for breakfast, but def worth getting your hands on if you can. Yarm! Yeah, I bet your Chrissy foods would be totally different, lot more seafood and salad right?!

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef - December 15, 2014 Reply

I can hear myself whinging when the alarm went off, “Don’t make me get uuuuup.” You’re a committed food writer and recipe developer when you can get to a market at 7:30 after a hot night out AND with no coffee.

    Anna - December 17, 2014 Reply

    Haha! When the alarm sounded, the grumblings were much more explicit than ‘dont make me get up!’. But… It was totes worth it, had me a bunch of fun I did! 🙂

My Inner Chick - December 15, 2014 Reply

in the morning, I feed the cat and then make my coffee.
you can see who gets special treatment!!
Love farmer’s markets’
So much fun to see what they have! xx

    Anna - December 17, 2014 Reply

    Makes sense to feed the cat first, the loud meowing would be enough to cause the eyes to twitch before caffeine. LOL!

Mandy - December 14, 2014 Reply

I would love to have a market like that here – I would even go early. 😀
Have a beautiful day darling Anna. One sleep closer to your visit. YAY! 😀
Mandy xo

    Anna - December 17, 2014 Reply

    Teehee… Even in the early am. LOL! It was totally worth it tho Miss Mandy, the last bits and pieces of fruit & veg I have are still fresh and delicious. 🙂
    A whole bunch of sleeps closer we are. 🙂

Tandy | Lavender and Lime - December 12, 2014 Reply

I don’t leave the house without drinking coffee. I love farmers markets and this one looks worth a visit. My Christmas lunch always has a platter of Italian meats 🙂

    Anna - December 14, 2014 Reply

    Haha… Yes, it is generally speaking, safer for all concerned if I drink me a pint of caffeine before leaving the house too. 🙂
    Oooh Yeah! Cured meats feature on our Christmas table too. 🙂

Choc Chip Uru - December 12, 2014 Reply

Aaah farmers markets are so much fun! 😀
I so want to go there, I have never seen such a range of produce!

Choc Chip Uru

    Anna - December 12, 2014 Reply

    You guys in Syders have some rippa markets, but our little Canberra sure does me proud with the wonderful display of amazingness each Saturday morning. When you are in town, this shall be our first stop. 🙂 Have a great weekend lovely! x

Tim | UrbanDuniya - December 11, 2014 Reply

The markets in Canberra are such a discovery – a whole different side to the capital that I never knew about before. Love them! And oh the food!!! Hope you’re having a great week – the countdown to Christmas (i.e. – antler day!) is on!!!

    Anna - December 12, 2014 Reply

    Are they what, Tim! 🙂
    And yes, turns out that is where half of the Berra goes on a Saturday morning.
    Great week being had, and antler day is every work day until I jet to Asia. LOL!

Kirsty - December 11, 2014 Reply

I just love the CRFM too Anna, so much take in and so many chats to be had with the stallholders. So much to photograph as well. I have stopped feeling like a weirdo walking around with my DSLR camera. Your giant mushrooms look very tasty indeed. The Christmas challenge is an awesome way to showcase such lovely produce. Well done : ) Kirsty xx

    Anna - December 11, 2014 Reply

    I can’t believe the markets were not a every weekend thing for me. It was amazing! I had so much fun, the tastebuds especially. 🙂
    Teehee, Ill have to shadow you round the markets with your camera, I felt a bit dorky snapping pictures, I was very conscious of the fact it was early and many had not had their morning caffeine hit. LOL! The mushies were incredible. I have set the alarm for early Saturday to get me some more giant mushroom love.
    Thanks heaps for stopping by Kirsty. Happy weekend to you, might see ya at the markets. xox

Eileen @ TheFoodAvenue - December 11, 2014 Reply

Despite the bleary-eyed start, it was such a fun way to spend a Saturday morning! It was great to see your awesome face too! xox

    Anna - December 11, 2014 Reply

    Totes was huh, Eileen. When that first sip of coffee kicked in, my brain jumped into action and I was all over designing menus and creating amazing dishes for the Christmas table. 🙂
    And yes, I sure am lucky having such cool peeps in my life. Great to see your face too woman. xox

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella - December 11, 2014 Reply

Look at you with your haul! You’re such a hottie! I can see the opening scene of your own show now Anna 😉

    Anna - December 11, 2014 Reply

    It was fantastic, Lorraine. Even the eating black garlic at 8am bit. 🙂 Such a brill way to spend a morning. Def on that little venture again.
    Haha… I am picturing me as a zombie shuffling towards the camera in the opening scene of the show. LOL!

Hotly Spiced - December 11, 2014 Reply

After a big night out that’s a very early start. I love these markets but unfortunately, you do have to turn up early or the best of everything is long gone xx

    Anna - December 11, 2014 Reply

    Haha…. it was pretty tough Charlie. But totally worth it once I woke up. 🙂
    I really feel for the farmers and suppliers, they must have to wake at like 3am. #nodeal

$100 Christmas challenge at the Capital Region Farmers Market | Susan's Sumptuous Suppers - December 11, 2014 Reply

[…] ShenANNAgans bought giant mushrooms and a bag of oranges among other things. She tweets  @AnnaJ31 […]

Lizzy (Good Things) - December 11, 2014 Reply

Love, love, love the Capital Region Farmers Market, Anna… and your tour sounds like fun. I wasn’t able to be there for this one, but with the market being five minutes from my home, I’m a regular. ‘Tis the best in Oz! : )

    Anna - December 11, 2014 Reply

    They are pretty awesome Lizzy, I had such a good time, 3 hours zoomed by! 🙂
    I will be a regular too next year, we can be market buddies.
    Hope you are well lovely. xox

Rachel (Rachel's Kitchen NZ) - December 11, 2014 Reply

Oh, I do love happy, sunny sunflowers and I also love giant mushrooms and farmers’ markets, where I do most of my weekly food shop.

    Anna - December 11, 2014 Reply

    Me too Rachel, I adore sunflowers, they are the happiest of all the flowers and giant mushrooms will be a regular on my weekly shopping list now too. 🙂 I am going to make your Spicy Pork & Basil stuffed mushies on the weekend. Yarm!

Alice - December 11, 2014 Reply

Saw your snap on Facebook and was definitely intrigued. I can’t wait to explore all the markets and foodie haunts in the Berra. Love your tasty selection of treats and yes, coffee is pretty much obligatory at 7:30am 😉

    Anna - December 11, 2014 Reply

    It was amazing Alice, you’ll love it, and they are so close to where you guys will be living. #winning 🙂
    My lack of arms and strength was the only thing stopping me from purchasing more tastiness, a gal could do some serious damage there I reckon.
    Haha… Todd asked me a question before caffeine was a part of my morning, not gonna lie… I stared blankly and responded – Coffee. LOL!
    Have a fabulous weekend my friend. Hugs and love to you and mini you. xo

Leave a Reply: