Although this is a new market, only launched in October, it's becoming a must do for anyone visiting the Southern Highlands on the first weekend of the month. Held on the first Saturday at Exeter Village Hall and the grounds adjoining Exeter Oval, this market has one interesting stall after another. We visited on the 3rd November in the Highlands mist, that was a welcome relief from the Sydney heat.
When you drive in the oval gates, the first thing you see is a horseshoe sculpture garden set up under a giant deodar.
. We bought a family pack of pasta, sauce and freshly grated parmesan for dinner. The gourmet sausages next door were delicious (free samples) and another stall had marinated olives.
There was more food and local produce - freshly cut rhubarb, eggs and flowers as well as a huge stall with European preserves, including preserved wild mushrooms. They knew all about the dangerous ones. The orchardist and another stallholder do a double act with fresh produce and preserves made from it.
We found timberwork - free standing jigsaw puzzles handcrafted from fine timbers, hand knitted alpaca and merino caps and scarves in all shapes and sizes. There was honey and next door, an artist selling local landscapes that were better than average.
The musician playing at the hall door drew us into the hall where the stalls were packed with so much, we spent over an hour wandering and buying interesting jewellery of course, but other original works caught our eye - Indian inspired necklaces in a mixture of hand dyed cloth with silver, handmade cards, hand printed black and white transfer work.
. In the foyer we found Belisa Cashmere which lived up to its name and was selling garments to people travelling to colder climates for Christmas.
More foodies inside, one with a range of chilli based sauces, extra virgin olive oil of course, and a local baker with sweet and savoury food ,as well as a guy selling organic muesli. It went on and on.
You don't expect such a range at a village market.
We took a break at the bookstall before heading to the cafe for a 'High Tea' of scones, smoked salmon sandwiches and good coffee. The fashion stalls at the end of the cafe induced another binge of spending - women's and children's clothes, including little girls' dresses. Great stuff.
On the way out we saw a game of cricket had started on the oval.
It's on again on Saturday 1 December from 9am to 3pm. The market website has everything you need, including directions and a page of stallholders listing what they sell.