So I’m doing a two week juice detox starting Monday. I was inspired after watching the film Hungry for Change which I’d highly recommend to anyone who eats food or near substitutes. One of the talking heads of the piece, Jason Vale, is a big advocate for juicing. Each year he stages a global challenge called The Big Juice Spring Clean (obviously Northern Hemisphere biased but with the lovely weather we’ve been having here in Sydney, I’m sure it still feels more like spring here than there!) where thousands of people around the globe commit to his 2 week program.
To this end, my friend Gabby who put me onto the film and detox in the first place, arranged for us to go on an excursion to buy up big for the week ahead. Generally speaking, there are two things I’m prepared to get up early for – flights and emergencies. Technically, this was neither so when Gabby announced she’d pick me up at 6.30am, I had to quickly reframe the experience as ‘an adventure’ to bring it under the same auspices as a flight.
The reason for the ridiculous hour was so we could take full advantage of the early morning trade at Sydney Market in Flemington. Throughout the week, the markets are trade only but on Saturdays, they open to the public with the best produce and prices available before 9am. The prices go down again at the end of the day but by that time, all the good stuff is gone.
Early bird Gabby pulled up on time to collect this whinging night owl for whom she’d mercifully built in a coffee stop along the way at the always open Sports Bar in Leicchardt. Apparently the first place in Australia to have an espresso machine (now there’s barely a man, women or child without one!), I was surprised to find it so busy – primarily with old, flirtatious Italian men watching sport and us. Already this was an adventure!
We arrived at the markets to find the queue into the car park already lengthening but were able to find parking easily enough in the multi story car park. We rendezvoused with fellow juice-hopeful, Sandy and hit Shed D with our program-specific shopping app.
Already impressed by the offering outside, we were overwhelmed when we stepped inside and saw fruit and vegetables stretched out as far as the eye could see! We were going to need trolley! Luckily they’re available for hire so we grabbed one and away we went.
We had our work cut out for us. For the first week alone, we each need 76 apples, 7 pineapples, 9 limes, 5 avocados, carrots, celery, beetroot, cucumber, broccoli, sprouts, parsley, spinach etc etc etc. We made our way up and down the aisles hunting for best prices and gathering our produce until our trolley was groaning under the weight of it all. The final bill – $42 each! Unbelievable!
Sandy had to make a quick escape so we loaded her share into her car before deciding we should dump our lot too so we could come back unencumbered to play tourists. The only thing was that we were parked on the second level of a car park with no lift access. Not a problem! We got to the bottom of the car ramp and at the count of three, both pushed the trolley as hard and fast as we could – speed bumps be damned – huffing, puffing and laughing all the way.
Work out of the way, we were free to play and marvel at the extraordinary array of weird and wonderful fruits and vegetables. I especially enjoyed the more exotic asian vegetables, many of which I recognised from my travels and now know where to find should I ever pull my finger and recipe book out to recreate the dished I learned to make in Thailand.
I had so much fun and found the experience to be transporting to any number of fresh produce markets I’ve enjoyed trawling around the globe over the years. Yet another reminder of how much we have right here on our own doorstep!
My sisters apartment (where I’m currently staying) now looks like a mini fruit and vegetable market so there’s no turning back. For the next two weeks I’ll be without coffee, alcohol or solid food. As unthinkable and dull as that sounds, I’m actually looking forward to it. It’s not forever, just two weeks. Will I make it? Watch this space!