Photograph by Daniel R. Westergren

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Brad Sappenberghs works behind the counter of his business Comida Catering Company, located in the Adelaide Central Market.

Photograph by Daniel R. Westergren

South Australia's Adventures of a Lifetime: Shop Local Markets

Discover the best local markets to patronize on your visit to South Australia.

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South Australians love their markets and, with all the fine local produce, farmers markets are booming. These markets can be found throughout the region, with a few standouts like the Barossa and Willunga markets, but weekend markets pop up all over the state. For visitors, it pays to check local tourist offices. The vibrant, always interesting Adelaide Central Market is the premier destination.

Adelaide Central Market

Not only is the Adelaide Central Market, found on Gouger Street, one of Australia’s biggest and best markets, but it's also the state’s most visited tourist attraction. South Australia’s bounty of produce is on sale in this bustling, multicultural melting pot, along with gourmet goods from around the world.

The main market building, dating from 1900, has more than 80 produce stalls and cafés. This is the place to stock up on exotic fruit, sheep cheeses, German pastries, meats, fish, and fresh local produce. The market is part of the much bigger Central Market Precinct, with an adjoining arcade, plaza, and hundreds of specialty shops spilling over into Gouger Street and Chinatown. Shops sell clothes, shoes, jewelry, rugs, gifts, and souvenirs, and there are dozens of cheap eateries, including two food courts. Asian food is the most common option, given the proximity to Chinatown, with lots of local favorites like Nanna Hot Bake in Market Plaza. The shop front may not catch your eye, but crowds flock for the barbecue pork and hot pot buns. Follow it up with a coconut tart or crispy custard bun.

The market is open five days a week, closing on Sunday and Monday. Surrounding shops are open every day except Sunday. Central Market Tour offers insider walking tours of the market, revealing culinary secrets, insights into the market stalls, and food tastings.

Barossa Farmers Market

This popular Saturday morning market, open from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m., is held under cover in the old Vintners Sheds in Angaston. As many locals as visitors flock to mingle and stock up on locally produced meat, seasonal fruits and vegetables, cheese, small goods, bread, and condiments. Grab a de rigueur breakfast burger of smoked bacon, free-range eggs, caramelized onions, and chutney or relish, and a coffee from Barossa Coffee Roasters, and eat at one of the communal tables. You can stock up on pastries at Eleni’s Baked Goods and try exotic tarts like cacao, rosewater, and pomegranate. Many chefs get their ingredients here, and this is the place to put together a gourmet picnic basket for touring the wineries.

Willunga Farmers Market

Willunga Town Square comes alive every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., when thousands flock to this well-stocked market, the first farmers market in South Australia. Open rain or shine, the market's more than 60 stalls sell fresh produce from regional farms in the McLaren Vale wine district and surrounding Fleurieu Peninsula. Local seafood is a standout and, among the meat producers, Fleurieu Prime Alpaca offers something different from the usual beef and lamb. Bakers produce homemade beef pies, sweet and savory pastries, and sourdough bread—excellent with rabbit, duck, or pork pâté from Little Acre Foods. For a more substantial lunch, head over to nearby Fino, a real find of a restaurant in this small town.