Last weekend, a friend and I discovered OFC Social Market, a fairly new addition to the weekend market scene in Singapore.
There’s just something about weekend markets that draws me to it like moths to a flame!
Being at one gives me a ‘feel‘ that’s hard to find anywhere else. This unreplicable feel comes from the nice weather – though “nice” in other countries can sometimes mean temperatures much colder and harsher than in Singapore.
This feel also comes from the friendly stall owners/entrepreneurs who are passionate about the products they are selling, and don’t mind taking the extra time to share with you their business story, from ideation to execution. As a marketer, chatting with vendors and listening to their unique stories is my favourite part, and I always walk away feeling inspired by them.
Over 30 local brands showed up at OFC Social Market last Sunday, and I loved that there was a good mix of Singaporeans and expat business owners. The market was packed full of people the whole 2 hours that I was there, so while I did not stop at every stall, here are a few that I did have the chance to shop at.
SOI COCO was serving up glass jars of pure, fresh and raw coconut goodness! The hot Singapore sun was definitely in her favour, and I absolutely love that Shan dressed the part too.
When I took my first sip of SOI COCO coconut shake, the smooth creamy texture made me wonder if milk was added. Shan quickly confirmed that it contains no milk, and that the silkiness comes from blending the water and flesh in a powerful, high-speed blender. INGENIOUS! Perfect for anyone who craves a coconut ‘milk’shake, but is lactose intolerant.
Clink! Cocktails introduces Singapore’s first ready-to-freeze cocktails. This immediately reminded me of the retro popsicles I used to have as a kid – if you grew up in Singapore or Malaysia in the 90s, you’ll remember these to cost 10-cents each. Clink! Cocktails are like adult versions of that with 9% alcohol. Great for parties! No blender. No bar. Just chill… literally and figuratively.
No need to go all the way to Romania for a taste of Romanian food, you can get it right here in Singapore. Vlad (Romanian, seen in photo above) and his wife, Anita (Indonesian), are founders of RO Dishes. Bottled in glass jars at the market is Vlad’s grandmother’s homemade recipe for eggplant dips and pasta sauce.
Second Helpings, one of my top finds at OFC Social Market, makes peanut butter that’s tastier and healthier for you than Skippy. Made from only peanuts, olive oil, and honey, it smoother and more delicious than peanut butter from the supermarket. It made me wonder what else goes into commercial peanut butter, all unnecessary and probably bad for you.
Speaking of spreads, GSH Conserves makes jams and condiments with fruits sourced locally and regionally. Joey, founder of GSH Conserves, believes fruits in closer proximity to Singapore are harvested nearer to their peak ripeness, compared to fruits imported from Europe and US, as shipping time is shorter thus reducing the need to harvest early. Sourcing closer to home also decreases its “food miles” (miles your food travels to get to you), making it more environmentally-friendly.
Joo Chiat Mango is my favourite. Dragonfruit Lychee is a close second.
Terry, founder of Pili Pushers, discovered Pili Nuts by accident during a trip to the Philippines. Pili Nuts, which kinda sound like peanuts if you say it fast enough, comes from the pili tree grown in forests at low and medium altitudes on volcanic soil, making it way more nutritious than a peanut. I love the ginger & turmeric (left packet) and cinnamon & raw honey (right packet). The unsalted (middle packet) was a little too bland for me.
Cold-pressed juices have been around, and most of us know that it’s better than regular juicing as more of the nutrients is preserved in this process. I’m not sure about you, but my impression of cold-pressed juice is that they are really expensive, typically S$8-S$10/bottle. Flash Juice offers theirs at a surprisingly reasonable price of S$5-S$6/bottle. What a steal! And there’s multiple flavours to choose from.
Aerospring Gardens drew a big envious crowd with their successful harvest of aeroponic greens. Nadine (lady in white tank top) and Thorben (guy in black t-shirt next to her) dreamt of growing tasty heirloom tomatoes on their little balcony in Singapore to save themselves some money on grocery. Thorben spent the last 24 months developing, constructing and then 3D printing kilometres of plastic prototypes of their vertical aeroponic gardening system. Nadine, who shared that she had no prior experience with gardening, tends to their test garden of seedlings at her ulu pandan farm, where she has successfully grown cucumbers, tomatoes, most herbs and a plethora of salad types… in Singapore! She’s now giving strawberries a shot, which typically grows in colder, higher altitude climates, but her seedlings are showing some promise. After 2 years of R&D, they are finally in commercial production in Toa Payoh (yes, not China) and the Aerospring Gardening System Kit is S$650. Personally, I think it’s a great investment and the salad lover in me has added this to her wishlist of items to start saving up for this year. In the meantime, I’m enjoying all the photos on Facebook of their successful harvests.
If all that shopping makes you hungry, you can either have brunch/lunch at the Open Farm Community cafe or stop by Kerbside Gourmet‘s food truck for fish torta (S$14), pulled pork tacos (S$14), grilled corn (S$6) or crispy pork skin (S$6).
Others at OFC Social Market:
- Nutrinest: Urban beekeepers
- Kuhlbarra: Premium fresh barramundi
- Sea Farmers at Ubin: Fresh live oysters from Ubin
- The Wright cheese company: Locally made cheese
- Selva Foods: Acai power berry bowls
- SPGranola: Granola with great quality ingredients
- Anaya Life: Unique and rare trigona honey
- Cotton and Sage: The craft of flower arranging
- Ah Hua Kelong: Specialize Fish Farmer in Singapore
- We Are Cultured: Probiotic water kefir
- SoapLah: Handcrafted soaps
- Goddess Rocks Jewellery: Self-designed, handmade jewellery
- Papa’s Grove: Unspoiled, superior extra virgin olive oil
- Botanica Culture: Health care products
- Matchaya: Japanese milk teas made with organic raw ingredients
- Ma’ona: Smoothie bowls handmade with fruits, nuts & blend
- Amazin’ Graze: Handcrafted healthy snacks
- Woodlands Sourdough: Neighborhood bakes
- Juice Junkie: Juices cold pressed from fresh, organic ingredients
- Ah Hua Kelong: Fresh and live seafood supplier
- Fish Sh-nack: Crispy fish skin snacks with salted egg sauce (and others!)
- Candles Of Light: Handmade scented soy and beeswax candles
- Cerana Honey: Honey harvested and bottled directly from bee farm
- EATSingapore: A Gift of 12 Dinners for $65
- Common Man Coffee Roasters: Providing Specialty Coffee & Expertise Throughout Asia
Unfortunately, weekend markets in Singapore do not happen as regularly as the ones overseas, which makes them all the more special when they do. I’m not sure when the next OFC Social Market happens, so the best way to find out is to follow the Open Farm Community Facebook page.
Do you have a weekend market in Singapore to recommend?