A Fresh Look at Farmers’ Markets
Farmers’ Markets across Melbourne have never been more popular. Post-lockdown, there’s been an exciting new wave of farmers and makers eager to bring their wares to town.
According to the Victorian Farmers’ Market Association, a genuine Farmers’ Market is one where Victorian farmers sell their own produce, which is grown on farms they own or operate. It goes without saying that most of the products are certified organic and GM free. To be sure, check with the farmer or stall-holder and find out for yourself about the origins of the product.
What can you buy at a Farmers’ Market?
Depending on the season there is an ever-changing range of farm-fresh produce available at your local Farmers’ Market. It usually falls into three categories – Primary Produce, Farm-Made Products and Specialty Products. If you are shopping at an accredited Farmers’ Market, you can be confident the products you are buying have their origins on a farm not too far away.
Primary products include fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs, meat, seafood, dairy, eggs, honey, flowers and plants.
Farm-Made Products such as sausages, cheeses, preserved olives, olive oil, fruit juice or wine. Non-food products such as leather or wool can also be sold.
Specialty Makers source the majority of their primary ingredients from farms within Victoria and sell a delicious range of home-made products such as bread, dips, jams, juices, sauces, coffee, biscuits and even beer!
Five Top Reasons for supporting Farmers’ Markets
Real, ripe and ready
Early risers may find themselves competing with a local chef or restaurateur for the perfect cut of beef, leg of lamb or pork belly. The fruits and vegetables are as real as you can get. They have been allowed to fully ripen in the fields or on the trees and are picked when perfect for eating (unlike supermarket produce which can involve picking to delivery schedules, gassing to simulate the ripening process and sitting in cold storage for weeks).
Find out about farming
We all know how important it is to support our farmers, especially with many forced to diversify due to the changing conditions brought about from Covid-19 and environmental factors such as drought. You can chat to the farmers about how they grow their produce, what the seasonal growing conditions have been like and how that has resulted in variances in flavours or textures. It is fascinating to discover ‘the story’ behind the food you are consuming – and will make you appreciate the product and also the work that has gone in to bringing it to you.
Doing good for the environment
Farmers’ Markets stock GM free food with a food kilometre footprint that is in the dozens rather than the thousands. Reducing fuel, packaging and processing results in a true win/win for the environment and the consumers. Farmers’ Markets are a plastic-bag free zone, so make sure you take your own shopping bags.
Farmers’ Markets are fun, educational and inspirational and a great way for the whole family to get involved and invested in the food they are buying, cooking and eating. Enjoy discovering a rainbow of rainbow of vegetables in hues rarely seen in supermarkets such as red carrots, orange cauliflower and purple potatoes.
Taste the regions
Discover new regions in Victoria and the flavours that are produced there. You may even be inspired to travel to the farm gates on a gourmet road trip. Most specialty producers have tasting samples of their wares, and you’ll soon learn the flavoursome hallmarks of particular areas on Melbourne’s doorstep including Gippsland, Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula.
Our favourite local Farmers’ Markets:
Patterson Reserve, Hawthorn
1st, 3rd and 5th Saturday of the month – 8am-12.30pm
Gasworks Park, Graham Street, Albert Park
3rd Saturday of the month – 8am-1pm
Elwood Primary School, Scott Street,
2nd & 4th Saturday of the month – 8.30am-1pm
Trey Bit Reserve, Jetty Road Sandringham
4th Saturday of the month – 8am-1pm
Cnr. Mt Eliza Way & Canadian Bay Road, Mt Eliza.
4th Sunday of the month – 9am-1pm