Our favourite Victorian farmer's markets
It’s easy for anyone who has travelled overseas and comes home to Australia to realise how fortunate we are when it comes to affordable and readily available fresh, wholesome food.
Our bodies often tell us when we need some healthy sustenance, when we need to load up with vitamins and minerals. What our bodies can’t usually tell us is that we should avoid consuming too many synthetic chemicals or genetically modified components. While organic foods aren’t always completely free of pesticides, residues will be much lower than found in produce manufactured with synthetic chemicals. If we’re concerned about pesticides, additives, antibiotics or other chemicals, organic shopping could be the way to go.
According to the Victorian Government’s Better Health Channel, organic farming is better for the environment and is more sustainable. So it’s a win, win for our tummies and for the planet!
So where can we take our wicker basket, our calico shoulder bags and backpacks as we hunt for organic goodies? While you could go to your local health food shop, why not make an outing of your weekly shop?
There are about 100 sensational farmers’ markets dotted around Melbourne’s suburbs and across Victoria - and they’re easy to find. The markets have a lovely ambience and are quality controlled to ensure produce is grown locally and is accredited by the Victorian Farmers’ Markets Association. President, Wayne Shields, is thrilled by their popularity.
There are now 800 members who grow and sell their produce. Those selling organic or biodynamic produce at the markets show their certification from one of the six recognised authorities in Australia. Eggs will be free range (look for the certificate) and taste testing as you wander from stall to stall is mandatory!
The Epworth Village is a great place to visit to help you live a healthy life and share your tips with others on the community forum.
The team at Epworth has conducted exhaustive research (with a KeepCup cappuccino and barbequed corn-cob in hand) to find the best farmers’ markets in and close to Melbourne.
Top of the list in Ceres in Brunswick East which is open seven days a week. They boast that their veggies have travelled metres, not miles. Located just a few kilometres from the city on the banks of Merri Creek, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the countryside. As well as the fresh organic undercover market, there’s a café and bakery to provide sustenance while you shop for the week. On Saturdays, you can enjoy some folkie tunes and find a craft stall or nursery gem as well. The kids can chase a chook and discover where honey really comes from.
If you can’t make it to a market, the market produce can come to you! Ceres delivers.
They’re proud to promote that their products have minimal packaging, are Fair Trade, GM free, avoid palm oil, and cater for those of us with food allergies and intolerances.
Located in beautiful inner city Geelong is the Newtown Farmers’ Market. Here, shoppers will find 20 specialist boutique stalls featuring seasonal fruit, herbs, veggies, deli treats, cheeses, fresh bread, wine, free-range eggs, meats, flowers, plants and more. Go along and get to know the regular stall-holders.
Collingwood Children’s Farm Farmer’s Market
This gem in Collingwood has been voted Australia’s outstanding farmers’ market by delicious magazine. Have a leisurely brekkie and then buy up. Enough said.
Finally, a secret tip to one of the hottest and least known Saturday markets. On the banks of Merri Creek, on Wurrundjeri Country, Joe’s Market Garden is a two-acre plot that has been continuously farmed by Chinese and Italian gardeners for 150 years. An organic farm gate stall is open each Saturday morning so you can buy directly from the farmer. Volunteers keen to get their hands dirty are always welcomed.
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