Skip the supermarket this weekend and beeline for one of Melbourne’s bustling farmers markets, which are putting local producers front and centre. Of course, there’s in-season organic fruit and veg, but you’ll also find meats, cheeses and other ready-to-eat delights from a rotating selection of stallholders (follow your local market on social media for the vendor line-up). Here are 10 of our favourite inner-city markets, open year-round in parks and primary schools, as well as a historical convent and a former gas plant.
Gleadell Street Market, Richmond
A short stroll from the corner of Church Street and Bridge Road in Richmond, Gleadell Street becomes its own buzzing food capital each Saturday. The street is shut down for a market of around 20 stallholders selling some of the city’s best produce (that’s not limited to just fruit and veg). You might find pastries by The French Lettuce, sourdough loaves from Thoroughbread, cheese by Blue Bay, and more. Gleadell Street prides itself on a plastic-free ethos, so make sure you bring a reusable shopping bag to cart home your fresh goods. It’s open every Saturday from 7am to 1pm.
Regional Farmers Market at Abbotsford Convent
Head down to the beautiful grounds of Abbotsford Convent – also home to Convent Bakery – on the second Saturday of each month for one of Melbourne’s favourite farmers markets. Entry is $2 per person and goes towards the convent. abbotsfordconvent.com.au
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Gasworks Farmers Market, Albert Park
On the grassy grounds of the iconic Gasworks site, a buzzing bayside market is held on the third Saturday of the month. The industrial former gas plant is now the site of a vibrant arts hub combining theatre, galleries, festivals, events – and a thriving farmers market. The Gasworks market provides access to the neighbouring artists’ studios (say hi), while also hosting numerous Melbourne-favourite stalls. Past markets have seen more than 50 vendors; there’s been gin and whisky from Bellarine Distillery, deli meats by Gamze Smokehouse, and fluffy sourdough doughnuts from Slow Dough.
Coburg Farmers Market
Also steering clear of plastic, Coburg Farmers Market is held every Saturday from 8am to 1pm on the grounds of Coburg Primary School. Embracing the vibrant, community spirit of the area, the market comprises around 30 stalls – including those slinging fresh fruit, veg and flowers, plus coffee, deli meats and take-home meals. Popular stallholders such as Milawa Cheese Company and Ket Baker are regulars, but there are plenty of other friendly vendors (and neighbourhood dogs) to help start your Saturday off on the right foot. Plus, you can meet the primary school’s friendly resident chickens – they live in the “Chicken Wing”.
North Essendon Farmers Market
Just off Buckley Street at Lincoln Park, the North Essendon Farmers Market has your weekend outing sorted. On the third Sunday of every month, grab a picnic blanket and set up camp before perusing the offerings. While stallholders rotate, you’ll be sure to find an array of homemade baked goods, gourmet pies, fresh juices, smoothies and topnotch local almond milk. And if there’s one thing you shouldn’t leave without, it’s a loaf of brownie banana bread by Brownie Kitchen. Past markets have also seen kids’ activities such as face painting, as well as yoga classes and live music.
Alphington Farmers Market
Sunday brunch at the market? In Alphington, you can shop for groceries alongside your neighbours while tucking into handmade pastries, freshly brewed chai and locally sourced brekkie fare. More than 20 stalls fill the grounds of the Melbourne Innovation Centre each Sunday, including appearances from Collingwood-based bakery and social enterprise Streat. Plus, stalls selling free-range eggs and meats; olives and oil; honey, nuts and grains; milk and cheeses; and sourdough loaves. The north-eastern market also strives for zero waste, implementing the Wash Against Waste initiative where drinks are served in reusable cups to be returned and washed at a wash station. Bottoms up.
Boroondara Farmers Market, Hawthorn
Another pet-friendly market to add to your list is the Boroondara Farmers Market, which can be found on the first, third and fifth Saturday of every month at Patterson Reserve in Hawthorn. A huge line-up of stalls may include decadent OMG Donuts, Posh Crumpets or the Ocean Grove-based Lard Butter. Seafood stalls with freshly shucked oysters have been a hit in the past, but you’ll also find an abundance of seasonal organic produce, plus olives, cakes and vino. Expect a park full of friendly locals and humble producers.
Carlton Farmers Market
Fresh flowers, dog treats and more can be picked up from Carlton Farmers Market on Sundays, at the quaint Carlton North Primary School. The market may be smaller than some of the others on this list, but it’s packed with plenty of local favourites such as Bad Bees honey, Ned’s Bake pastries, and Bear Bagels and Baked Goods. Plus, visits from ethically bred farm animals. You may even catch a couple of fostered greyhounds from the volunteers at Gumtree Greys, who’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about greyhound adoption. There’s also an optional $2 entry fee (card only), with all of the proceeds donated to help support the school’s programs.
Slow Food Melbourne Farmers Market, West Footscray and Spotswood
Starting out at Abbotsford Convent more than a decade ago, Slow Food’s community-driven market has since made its mark on the inner west. Now found in both West Footscray and Spotswood, expect up to 50 stalls on the second and fourth Saturday of each month. Think Cobb Lane bread and baked goods, Colombian street food from Berbeo Bros, and more. The Slow Food mission began as a movement to help restore community spirit at the Convent site, and it continues to connect Melburnians through food.
Veg Out Farmers Market, St Kilda
Running for more than 14 years, St Kilda’s bustling Veg Out Farmers Market is on the first Saturday of every month – next to the community garden, which is just a short walk from the beach. You can expect a wide range of local produce from dozens of stalls, which could include pies from Pacdon Park. Grab a coffee and a pastry – and there’ll likely be a sausage sizzle, too. Plus, it’s likely the person you buy from will have helped make, bake, grow, pick, pack or prepare the product you’re heading home with.