It’s that time of year at last. The sun is shining, the breeze is soft and vegie patches everywhere are full. Happily there’s a way to fill our fridges without missing the sunshine and warmth; head to the farmers’ market and choose the best of what’s in season straight from the people who grew it. They’re popping up all over town, so we thought we’d share a few of our favourites.
Collingwood Children’s Farm
It might set up digs once a month at the Collingwood Children’s Farm, but this market is not just for the kids. The Collingwood Children’s Farm is the spiritual home of Melbourne farmers’ markets, being the place where it all began back in 2002, and when it comes a to a sunny Saturday morning there’s just nowhere better to shop for fresh produce.
Enter via established vegetable gardens and fruit trees, wander by the goat pens and chicken coups, see if there’s space at the open-air Farm Café (eggs don’t come any fresher than this), then hoist your shopping bags high to begin fondling new season broad beans, dried fruit from Mildura and fresh cheese from throughout Victoria.
There’s live music, coffee and breakfast available at the Farm Café and also loads of sneaky tips to be gleaned from the producers on how to get the best out of their produce – all you have to do is ask.
Where: End of St. Heliers Street, Abbotsford (just past the convent gates)
When: Second Saturday of every month. 8am–1pm
Held on the third Saturday of every month, the Gasworks farmers’ market is located within the preserved walls of the old South Melbourne gas production plant. The open courtyard of the Gasworks Café backs onto the reserve from the restored Gasworks buildings and artists’ studios.
Stalls bring together fresh and gourmet produce from across Victoria and many of the faces manning the stalls are the producers themselves, happy to recommend what’s in season and possibly reveal a personal recipe.
Be sure to pick up a six-pack of micro brews to celebrate that the week’s shopping is complete.
Where: Gasworks Arts Park, 21 Graham Street, Albert Park
When: Third Saturday of every month. 8.30am–1pm
Veg Out St. Kilda
The Veg Out St Kilda farmers’ market is an extension of the passion that St. Kilda locals show for projects like the Veg Out Community Gardens (that rescued a local bowling club from car-park development and transformed it into an urban vegetable garden). So it’s no surprise that the monthly farmers’ market here has been embraced with the same fervour.
You’ll find locals catching up for a relaxed BBQ-style breakfast at makeshift tables, flatmates restocking their herb garden for the warmer days ahead, and young families encouraging kids to pick the best seasonal. Aside from the excellent selection of fruit, vegetables, breads and organic/free-range meats on offer, keep an eye out for added extras like sustainable fish guide books, pots of herbs, honey and jam that you might not see elsewhere.
Where: Chaucer Street, St Kilda
When: First Saturday of every month. 8.30am–1pm
Slow Food Melbourne
Supporting seasonal, organic, low/no chemical, rare-breed, free-range and artisan produce.
Where: Abbotsford Convent, St. Heliers Street, Abbotsford.
When: Fourth Saturday of every month. 8am-1pm
Ceres Organic Market
Ceres’ market sells produce grown in the Ceres garden and from local organic and sustainable urban farmers across Melbourne.
Where: CERES, corner Roberts & Stewart Streets, Brunswick East.
When: Wednesday and Saturday. 9am-1pm