Tim McKnight is a Melbourne-based writer and weekend escapee
Published September 21st 2011
Prefer roaming an acre of open stalls for your weekly shopping to the sterile fluorescence of a supermarket? Then what better way to spend a weekend morning than to browse a local farmers' market for fresh produce and delicacies.
Set on the Patterson Reserve alongside the Gardiners Creek walking track, the market's eclectic selection of stalls and country fair ambience attract a bustling crowd each month. Drawing the locals and pilgrims are vivid displays of fresh fruit and veggies – many organic – plus sizzling sausages, seductively pungent cheeses from nearby cheeseries, and tantalising varieties of olive oil. A hazardous place for impulse food shoppers like me.
Led by the nose towards the succulent free-range meats, it's impossible not to stop and chat with the stall operators to get the back story about their produce, or learn how to best cook it. There's even raw milk, just like you used to drink on visits to Uncle Don's dairy farm back in the day. Perfect for home-made yoghurt and cheese.
Patterson Reserve lies on Auburn Rd in Hawthorn, just off Toorak Rd. Parking is free but spaces can be difficult to find for the first couple of hours. And judging from the number of cheerful dogs eagerly hoovering up any crumbs making it to the ground, this market is clearly pet friendly. Just a $2 donation per person will see you in to one of the most enjoyable places to be in Melbourne on a Saturday morning.