I'm a journalism student at Monash university, living in Melbourne CBD.
Published August 8th 2012
Footscray Market has been claimed to be among the best in Melbourne. I believe that the Footscray Market IS the best in Melbourne, and here are a few reasons why.
Transport: Emerging from an inner-city apartment, I take my grocery cart and head for the nearest train station. From Southern Cross station, the trip to Footscray will take approximately 15 minutes.
One of the best features of this market is the location. All it takes is one train from the city and you are in the culturally diverse centre of Footscray. The market is located directly across the road from the Footscray Railway Station, making it a public transport dream.
I also find that carts are easier (full or empty) to take on trains. The same cannot be said for many trams or buses that are a lot more small, crowded and awkward. Unless you visit the market for a single twig of peppermint, this is a crucial factor to consider for market-goers (especially when a majority of Melburnians do not own a car).
Fresh, Nutritional Produce: On arrival, you will notice the fruit stalls spilling out onto the street, showcasing an array of Melbourne's finest and freshest fruits and vegetables. So choose your fruit and veg stall and stock up on the most colourful of organic produce; your waistline will thank you for it later.
The Freshest Meat: Walk past the fruit and vegetable section and you will find the main deli in the market. If on a clean diet, the fish is delicious and sometimes even still writhing on ice. The Italian sausages simply need to be sampled to be believed. From octopus tentacles to chicken tenderloins, any meat that you can dream up is on sale here.
Variety Stores: While in Footscray soak up a little bit of variety. Some stores in the complex include a pet shop, variety stores, clothes/fashion stalls, party supplies and a DVD store. Some of the stores included in the complex house some unusual finds, making the grocery-buying experience a little vaster. It always feels like a good day out instead of a chore. The variety stores in the food court also sell a variety of carts for around $15 each, which is the cheapest I have ever seen them sold for. Forgot your cart? – No problem!
The Nut Lady: Down one of the many aisles is the best store of all, Nelly's Nut Shop. Owner, Nelly Barsoum always highlights the market experience with her friendly customer service. Nelly will allow you to sample the wide variety of nuts and dried fruit she has on offer, and one can always spare a few dollars to purchase some delicious almond bread to nibble on for the rest of the trip. Week after week, Nelly serves the best collection of fruit and nuts that make up the main elements of one delicious, organic muesli recipe.
Being a woman of simple pleasures, the 'supermarket' style store is the next place to visit. The best part about this supermarket is the way it's set up. You can be in and out in five minutes because, like your local supermarket, everything is in the same place and where it should be. The best buys to a sugar-conscious diabetic like myself are the organic orange juice (which usually sells for around $5) and the natural yoghurt (which sells for $4.95 for 2L). The juice has around 7g per 100g of sugar and the yoghurt has around 5g per 100g.
Price: The best part about the market? The price. Students take note – local markets save your money and support local producers. For an entire week's worth of fresh fruit and vegetables for one, you're looking at $20 all you can eat. Meat will cost you around $20 and any other essentials (milk, juice, yoghurt, cheese, bread etc.) will cost around $30 for the lot. A good example of the value of market products is the cost of the yoghurt.
Natural yoghurt retails at around $6.50 for 1L at major supermarkets, whereas 2L of Natural yoghurt from the market will only cost you $4.95.
The Footscray Market is simply the mecca of all markets. It is beyond easy to get to; the variety of produce is both extensive and of high quality; it will save you a lot of money and it will become a weekly experience rather than a chore. Sure, my apartment is closer to QV market, although personally, the experience, character and diversity that is the Footscray Market will always rank Footscray higher to this market-goer. Never change, Footscray.