Owns 'FoodLit'. Highly qualified, established food & lifestyle writer, former restaurateur, founder professional writing business, Articul8. Long, diverse writing history, passion for food culture, the land & inspired food language.www.foodlit.com.au
Sure you can pick up a fantastic range of farm-fresh fruit 'n' veg and other exquisite products, but it's also a super Saturday morning experience that has you chatting with lovely stallholders while soaking up a friendly community vibe. Here are a few of my favourite stops:
If you haven't had your morning coffee, a pick-me-up latte at the one and only coffee stand is essential. Then do a leisurely browse around first, grazing yummy samples along your merry way. By your second round, you'll know the best stuff to buy at the best price.
The main vegetable stall gets packed and runs out of stuff, so visit these no-nonsense, down-to-earth ladies early. Other available veggies depends on what's in season, as thankfully, that's all you'll get at Farmers' Markets.
Summer stuff might include fresh-garden peas (look for the sugar snaps), sweetcorn (including fresh baby corn!), stonefruit and Sunny Ridge strawberries so sweet, you'd think they'd been dipped in sugar.
Do stop at Kouzina's, where Areti, a highly qualified, highly passionate pastry chef bakes the most exquisite organic cakes and pastries – and grows many of the ingredients used in them. She's quite a character, so you're likely to hear a very funny story too.
Happy Fruit's nuts, sultanas, muscatels, dried apricots, pears and more are sun-kissed by the Mildura sun. The samples are generous and the pesticide-free produce excellent. Jan from Red Hill Cheese will happily give you a sample of her artisan cheeses. The Coolart Soft and Sorrento Picnic are my favourites.
Blue Bay Cheese does a fab ricotta. It's a super creamy variety without much fat. Joy! I buy a small tub and devour it for breakfast as I make my way round.
Take a moment, stop all conversation and distractions and try the nougat made by Larderfresh. Best enjoyed at room temperature, this nougat will ensure you never eat any other nougat. Nothing will measure up again.
Say hi to Phoebe, the bright, friendly 'Orange lady', often seen out front of her stall with a tray of sweet orange segments. Her juice is jam-packed full of get-up-and-go – perfect for a sleepy Saturday. Look out for blood orange juice in season.
Other favourites include: the tomato man's sensational cherry tomatoes; Green Eggs (they're not actually green, but the free-range farm is run by greenies); veggie burgers that might have the most devout carnivore converting; authentic, flavour-packed antipasti and dips from the Sicilian lady; a very wholesome muesli that tastes too good to be muesli; and the Nicola spuds from the potato growers for making very good gnocchi.