Markets are an integral part of the lifestyle and culture of Melbourne and contribute to making it one of the most liveable cities in the world. In addition to Queen Victoria Market and the many fresh produce and arts and crafts markets dotting Melbourne and the region, there has been a steady growth of farmers' markets that connect Victoria's farmers to the local urban communities. One such organisation growing in popularity is the Melbourne Farmers' Market (MFM) which runs fresh produce markets around Melbourne on Saturdays.
Founded by Miranda Sharp, this not-for-profit delivers real food direct from the people who produce it. There are no wholesalers and no big businesses. Just Victorian food and producers. A retired chef, caterer and food writer, Miranda believes in providing everyone with access to affordable and fresh food. MFM also promotes regional food cultures, seasonal produce, biodiversity, sustainable farming practices and brings the consumer and the producer together. With 8 markets spread around Melbourne to choose from, here's an easy guide to help you plan your Saturday visits every month.
Southbank - First Saturdays
Southbank Farmers' Market at Boyd Community Hub / Photo courtesy of Melbourne Farmers' Market
This addition to MFM's line up is a practical reaction to the City Of Melbourne's 2012 Food Policy Framework. An accredited market helps to address the food security, sustainability and offer healthy eating choices for 15,000 residents in the area.
The Southbank Farmers' Market which commenced in August 2014 has ceased operations at the Boyd Community Hub in City Road due to the planned building development there. MFM is determined to keep the market in Southbank and is currently looking for another location nearby to continue offering visitors access to fresh Victorian produce, direct from local food producers.
Carlton Primary School - First Saturday, 8am - 1pm
Carlton Farmers' Market at Carlton Primary School / Photo courtesy of Melboure Farmers' Market
Carlton Farmers' Market opened in October 2014 at the Carlton Primary School with the support of the City of Melbourne. Since then, it has become a favourite Saturday morning destination in Rathdowne Street for the locals. A 'bumper barrow' is displayed at the front gates to encourage market go-ers and stallholders to donate produce and seedlings. These are used by the school children during the week in their cooking or gardening sessions. Entry to the market is by gold coin donation which goes towards supporting the school's Kitchen Garden Program.
Address: Palmerston Street, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia
The Substation, Newport - First & Third Sundays, 9am - 1pm
Substation Farmers' Market in Newport / Photo courtesy of Melbourne Farmers' Market
Located next to the Newport train station, this market launched in December 2013 is convenient for those coming on foot. It operates in the carpark space behind the iconic Substation building, which started life as one of the oldest and largest substations in the metropolitan system in 1915.
In addition to the variety of fresh Victoria produce, the visual and performing arts hub also plays host to an Artists' Market on the 1st Sunday of each month. There free street parking and local carparks.
Address: 1 Market Street, Newport VIC 3015, Australia
Collingwood Children's Farm - Second Saturdays, 8am - 1pm
MFM's first farmers' market in Melbourne was established in October 2002 at the site of the Collingwood Children's Farm. The unique backdrop of farm animals like chicken, sheep, goats, donkeys, cows and horses play host to some 50 farmers and producers who gather at the grounds each second Saturday of the month.
13 years on, the market in Collingwood Children's Farm continues to draw the public and contributes revenue needed to prevent the loss of the Farm to housing development. It will cost $2 and you can stay all day. Parking is free for the first 30 minutes and priced from $1 to $8 for more than 5 hours. The monies go towards the restoration and running of the Abbotsford Convent.
Address: 1-16 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford VIC 3067, Australia
Coburg North Primary School - Second & Fourth Saturdays, 8am - 1pm
Coburg Farmers' Markets works closely with Coburg North Primary school to bring a market to the locals. The market stalls merge around a big central playground offering a fun space for parents and kids. To encourage home-gardening and sustainability, visitors may be able to pick up a bag of take-home chicken manure or a bottle of warm wee as a gift from MFM.
Each year the plastic bag free market also plays a big part in Fair Food Week, and holds a forum for local politicians to speak with residents about their parties' food policies and to hear the opinions of those in the area. A gold coin donation at the gate goes towards supporting specific children school projects. The donations helped the school build a new classroom in late 2014.
Address: 180 O'Hea Street, Coburg VIC 3058, Australia
Fairfield Primary School - Third Saturdays, 8am - 1pm
Located right near Fairfield train station, Fairfield Farmers Market offers a great Saturday outing for kids thanks to the two massive playgrounds and quality coffee and breakfast for families. The variety of Victorian produce include seasonal fruit, vegetables, seedlings, grains, meat, dairy and specialty products. The gold coin entry donations go straight to the school projects such as the new front gate built in 2014.
Address: 5 Langridge Street, Fairfield VIC 3078, Australia
Gasworks Arts Park - Third Saturdays, 8.30am - 1pm
Photo courtesy of Melbourne Farmers' Market
The market began in January 2006, sited within the remaining walls of the South Melbourne gas production plant. Today the Gasworks Arts Park is a diverse arts precinct surrounded by artists' studios, theatres, galleries, workshops and a cafe.
Visitors can walk the market for their fresh fruit and vegetables, ethical meats, cheeses and other produce, then spend some time checking out the free public sculptures and art around the grounds.
Address: 21 Graham Street, Albert Park VIC 3206, Australia
The Slow Food Farmers' Market in Abbotsford Convent is a great way for the public to find the real story on how food is farmed, how it tastes and the impact of their food choices. That means no genetically modified ingredients, no long cold storage, no gases and no over-processed chemical laden foods.
Each year, the Convent also hosts the Slow Food Twilight Market on an evening close to Christmas. It will cost $2 and you can stay all day. Parking is free for the first 30 minutes and priced from $1 to $8 for more than 5 hours. The monies go towards the restoration and running of the Abbotsford Convent.
Address: 1-16 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford VIC 3067, Australi
GEORG....., those Gourmet Pies your speaking about are sensational. They have won awards and more awards and more awards. The boss is a great guy too. You will find their pies at IN SEASONS FARMERS MARKET @ Glen Huntly Primary School where the foot bridge goes over the road. Grange Road Glen Huntly on the 2nd Saturday of the month.
There's another at Ashwood High on the footie oval in High Street Rd on the 3rd Saturday I think.
I wrote below about the best pies which are really the most sensational pies you could ever taste to be honest. You've got to taste them and you'll be hooked. George the Chef loves cooking and cooking his pies and to taste them you just know he loves cooking because of the taste. My saying is, when you cook with passion and the absolute love of cooking then that taste shines through. When you don't like cooking at all it will come out in the taste too. That's why George's pies are sensational. He has won sooooooooooooo many awards for his pies which you will see displayed in his Stall/Truck.
Never miss out again in fact next Saturday (the 2nd Saturday of the month) you will find his stall at Glenhuntly Primary School, in Grange Rd). He's a top guy too!