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The best tastes in life are free
The growing number of articles on WeekendNotes about markets are testament to how much Melburnians love their fresh produce markets. It becomes a ritual filling up the basket or backpack with cheap fruit and veg. It is a regular outing for many, even if it is just a chance to buy that something special for a dinner party or picnic.
It is also invigorating to be part of the clatter and bedlam of a market in full flight. All those piles of multi-coloured vegetables, the ringing shouts of vendors "$2 a bag" and the bumper crowds moving congo-line like down the aisles.
Pity is that once the novelty wears off it can also get a bit ho-hum -- shopping at your regular stalls; buying the same old produce. Nice but not quite the adventure it once was.
Which is one of the reasons some of the bigger markets run tours, to open your eyes to the different produce which might be outside your immediate awareness or cultural background.
These tours normally cost between $25 and $30 but during forthcoming Market Week (a week to celebrate our markets) they are absolutely free. So bag one while you still can.
At Prahran Market, you can go on their popular foodie's 'Hidden Gem Tour' which is a real food safari. On this 90 minute tour, you will learn where to find different foods, how to prepare them as well as getting to taste them.
Tours are at 10am on: Tuesday 4th September, Thursday 6th September, Friday 7th September, Saturday 8th September, Sunday 9th September. Bookings essential: call (03) 8290 8220.
Victoria Market is launching a new adventure which they call the Market Insider Shopping Tour. This is for bargain hunters who want to know how to find their way around the general merchandise sheds. There will be lots of insider tips, tricks and special offers.
September 2, 2012 1at 10:00 am Bookings essential: (03) 9320 5835
At South Melbourne Market, you can join one of their Gourmet Market Tours. With the help of an experienced tour guide, you can try some different produce, meet some of the characters behind the stalls and generally improving your overall knowledge and experience of market shopping.
September 9, 2012 Bookings required (03) 9209 6295.
This is the second annual Market Week. The inaugural one was last year when the markets gave away the equivalent of gold - they gave away bananas. If you can recall the price of bananas after last year's bizarre weather patterns, then you will understand the munificence of the gift. This year, there will be a free for all event on Friday 7th September where each of the three markets will give away en masse one item of a particularly sought after product.
To celebrate Market Week 2012 visit the market offices at Prahran, South Melbourne and/or Queen Victoria Markets between 31st August and 9th September and they have some great free market bags to hand out. For addresses go to
As well as the individual market events the big three are joining forces at Federation Square, for a gigantic free. As the combined age of the Queen Victoria, the South Melbourne and the Prahran Markets is 400 there will be 400 give-aways of market goodies such as feta and pesto-stuffed mushrooms, apples, pears, sourdough bread and snags, to name a few.
There will also be lots of special guests to help celebrate including Em Rusciano of The Project, The Circle and Australian Idol fame, The Voice contestant Sam Ludeman, Australian Junior Cricketer Alex Keath, celebrity chefs Ian Curley from The European, Justin Wise from The Point and Tony Twitchett from Taxi Dining Room and Melbourne Rebels players. So get your picture taken with a star while they serve you some BBQ fare.
Hi Nadine... incidently,like your take on matters Melbourne...huge effort I know. You asked?...best market: two in Footscray. The Public and Little Siagon. Like a trip to SE Asia. I'm a senior. Sometimes (if in CBD) I hop a train just to have lunch at Little Siagon. Would show you around...rgcope at gmail dot com