Mulgrave Farmers' Market
This neighbourhood market is casual and relaxed. It offers the usual fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh bread, sweet treats and baked goods – but there are several unique stalls here too, which I love to see.
Although pedestrians use the same road as cars to enter the market, for the last few metres to the entrance the organisers provide a clearly cordoned-off pathway to separate us from the traffic – it's safer and it reminds cars that there's people about – a good idea. As I enter, I can give a donation to the organisation that runs the market – another good idea.
Inside, a stall has all natural Eucalyptus products – they have such a broad use for cleaning, maintenance, home fragrance and even first aid. There's eucalyptus oil too. The stall-holder is knowledgeable and fascinating. Some products are made with beeswax – useful for treating leather.
I see a range of boutique beers – available by the six-pack. Amongst the varieties is one called "Scotch Beer"
– which the vendor assures me is based on a Scottish recipe, not actually laced with Scotch Whiskey!
I'm drawn to the stall with beautiful fresh nuts, still in their shells. There are walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts – with some already roasted if I want to have a variety ... and there's always samples to try! …
A colourful display catches my eye – nail polish. Not so unusual? – perhaps not, until I realise this is handmade polish that's cruelty-free and vegan-friendly. They are made by Bella Belle Nail Couture
. The colour range is good.
Several stalls offer vegan-friendly varieties of their products. Care You Love
has freshly made herb, flower and spice infused skin care products – I am fascinated by their "salt and coffee" blended exfoliator – yes, that would be a good, granular mix. Ernie and Christine make their own products from their garden in Belgrave, so it's a treat for locavores. With a motto of "Naturally, it starts with care"
they use no chemicals, artificial additives or animal derived ingredients in their skin care range – marvellous for anyone with sensitive skin.
A curious bundle of round woolly balls catches my eye … these are Dryer Balls. "They're what? –"
Cath Nolan Bioldic explains these "Tumble Monkeys" are felted wool balls about the size of tennis balls that we put into our clothes drier. As they naturally absorb moisture, they extract this from the damp clothes as they dry – thereby cutting down drying time and energy used – fantastic and innovative!
One or two stalls are inside the Body Shop foyer, but not many. Most notable here is Grandma's Smocking
- and Grandma is there today, busy with her knitting needles. She's not smocking here as it takes too much concentration - but her smocking work is on display - it's beautifully even, delicate and meticulous. Unfortunately though, it's one of those crafts that is truly marvellous but quickly diminishing in popularity as our community ages.
I pass by a wide variety of food - perhaps schedule a visit around breakfast, brunch or lunch. You'll find a good range of hot foods to enjoy right away at one of several cafes with pleasant seating areas. I'm delighted to see delicious ethnic offerings - I can get Indian food at Babaji's Kitchen – the aroma is amazing – and they have colourful tables with brightly decorated parasols to sit under – they're rather like the Howdah
used to carry nobility on elephants' backs in olden times of India.
At the Gozleme
stall, the happy chef creates huge vegetable flavoured savoury gozleme (Turkish crepes), "just like his grandmother used to make throughout his childhood". Any vegetable will be good to do this – today he serves Spinach or Pumpkin – delicious.
For a sweet treat, there are several things and the colourful macaron stall is where I gravitate. Chocolette Patisserie
is here and Colette (a nice play on her name for the company name) has a lovely range of flavours, very nicely displayed.
For something different, there's beautifully crafted wood furniture by Wood Ideas
of Berwick and a soft furnishings stall, Estilo Homewares
run by Patricia and Nicole. This mother and daughter partnership have cushions, canvasses and other fabric furnishings made with sophisticated fabric designs – it's very nice.
Mulgrave Farmers Market is located at the Body Shop buildings on Jackson's Road (very near the corner of Wellington Road) in Mulgrave. It is super easy to get to by car – either take Wellington Road – it's a mere 100 metres from the intersection; or approach it from Jackson's Road until you almost reach Wellington Road. For anyone not particularly local, the Wellington Road turnoff on the M3 Citylink Tollway is less than one kilometre from the Jackson's Road intersection – super easy.
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