Held on the first Saturday of each month, you can purchase all your fresh produce needs. Besides stocking up for the week, it is an enjoyable outing in itself and very child-friendly. Be entertained, with live performances and enjoy a coffee and breakfast as you stroll around being tempted by the fabulous produce on display.
Naturally, the produce available varies according to the season, but one thing doesn't change; everything is at its freshest and tastiest. I must admit I tend to feel rather smug at knowing the food I will be consuming in the coming week has just been harvested and travelled very few miles. I guarantee stored correctly you will be amazed how long the tastiness and freshness remains (if not eaten first). Buying from a farmers' market reminds you of the seasons, as it takes you through the journey of the year. Tasting a peach, or tomatoes, straight from the grower is an experience in itself.
You have your staples of meat, fruit and vegetables available, in addition to great finds that have certainly expanded my cooking repertoire.
Meat includes chicken, duck (fabulous fresh livers if you're early enough), lamb, pork, turkey, goat and the amazing Galloway beef. The pork pies and scotch eggs are reputedly the best in the southern hemisphere (I definitely agree with that accolade) plus you can enjoy sausages, bacon, gammon, haggis and much more, all made to exacting standards and traditional recipes. It's a taste of Britain.
Dairy. You'll find, in my consideration, the most flavoursome fresh milk. If you purchase regularly you may notice the slight difference of taste, and the creaminess, as it varies according to the seasons. Yoghurt, cream and artisan cheese are just as tempting.
I usually head straight to the Lakes Entrance Fish stall, as they often sell out early. Last month I missed out on the scallops, but as they are just starting their season I am determined I will be their first customer on Saturday.
Spend a few minutes chatting with the stall holders. They will always have a suggestion for you if you are after specific recipe, trying a product that is new to you or just seeking a suggestion on how to prepare, cook and serve
Seasonal harvest will vary, although the variety of growers along with artisan and certified organic producers is sure to impress. Victorian Farmers markets have very strict guidelines and all products must be grown or made by the stall holder. An added bonus is knowing you are supporting the folk who have long been the foundation of our food production, through good times and bad.
Do allow time to leisurely explore hidden gems. Patience is important as there often are queues. You will be rewarded with the full attention of the stallholders once you have reached the front of the queue.
I usually trundle home with all my fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat, fish, eggs, artisan cheese and bread needs for the week, with the added bonus of honey, jam, olive oil, olives, handmade pastry, bagels, dried fruit, hot sauces, nuts, pate, pies, wine and flowers, also on hand.
Naturally, being seasonal, some stalls will only be available at a specific time of the year. Ohers are there every month come frost and rain or 40-degree heat.
Specialty stall holders include truffles, although we are at the end of the season for this year. You can purchase seedlings for your veggie garden, and, come closer to the holiday season, why not order your ham, turkey, Christmas pudding or cake from a small artisan producer?
Supporting your local farmers' market whilst providing you with some amazing produce, also supports our local farmers, producers and their families in our otherwise globally competitive world.
A couple of things to keep in mind:
This is not mass produced. Fruit and vegetables naturally vary and may have blemishes, but the taste will still be outstanding.
Veg Out Markets are a plastic-free zone, so bring along your trolley or reusable bags.
Situated right next to the community gardens of the same name, take a break from the rush of schedules and city living right on your doorstep.