If there's one thing Melburnians love, it's something local and fresh (just look at how much we adore sexy export Chris Hemsworth now), so it stands to reason that the lure of the lush vegetables and fruit, home-state wines, hand-made delicacies and locally manufactured specialty goods of Victoria's farmers' markets is becoming ever stronger. Add to this the quaint historic setting and bay views of Nelson Place and you have Williamstown's fine offering in the marketplace arena.
The Williamstown Farmers' Market runs every second Sunday of the month, all year long, from 9am until 1pm. Now located on the Commonwealth Reserve at Nelson Place, overlooking the boats, the Williamstown Farmers' Market is currently comprised of around 40 to 45 seasonal stalls, purveying everything from fresh fruit and vegetables, seafood, smallgoods, cakes, biscuits and slices, wines, beers and ciders, organic grocery items, jams, sauces, dressings, honey, confectionery, tea and coffee, nuts, handmade soap, olive oil, breads, plants, free range eggs, cheeses, herbs, and even special treats for the high-population of pampered pooches in the inner-west.
Fresh produce at the Williamstown Farmers' Market.
The variety and quality of goods available makes for a tempting amble around the green. It's a fantastic place to spend a Sunday buying farm-fresh produce and stocking up on a few special items for the pantry (much more stimulating than the supermarket) or finding something useful to give as a gift (even the person who has everything would surely relish a hamper of boutique wines and selected bonnes bouches). The picturesque location also lends itself to a lovely lunch – fill your picnic basket at the market and have a feast in the park, looking out over the water.
The Williamstown Farmers' Market is set right on the water.
The Williamstown Farmers' Market is one of thirteen markets currently in operation by Regional Farmers' Markets (RFM). RFM has been running authentic farmers' markets since 1999 and employs strict criteria to ensure that a great range of products is available to the consumer, and that all products sold comply with the RFM standards of being as fresh and essentially local as possible. This means that preference is given to stallholders selling their own locally grown produce, that is GM free or with as little chemical use as is practically feasible, and 'value added' products that are manufactured within Victoria using primarily local ingredients.
The stalls form a square around the Commonwealth Reserve.
All stallholders must have full transparency and knowledge of any outside sourcing or chain of production stages, hold relevant permits, adhere to OH&S and Food Safety legislation, use tested and certified equipment, and clearly price all sale items. RFM also supports SecondBite, a not-for-profit organisation that collects perishable goods from donating stallholders that would otherwise go to waste, and distributes them to those less fortunate in the community.
See the website for more information about other markets operated by RFM, which also has several new markets currently in the planning stages, due to open in metro and country Victoria later in the year.