Now I have been ridiculously specific in the title of this post. Why Coburg Farmer’s Market? Why not any Farmer’s Market? This is for 4 main reasons:
- It is this Saturday (and indeed the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month). Unlike the UK and quite possibly North America, Farmer’s Markets here tend to be comparatively infrequent. It is not unusual to have only one market each month at a given location. As a result I thought it best to post on one taking place this weekend.
- The Coburg Farmer’s Market is very close to my house.
- Some of my reasons for going are quite specific and may (or may not) only apply to Coburg.
- I have a personal investment in the success of Coburg Farmer’s Market.
Having said that there are plenty of good reasons to shop at Farmer’s Markets generally (fresher food, meeting the grower, access to local seasonal ingredients, paying the farmer a fair price for their produce, more organic produce and so on) so feel free to delete the ‘Coburg’ and insert the name of your own personal favourite.
These are the reason’s I’m heading to Coburg North Primary School (180 O’Hea St Coburg) sometime between 8am and 1pm for the market this Saturday:
1. Cherries: The first of this years cherries appeared 2 weeks ago. The Victorian cherry picking season often kicks off on or around Cup Day and so the first cherries appear at Farmer’s Markets in early November. I bought a box 2 weeks ago from Smiths stall and they were absolutely sensational. The growers told me that it has been a difficult year for cherries, lots of fruit spoiled by the rain, so I am definitely going to make the most of them while I can.
2. Having a peaceful breakfast while the kids play happily: Because it is held in the grounds of the primary school Coburg Farmer’s Market has the wonderful combination of a stall selling Dutch pancakes (cooked by the Primary School kids), next to a sausage sizzle, coffee vendor and a kids playground. I can feed the kids, then send them off to play while I eat my egg and bacon roll and get my caffeine hit.
3. Seeing what Maria has brought. There is a wonderful stall at the market run by the lovely Maria and her husband whose name I should be able to remember but can’t. They sell home made pasta, which is fab, but more excitingly for me they bring produce from their garden to sell. Their garden is situated in Northern Victoria, somewhere near to Swan Hill I think, and seems to be incredibly abundant. In recent weeks they have had broad beans, leeks, and the last of Autumns pumpkins. Last market they brought down the first of the peaches and some amazingly juicy grapefruit. I’m really looking forward to seeing what this week brings.
4. Peas in a pod. At my daughters school they have time set aside during their morning schedule for the kids to take a short break to eat fresh fruit and/or veg. Usually she takes an apple, or strawberries, or blueberries or if we have run out of everything else, some carrot sticks. Lately though the craze has been for peas in a pod. Apparently a large portion of her class sit around shelling peas every morning. Unfortunately my pea crop failed this year and they seem remarkably difficult to come by elsewhere. Thank goodness for the market, and the lovely couple who sell peas in a pod along with other fabulous veg. (I can also recommend their baby carrots – just delicious).
5. The bagel man Bagels are remarkably difficult to come by in Melbourne’s Northern Suburbs. Good bagels even more so. As a result the bagel man’s monthly trip to the Farmer’s Market is much appreciated. He only comes on the 4th Saturday of the month but as that is this Saturday I can start stocking up on the smoked salmon now!
Do you have a favourite Farmer’s Market? What do you love about it?
I know I bang on about it but I love the market at Collingwood Childrens Farm. Its a good size market with lots of variety and I get my meat, bread, dairy and any veg I want/need not growing in my garden. I love pottering about the farm and gardens too. That and in winter there are the plant sellers who I just have to check out and then end up with ANOTHER fruit tree or shrub for the garden. But I also will put in a good word for Slow Food at the Abbotsford Convent (a nice but slightly different mix of producers) and also the market at Gasworks.
Like the 3 you mention Coburg is run by Melbourne Farmer’s Market Group and they seem to do a really good job in attracting a nice mix of stallholders. Quite a few of the Collingwood ones go to Coburg but I must admit I miss Mount Zero. I used to buy their lentils, olives, oil etc every month. I also miss visiting the pigs. So while I love having a market just down the road I have to admit to missing visiting Collingwood Childrens Farm.
We were at the recent Abbotsford Convent Open Day, and we all loved it! Too bad we didn’t get to visit the Collingwood Children’s Farm. We saw the sheep from inside the Convent grounds, though. Must schedule another visit to the Farm soon. Thanks for the tip.
I must admit that I haven’t given farmer’s markets the attention they deserve. In Sydney they seem to often be both expensive and pretentious. I have no problem believing that it is different in Melbourne.
Regarding the expense I think it depends what you buy. Meat is certainly more expensive than many other retailers but I think you definitely get what you pay for in terms of quality. Fruit and veg, I find very reasonable. A month or so ago I compared prices of leeks at the market with those at a couple of supermarkets and Preston Market. In the week I looked they were $1 each at the Farmer’s Market which was cheaper than either of the supermarkets and the same as Preston Market.
Regarding the pretentiousness, Melbourne revels in a bit of pretention (but only while wearing black, riding a fixie, and drinking coffee) so that is entirely possible…….
L, the Castle Hill Farmers’ Market is on this Sat. It is pretty good. Expensive? A little. Pretentious? Not really.
I’m hoping they have garlic this week. I’ve been eating the stuff from China 🙁
Thanks Liz and Jo. I will have to check it out next time because I have a 6 year old birthday party on Saturday, but I like the sound of Castle Hill over the inner-city markets I have previously experience.
You’d be correct. We used to go religiously when it started, at least 10 times, but now it’s just so expensive and pretentious that we stopped. $8 for a pie? $10 for a grilled cheese sandwich? $8.50 for a stick of butter? Half a kilo of mushrooms costs more than an entire kilo at the supermarket. Ridiculous. Sure you get what you pay for (as with everything in life) but for the average family this place is too expensive. The coffee-flavoured water is terrible too.
Hi Jane, Not sure if you were referring to the Sydney markets or Coburg but in case it was Coburg: In terms of expense I think it very much depends on what you buy. For me $5kg for home grown peaches, $16kg for the best cherries going, $2 for a whole cabbage, and $3.50 for a plate of pancakes (these are the prices I can remember from last market) are all definitely worth visiting for. I have to admit I’ve never had one of the cheese sandwiches though, was it nice?
P.S I quite like their coffee.
I haven’t been to a Farmers’ market but we do have a couple of farm shops near to use that sell local produce including their own.
I do like a good farm shop too – there are a number in Bacchus Marsh near where my parents live and I often stop in on my way home from their place.
This post made me ridiculously happy, even though I live nowhere near Coburg — all good reasons to visit any farmers’ market!
I get a bit sentimental about Farmer’s Markets too…
I’m thinking of going to the Preston Farmers’ Market this weekend… Have you ever been there, by any chance? And do you have any recommendations for Preston Market? I’m on the hunt for good quality fruit & veg and meats (trying to break free from the duopoly — must admit it’s a bit difficult on a budget! I’ve been resorting to Aldi trips and the fruit & veg/meat shops at Northland in the meantime.)
I also wanted to share that you’re one of the few who’ve inspired me to start a small balcony garden. I have just gotten around to repotting my three-year-old rosemary plant (the last of my tasks this season). I’m quite ashamed to say that my direct-sown leaf lettuce has been a major failure! All the seedlings fall to the ground as soon as they reach four inches! How do you normally plant your lettuce?
Thanks in advance and have a good weekend ahead!
Not sure about Preston Farmer’s Market – I have to admit that I didn’t know there was one. I do go to Preston Market regularly to shop and I generally find the fruit and veg quality to be quite mixed. Shamefully my favourite fruit and veg thing to get at Preston Market are actually avocados from Aldi…. I do buy big bags on onions there in summer – you can usually get 10kg for about $5.00. I use the deli at the market a lot and also the meat, chicken and seafood stalls. Things I like to buy in the deli section are: the Csabai and Cevapi sausages from the Eastern European deli, chicken from the Hazeldene stall, and Smoked trout, ham and cheeses from the long stall on the wall that adjoins the veg section. For seafood I usually go to either of the stalls at either end of the row which adjoins the food court bit.
Thanks, Liz. Looking forward to visiting Preston Market next week 🙂
Here’s the link to the Preston Farmers’ Market, in case you haven’t found it yet:
We go to our local farmers market too, but there’s no bagels there. I love bagels!
I just finished eating one with some smoked salmon and cream cheese. Delicious!!!!!
Oh I wish I were close to a good Farmers’ Market. Unfortunately farmers markets are rarely found where farmers are…
I lie a little – there is one in Wagga Wagga but I don’t think it is a really good one… but perhaps I should support it anyway? But then I have to weigh up the use of petrol – it’s about 120km round trip for me.
If there were a really good market I’d go AND sell some of my produce there ( when I have enough that is!).
I wish the bagel man would come to my neck of the woods – I miss good bagels.
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