With the advent of spring comes a return to the outdoors and a sense of anticipation as nature’s most active season arrives. With new growth springing up, the time is ripe for getting out and exploring Australia’s growing number of local farmers’ markets.
The atmosphere of a farmers’ market is one of shared knowledge and local exchange. Learning about a product from the very person who cultivated it lets us reconnect with the origin of our food and help support a sustainable food supply alternative.
Housed in central locations, farmers’ markets are rebuilding our idea of public space and regenerating community spirit, and Australians are embracing the change. A report released in 2012 by Australia’s Minister for Agriculture, the Hon. Joe Ludwig, found that since 2004, Australia’s farmers’ market numbers have more than doubled to 150-plus nationally. The report also found that fresh food sales from farmers’ markets, along with other alternative fresh food markets, now represent an estimated 7% of all fresh food sales.
Jane Adams, spokesperson for the Australian Farmers’ Market Federation, acknowledges this key role farmers’ markets play in Australian fresh food supply. “These findings highlight the fact that farmers’ markets have become a vital and permanent link in Australia’s food chain. Direct paddock-to-plate and lower food-mile shopping is without a doubt one of the most significant changes in the past decade in our national foodscape.”
The Australian Farmers’ Market Federation supports the development and growth of best-practice and sustainable farmers’ markets and provides a great online resource to help you find your local market. farmersmarkets.org.au
Continuously operating for 10 years, the Albany Farmers Market transforms a local car park into a thriving marketplace and offers the best locally grown produce from the Great Southern Region of Western Australia. Running from 8am to 12pm every Saturday on Collie Street, Albany, expect to find everything from organic beef, sheep yoghurt, fresh yabbies and seasonal fruit and veggies.
The first farmers’ market to establish itself in South Australia, Willunga Farmers Market has over 55 stalls selling produce from regional farms and the Fleurieu Peninsula. Held every Saturday from 8am to 12.30pm in Willunga Town Square, this market’s motto is ‘meet the grower and taste the region.’
Setting up shop on the third Saturday of every month, Gasworks Farmers Market in Gasworks Arts Park, Albert Park runs from 8.30am to 1pm. Offering a gourmet BBQ to get shoppers fired up before tackling the stalls, the market has been running since 2006 and now has around 70 stalls bringing a slice of rural Victorian life to shoppers.
Sydney shoppers flock to Eveleigh Farmers’ Market held every Saturday from 8am to 1pm in Darlington, near Redfern Station. Over 70 NSW and ACT farmers and artisan food producers sell their fresh, homemade produce to food lovers who pack the market every week. There is also a monthly Artisan’s Market held from 10am-3pm on the first Sunday of every month at the same spot.
Every Saturday from 9am to 1pm, Cimitiere Street car park comes to life with Launceston’s weekly farmers’ market. Launched in February 2012 during Tasmania’s annual Festivale celebrations, Harvest Market has quickly become a weekly food destination for the local community and tourists.
Capital Region Farmers Market was founded by the Rotary Club of Hall to provide the city’s locals and tourists with an opportunity to buy fresh farm and food produce from the region’s producers. The first market was held in 2004 with 18 stalls and has grown to showcase over 100 stalls every Saturday from 8am to 11am at Exhibition Park, Canberra.
Running every Sunday under the fragrant gum trees at the Noosa Australian Rules Football Club on Weyba Road, Noosa Farmers Market is packed with produce for sale and offers live music, a jumping castle for kids and some great breakfast spots. The market runs from 7am to 12pm and regularly hosts special events.
To find your closest farmers’ market visit farmersmarkets.org