Farmers' markets in Melbourne
After more than a decade, this Hawthorn market is less a hub of commerce and more a friendly get-together. Locals have been catching up with guys like Trevor from Red Hill Cheese for years, and before long, you'll spot him chatting over turnips across the reserve. Boroondara is also about spreading the love; its Grub Hub initiative encourages local cafés to order produce directly from the farmers.
Carlton Farmers' Market opened in 2014, much to the delight of locals searching for a way to get closer to the source of their food. Farmers' Markets offer shoppers the unique opportunity to put faces to names of their favourite local producers, and to take home a basket of tasty, ethically grown groceries. Head over to the Carlton Primary School and you'll find stallholders offering everything from freshly baked bread from Flinders Sourdough to eggs from the Old Farm Happy Valley in Flowerdale.
Set in the pastoral oasis that is the Collingwood Children's Farm and open the second Saturday of each month, this gourmand's paradise offers a fleeting taste of country life in the heart of Abbotsford. The Collingwood Children's Farmers' Market dates back to 2002 and was actually the first farmers' market to hit the inner suburbs of Melbourne. Snap up award-winning Victorian seedlings, farm-fresh fruit and vegetables and visit the curious (live) goats.
Beneath the grey spires of the historic Abbotsford Convent is a market that champions an era when you knew the farmer who grew your potatoes, and when tomatoes tasted like real tomatoes (not overly acidic and/or bland balls of mush). It's open the fourth Saturday of each month, and seasonal, organic food is king here. Learning about the origins of your produce is half the fun.
If all you sell is raspberries (or olives, or rhubarb, or honey), then you've got to have a pretty strong passion for them. Every third Saturday of the month, enthusiasm for high-quality local produce runs like electricity at this Port Melbourne arts space, and your tastebuds will feel it too. Grab a fresh, crusty baguette to go with your market haul salad for later, stock up on seasonal produce and don't forget a treat or two for afternoon tea (handmade chocolate biscuits, anyone?).
The volunteer-run Veg Out Community Garden's farmers' market, open the first Saturday of each month, overflows with local organic produce, jams and preserves, handmade bread and sundry delights to fill up your basket. Farmers from across the state roll into St Kilda for the market, which is plastic free (bring your reusable bags!).
More markets worth your time
Melbourne's bazaars have got the goods, from farm-fresh produce to arts and crafts, and there's one happening near you.