A COLOURFUL and busy market with a wide range of produce, and full of happy shoppers despite the threat of rain was my impression of Coburg Farmers’ Market on a recent visit to Victoria.
Amongst the selection of fruit and vegetables available, was citrus from Sunraysia and organic vegetables from Gippsland.
There were free range eggs and a wide variety of meats, dairy including cheese, yoghurt, milk and cream. Bakery products included artisan bread, notably some unusual flavours such as rhubarb and corn and cheddar (delicious), buns, cakes and pastries.
Ready-to-eat foods included olive and seed oils, organic chocolate, honey, jams and preserves, sauce and chutney, dried fruit and mayonnaise. Other products included flowers, herbs and seedlings.
While shopping at Peninsula Fresh Organics (VFMA president, Wayne Shields’ stall) I overheard a small woman say in response to my asking questions of Wayne: “I am often told I ask too many questions!”. Well, that was enough to make an opportunity to ask more questions.
The interlocuter turned out to be Liz Morrigan, a keen local community member, counsellor and self-declared “story-teller and open-air singer”. Indeed, we were treated to an impromptu song from Liz and her friend Mary De Gardener
Liz said she had been a Coburg Farmers’ Market customer since it started five years ago at Coburg North Primary School. She is, a volunteer at Peppertree Place Community Garden next door to Coburg Primary School (the farmers’ market venue) and an unashamed supporter of everything to do with the farmers’ market and market stallholders,
Liz told us, “I love all aspects of the farmers market!” She agreed it has had and continues to have a role in transforming our community.
“Since the market has moved to this location next to Pepper Tree Place, the synergy has enhanced both the market and the garden. The spirit of this part of Coburg and all the fresh food often inspires a song. Yes, I often feel like singing.”
I was pleased to see the Schulz Dairy stall at Coburg Farmers Market and to taste their cheese and apricot flavoured drinking yoghurt, because of their wonderful biodynamic dairy produce, but also because it reminded me that the very first Acres Australia (1988) contained a story on Timboon Cheese, which was the progenitor of Schultz Dairy. Timboon Cheese was started by Herman Schulz, the father of current owners.
Although I was a visitor to Melbourne, I could not resist taking home a heavy bag of produce to give to my Melbourne hosts.
– TIM MARSHALL
Acres has always been a supporter of farmers markets
- In 1992 and 1993, before there were any true farmers markets in Australia, Tim Marshall made two trips to the USA, spending about seven and a half weeks studying farmers’ markets and community supported agriculture. On the way home from one trip to America, Tim spent another two weeks in the UK. where he also visited a few farmers markets. On his return Acres published many stories reporting on the farmers’ markets concept and continued to report on some of the first successful farmers’ markets in Australia. In our own humble way, we hope that we have provided some support and encouragement for the development of farmers markets in Australia.