Farmers markets are wonderful but the window of opportunity is small. I didn't visit them much last year. Weekends were crazy with Sylvia's swimming lessons on Saturday mornings when many of the markets are held. I hope this year might be a better one for us with farmers markets. We have visited them the last two weekends. This weekend we went to the Gasworks Farmers Market in Albert Park.
The weather was perfect but E had the car. So Sylvia and I hopped on a train and a tram and made it to the other side of the river. My sense of direction let me down and the tram driver was helpful but clueless about the markets. Fortunately we could depend on the kindness of strangers. (Thank you young man who showed us the way!)
I was surprised how large the market is (after visiting Williamstown farmers market last week - more on that another time). This market is more the size of Collingwood children's farm farmers market. There were lots of interesting pockets of stalls but I enjoyed this one by the redbrick of the old gasworks where I found a fruit bun for Sylvia. This made her content to sit in the pram while I browsed and made a few small purchases. She didn't even notice that I bought some of her favourite vegetable, broccoli.
But my main aim was to find some apricots because the ones I bought at Williamstown last weekend were so amazing. I am so used to ignoring bland hard or soggy apricots in the supermarket but these ones are just like the ones I got off my nan's tree as a child. They don't last long - either a good appetite or mould will rid you of them within a handful of days. What a joy to find real apricots that are filled with flavour and juice.
There were lots of fruit and vegetable stalls. We were unfortunately too late to buy any raspberries but there was lots of stone fruit and rhubarb. I was also peckish. I was tempted by vegetable curry wraps, chocolate muffins and almond croissants. I sampled jam, dried fruit, and crackers with rosemary and pink sea salt.
Then I found that orange juice icy poles were sold in not one but two stalls. A brilliantly simple way to sell orange juice in summer. I had one and had almost finished it when a dog stuck its face in Sylvia's causing her to howl in fear. It wasn't easy taking her out of the pram with the remains of my icy pole. The place was full of dogs and children. We sat and watched the Little Feet musical entertainment for kids for a while.
Then we moved on to make a few last purchases before leaving. Fresh fenugreek and watercress were a few of the foods you don't normally see in the shops. This friendly service at this stall was also something no supermarket would ever offer. I liked being offered a variety of spring onions - large, medium and small - and the complementary sprig of parsley in my bunch of watercress.
Then Sylvia and I left via this little park of gum trees and mosquitoes. Sylvia played with gum leaves while I swatted the mosquitoes. Unfortunately dolly's nose will never be the same after being dragged along this brick wall but it was a pleasant place to relax a while. The beach is only a short walk away. We wandered by on the way back to the tram but had to leave it for another day.
Here is my haul (which had to be limited given that I had to lug a stroller and the goodies on and off a tram and a train). Pink fir lady potatoes, goats cheese and sundried tomato ravioli, fresh apricots, spring onions, sundried tomato and olive bread, broccoli, watercress, and dried apricots. I hope to return to this farmers market for more warm fuzzy feelings soon.
Gasworks Farmers Market
Gasworks Arts Park
21 Graham Street, Albert Park
Tel: Gasworks Reception - 03 8606 4200
8:30am - 1:00pm, 3rd Saturday of every month