Sunday, 26 May 2013

Coburg Farmers Market

There's a new farmers market in town.  The fortnightly Coburg Farmers Market commended last month.  Yesterday we made our fist visit and loved it.  It was great to be able to walk to the market and see a few familiar faces.  That night I spoke to my parents on Skype and boasted that for dinner we had sorrel soup with walnut, leek and blue cheese scones followed by lime salted chocolate.  It is exactly the sort of interesting meal that should follow a visit to the farmers market.

The first stall we looked at gave me great expectations.  It sold MM Designer Pasta, zucchini flowers and funny shaped squashes.  This is exactly what I want from a farmers market.  I bought a packet of chocolate chilli pasta.  Mind you, I got an odd look when I said I might use it in a savoury dish.  Doesn't everyone cook savoury chocolate dishes these days?

We wondered onwards.  Sylvia laughed at the gnome holding up the mushrooms.  Unfortunately I got too excited about the walnut stall and forgot to buy mushrooms.  We tasted the candied walnuts and the dukkah.  Then we bought a kilo of large walnuts in their shells.  Oh joy!  We have already eaten may walnuts this weekend but more of that in another post.  I would have bought some cake too but was already feeling overwhelmed.

We stopped at the Bee Loveable honey stall because we seem to go through a lot of honey lately.  As soon as I heard the woman say to E that the Black Forest Honey had a treacly flavour, I knew he was a gonna.  As soon as I saw that there were icy pole sticks to dip in the tasting jar of honey, I was concerned about Sylvia walking away covered from head to toe in honey.  Well we took a jar of the Black Forest and Sylvia managed to restrain herself in tasting the honey.

Farmers markets are great for finding food that is a little out of the ordinary.  (No wonder they are so loved by bloggers.)  These baby cabbages (beside chopped cherry tomatoes) were so cute.  I resisted buying them, the purple cauliflower, the ugly gourds and the cute little pumpkins.  We did purchase quite a lot of fruit and vegetables.

One of our impulse buys was a small bottle of Wild Lime and Garlic Olive Oil.  The Hildebrand Grove Olive Oil lady was lovely.  She smiled at Sylvia who was very partial to her pieces of bread and crackers for dipping in oil and pickles (not together).  We tasted quite a few of her olive oils.  E quite liked the chilli and blood orange.  He was also rather fond of the wild lime and blood orange.  It was hard to choose just one. 

Other purchases were more every day, albeit fancier than usual.  We are eating a lot of apples right now.   So it was no surprise that we walked away with 2 kg of Fuji and Pink Lady apples.  I was surprised when I asked about Granny Smiths to be told that a lot of people cook with Pink Ladies because they don't need to add sugar.  I love biting into a crunchy, slightly tart Granny!  We also bought a wonderful loaf of rye bread from Flinders Sourdough.

The market boasts a number of other speciality stalls.  Including nuts, dried fruit and chocolate.  We purchased amazingly soft dried apricots and salted lime chocolate.  The chocolate lady from Cocoa Rhapsody was very friendly in giving chocolate to taste.  The ginger spiced chocolate was tempting but we all liked the salted lime chocolate.  (Even Sylvia despite the lady's confidence that she wouldn't like it.)  We have plans to try other flavours such as the caramel roasted almonds chocolate.  The bar we bought tastes amazing and is made in Melbourne from organic fair trade ingredients.

It always seems time to stop shopping at a farmers market when you can barely carry all your goods and your purse is feeling empty.  Once we reached that stage, E was keen to find the hot food.  I didn't see much vegetarian food to eat there.  One stall had vegetarian dumplings, another sold boiled bagels and there was a pasty stall but I never found out if they had vegetarian food.  E was disappointed that there were no vegie sausages at the BBQ stall.

Maybe next time I will return to the walnut stall for cake or the bread stall for a bun.  As it was, we weighed up the sweet options before us.  It was too cold for the orange juice icy poles so we decided to share a plate of pancakes.  We queued while E wandered off in search of a coffee.  I gather it was mothers from the school who were cooking the tiny pancakes (similar to poffertjes) and dousing them in either jam ("made with plums from Carla's tree") or lemon juice and sugar ("made with lemons from local trees").  


One patron flung his plate of pancakes back onto the table and they went flying.  I think he thought they weren't cooked properly though I could be wrong as ours were lovely and fluffy.  I wouldn't be surprised to find that he had just discovered that they were having a bad day with mathematics.  (Pancakes for $3.50 and lemonade for $1.50 makes $5 not $6.)

Fortunately we paid the correct price and loved our pancakes with lemon and sugar.  I was not so keen on the lemonade which was a tad sweet for me but Sylvia loved it.  The Autmnal sun shone on us and Sylvia enjoyed playing on the climbing frames.  A playground is one of the benefits of the farmers market being held in school grounds. 

In addition to the food that I have mentioned, we also bought mandarins, Goldfields Barbara's blue cheese, coloured carrots, parsnips, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, beetroot, leeks, kale and sorrel.  I had enjoyed experimenting with some exciting ingredients over the rest of the weekend.  It is great to see that the market had a good crowd.  We hope it will be a great success and look forward to returning.

You can also find another perspective on yesterday's market from Catherine.

Coburg Farmers Market
Coburg North Primary School

180 O'Hea Street
Coburg VIC 3058
(03) 9354 1660

Second and Fourth Saturday of the month
http://www.mfm.com.au/content/coburg 

7 comments:

  1. Yay! I'm so glad you had fun there!

    I resisted the baby cabbages too, and oh, did you try the blood orange and lime infused olive oil? I'm going back for that the moment my pantry challenge ends!

    And yes, I loved the poffertjes, too.

    This was actually the smallest market we've been to there, and it was still pretty busy, which is a good sign. The stallholders seem pretty happy, and apparently they are planning to open one at Pentridge next, which suggests that Coburg is looking good to last...

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    1. Thanks Catherine - I thought it was quite busy but I guess there would be a bit of a drop off after the first market or two after some of the curious stop going.

      E really wanted the blood orange and lime infused oil and we thought we might be back to try that one some time. I think you will be unstoppable once your pantry challenge ends :-)

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  2. I bought that chocolate at the last St Kilda farmers market, I love that guy :D

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    1. Thanks pfctdayelise - the chocolates are amazing - hope to buy more on future visits

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  3. This sounds like a wonderful market - so many things that I would like and so many interesting varieties of flavours and products. I think you made a great discovery and I hope you keep going so I can share in your finds!

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  4. Hi Johanna,

    Just wondering if people had brought dogs to the Coburg Farmers Market? I'm thinking of visiting tomorrow and wondering whether the pooch will be welcome!

    Thanks!

    Lidia

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    1. yes we saw dogs there - on a leash of course so I imagine it is fine to bring your furry friend

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