Thursday, 24 April 2008

Carlton Farmers Market

Of late there seems to have been an explosion of farmers markets in Melbourne (figuratively speaking). One of the newer markets is the Carlton Farmers Market. It is held on the third Saturday of the month at the Carlton Gardens Primary School, close to the CBD (Central Business District) and just across the road from the Carlton Gardens where you will find the Melbourne Museum and the Exhibition Buildings. Prime real estate but not many farms in sight.

The school is a red brick Nineteenth Century building of arches, gables and chimneys. (I just boasted to E that my primary school was older than this one and he retorted the he could trace the history of his school back to the Twelfth Century – sometimes it is no fun having a Scottish partner!) The farmers market is on the inner city school playground. It is a smaller space than the Collingwood Children’s Farm Farmers Market and nowhere near the size of the sprawling Vic Market. But the Carlton Farmers Market had a friendly atmosphere and lots of fine food to tempt us.

We did the rounds of the stalls, chatting to stallholders and tasting the food. We spent a bit of time talking about spelt at the Knead Bakery. The stallholder told us it was less elastic than regular flour because it was low in gluten but that it smelt like vegemite when it come out of the oven. Another stallholder told us about how they were setting up a home business on the outskirts of Melbourne. We tasted cheese, pesto, prune and walnut log, spicy shiraz sauce and lots of different biscuits. Other stalls displayed olives, wine, honey, plants and gorgeous little cupcakes.

We took away a swag of goodies: orange and poppy seed biscuits, Chef’s Own basil pesto (which is such a lovely brilliant green), chat potatoes, corn , broccoli, brussels sprouts, free range eggs, Milawa cheddar, hemp soap (by Scent Sational Handmade Soaps) and spelt bread.

I will be back here because it is in such a great location and the goods are quality stuff. Afterwards you can walk in the park or a visit to the museum. (We did neither because E was keen to buy a guitar but I wont bore you with the saga.) The main improvement I would like to see is a vegetarian option at the sausage sizzle. But I think it is a great use of space that might otherwise lie empty on a weekend. Schools are a place for learning and a farmers market supports this by bringing us closer to the source of our food.

I am sending this post to Gay at A Scientist in the Kitchen for her event To Market To Market, which asks bloggers to share information about the local markets where they shop for food.

Carlton Farmers Market
Third Saturday of the Month
Carlton Gardens Primary School
215 Rathdowne Street, Carlton


  1. This sounds lovely (glad the explosion was only figurative!). I so enjoy learning about Melbourne and seeing the photos of the buildings!

    I'd never heard that about spelt (and my spelt products certainly smell pretty much like regular baked goods to me!). Sounds like you got a good haul (though I'm not familiar with chat potatoes-?).

  2. This one is almost within walking distance from home yet I keep forgetting when it's on. You are welcome to email me if you are going again, if you want an informal blogmeet!

  3. Thanks for joining the event. I enjoy looking at the pictures and drooling over some of the products that are not sold in our markets here.


  4. i miss the farmer markets in north america and europe. those produce look amazing...

  5. thanks Ricki - it makes sense that the bread smells of vegemite because vegemite is yeast extract! I don't know my potatoes too well but these have been excellent boiled and mashed

    thanks AOF - will keep that in mind as I hope to go along again!

    thanks Gay - one of the nice things about the small producers is the feeling of buying somethng you don't get elsewhere

    thanks Kel - farmers markets do have such a nice feel about them! Glad you enjoyed a vicarious trip with me

  6. Ha, I was completely unaware of this one! And it's so close to home. Will have to get onto it next month. Thanks, Johanna.

  7. thanks Cindy - will be interested to know what you think of it!

  8. I've been reading about spelt too - did you get to try any? Your meal for E's birthday sounds amazing too (your most recent post won't load for some reason - I think it's a blogger problem). You must have gone to so much effort, and I'm very glad it was a success.

  9. Thanks Lysy - I tried some spelt flour in quinoa muffins and didn't see much difference - we did buy the spelt bread and it was quite soft rather than springy but was v delish and yeasty.

    It is annoying when blogger does funny things - I couldn't get my photos on a few nights ago and thought it was our net connection til I realised it was blogger!

  10. If I am ever in Australia I will have to check this place out and see if they have any t-shirts.


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