Marianne (Maz) Cottle is a serious foodie, a passion which runs in the family. She has vivid memories of accompanying her mum to the market every Saturday, but when the Melbourne markets started becoming more popular and more and more like supermarkets, “with slick refurbishments and everything available all of the time”, she turned to farmers’ markets.
With most commercial contracts resulting in farmers receiving just 12-15 cents in every dollar from the produce they grow, a farmers’ market is a good way to ensure that 100% of the money goes back to the people who lovingly and tirelessly grow our food.
“The farmers’ market provides only what is in season and there’s nothing more to it, you make do with what’s there,” explains Maz.
“If you want something that isn’t there then you deal with it and make something else. Then when the items are in season again you enjoy them so much more.”
When shopping at a farmers’ market, eating within the seasons isn’t a choice, it is the only option, which is unlike supermarkets and other Melbourne markets where everything is shipped around Australia and imported from overseas to ensure that it is perpetually available.
When asked what Maz likes most about going to St Kilda Farmers’ Market, it is hard to keep up!
“There are so many things I love about the market. Learning about mushroomshow produce is grown, made and reared; meeting the producers and learning new techniques to cook their produce; catching up with the locals and enjoying the morning atmosphere with other like-minded people, and the busker who entertains the little kids.”
But all things aside, what Maz really loves is the quality of the produce.
“When I first started going, the quality was the first thing that blew me away. You can buy your fruit and veg at the start of the month and in most cases it will still be fine to use three, even four weeks later. You can go and buy the same thing from the supermarket and you’re lucky if it lasts two days.”
Head to your nearest farmers’ market and start discovering the joys of fresh seasonal and local food where more of the dollar goes back to the people who grow our food.
Check out our events page for Melbourne farmers’ markets on each week or alternatively visit www.farmersmarkets.org.au
Adapted from Marianne’s contribution in The Sustainable Table – Interested in buying the book? Click here.