Wednesday, April 21, 2010


FARMERS MARKETS, gotta love them! How could you possibly go wrong and who wouldn't consider buying your produce at a farmers markets when you consider the advantages. Cheap, fresh, direct from the farmer produce, and it's not just that. I think I started going to a farmers market in Sydney about 10 or so years ago, the one at Orange Grove just up the road from Balmain.

I remember wandering through the stalls for the first time and feeling like I had been transported back in time or to another country wandering between the stalls looking for the best produce available, talking to the farmer just felt so right and so old fashioned. And I have never looked back. I love being able to ask the farmer when something was picked or when these eggs were laid. Have you ever had a truly fresh egg? It's a different experience. The egg white has two parts rather than just the one runny one we are all so used to. And they taste so good.

I also love supporting the farmer, not only is the product cheaper and fresher because it's been driven straight from the farm by the farmer, but you cut out the "middle man" (generally some HUGE corporate company that makes a bucket load and pays the farmer a pittance) and the farmer puts the money straight into his pocket.

We have some great farmers markets up here in the Byron Shire, but now we have an even better one, one right in Mullumbimby that started just last Friday. My husband asked me the morning of the first market when I was excitedly getting ready, "So what would make it a good market for you"? And I replied, "If the butcher is there". My friends would understand this is a strange thing for me to say being a vegetarian for over 21 years, but my husband and son eat meat and if they are going to eat meat I want to know they are getting the best meat! My boys are pretty simple when it comes to meat, if I give them a snag every few days they're happy (and I don't have to do anything with them other than throw them on the barbie). The gourmet sausages that I buy for them from the market are chemical, hormone, antibiotic and gluten free. The cows are pasture fed and slaughtered a day or two before I buy the sausages.

Being a vegetarian and thinking of animals being slaughtered in less than appealing. But this is not mass production of meat, this is a local farmer supplying to his local consumers. He looks after his animals organically and supplies a healthy option for meat eaters. This is what eating looked like before big companies stepped in and took over and started producing food on a huge scale and altering it to produce more faster.

Another advantage of buying your produce at a farmers market is that you can buy organic food at a reasonable price. If you have always wanted to buy organic food but thought it was too expensive, try buying it at your local farmers market. You'll never go back....

But have said that, I also find I spend less at the markets (even buying organic) because you don't have all those extra aisle to look at and you don't buy things you never actually realised you needed before seeing it in a grocery store. And the atmosphere at a farmers market is always so alive and buzzing, it's like those that go there are excited about food again, excited about the quality of food they are buying and it's a social thing too, often you run into people you know.

I'm sure I could write a bunch more, but I hope I've written enough to inspire you to go and try a farmers market close to you. I've added a link to a list of some of the markets around Australia, so have a look and have a go. I'm off to my local in the morning.

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