Five of the best farmers’ markets in regional Victoria
Hit the road and check out Victoria’s bountiful country produce markets instead.
Dust off the puffer jacket and pull on your favourite beanie. Country Victoria is home to some of Australia’s best farmers’ markets, and the locally grown produce tastes even better on a crisp winter’s day.
Farmers’ markets are much more than food shopping. They remind us to slow down and inhale the crisp country air, taking time to learn about regions from the people who know them best. And, of course, at the end of the day you get to drive home with a bootload of fresh seasonal food direct from the growers and makers.
Winter greens, heirloom potatoes and carrots, plump cauliflowers and tangy citrus fruits are ripe for the picking in winter, along with handmade preserves, baked goods, eggs, wine, beer, bread and all kinds and cuts of meat.
You'll be Jonesing for a potato at Warragul Farmers' Market.
Five of Victoria's best farmers' markets
Bendigo Community Farmers' Market
Every second Saturday (9am to 1pm at Sidney Myer Place) and fourth Thursday (3pm to 6pm in the Hargreaves Mall) of the month. bcfm.org.au
Less than two hours’ drive from Melbourne’s CBD, Bendigo is a beautiful gold-mining town enjoying a second boom, but this time it’s in food. Join the locals embracing nearby growers and makers who deliver super-fresh produce to the centre of town twice a month. Avocados, limes and lemons are in abundance right now (including winter's batch of thin-skinned and extra-tasty bacon avocado, named after the farmer, not the meat). Look for the Kingfisher Citrus stand for the juiciest oranges, and make sure to find the Vintage Kitchen Preserves stand and try the turmeric ginger spread. There’s nothing like it anywhere else.
Mansfield Farmers' Market
Fourth Saturday of every month from 8.30am to 1pm in Mansfield’s High Street median strip, between the Post Office and the Delatite Hotel.
Mansfield Farmers’ Market is a celebration of the High Country. Everything is grown or made in the mountains and valleys of Victoria’s north-east. Find cheese, wine, bread and all the produce in between, including a wonderful stall called Jedda’s Garden, selling whatever Jedda Maxton harvests from her garden at nearby Whitfield. Tamarillos, macadamias and persimmons have featured at recent markets, with limes, carrots and radishes now making an appearance. Arrive early to snap up Jedda’s hand-picked posies of flowers.
Warragul Farmers' Market
Every third Saturday of the month from 8.30am to 1pm at Civic Park, Warragul.
Just over 100 kilometres from Melbourne, Warragul is an easy weekend drive for city dwellers, and the local farmers’ market promises excellent organic vegetables, artisan bread, fresh fruit and more. Live music and great coffee are a big drawcard, along with some seriously good food. Highlights include fresh fish caught by Lakes Entrance fishermen, and wood-fired sourdough from the Cannibal Creek Bakehouse in Garfield. Make sure you also grab some heirloom potatoes from the Jones family, selling varieties like blue moon, Dutch cream, King Edward and wilwash.
Kyneton Farmers' Market
Every second Saturday of the month from 8am to 1pm at St Paul’s Park in Piper Street, Kyneton.
Kyneton is the ultimate day-trip destination from Melbourne, just an hour up the Calder Highway and full of delicious temptations. Stock up on local produce, enjoy a snag in bread from the church sausage sizzle and linger for a chat with local farmers before taking a stroll through the galleries, shops and cafes of historic Piper Street. Apples are hitting the markets from nearby Harcourt, along with locally grown olives, nuts, spices and the renowned goat sausages from Seven Hills Tallarook.
Castlemaine Farmers' Market
The first Sunday of every month from 9am to 1pm in the car park next to Victory Park, Forest Street, Castlemaine.
Another gem in Victoria’s Central Highlands, Castlemaine’s monthly market is worth the trip for the bresaola alone. This delicious cured beef is one of many products sold by Warialda’s Allen and Lizette Snaith, who rear and dry-age a small herd of grass-fed belted gallaways in Clonbinane. Their award-winning beef is sold directly to some of Melbourne’s top restaurants, and the only other way to buy is through farmers’ markets. Castlemaine’s market has been bringing fresh produce to the town since 2005, with a strong focus on supporting small-scale producers including cheese and winemakers, bakers and growers of a huge variety of fresh fruit and vegetables.