Sunday, 15 November 2009

Sunday markets proliferate

It was market morning this morning, as Rita rose early with the specific intention of getting to both the Farmers Market in Melville St, then the (Art) Market at Masonic Hall, opposite St Davids Park in the city.

At the Farmers Market, I met a few friends, chatted to a few stallholders, and came away with a few interesting thoughts, as provided by those I chatted to.

I was interested to chat to one – a local young mum – who, with the best will in the world, was wanting to do as much of her weekly shop at the Farmers Market as she could, and buy goods directly from the grower or producer, but was also using today as a test run. She had her list of required items, and she knew what the rough cost of these goods would be if she shopped at her usual venues. She discovered a few issues: that she couldn’t get much of what was on her list, and she felt some prices were higher than they could be, for a family such as hers on a single income. She would also have preferred more variety of items, such as cheese. Much as we love Grandvewe Cheeses, they are more of a luxury item than a ‘pop it on the kids sandwiches’ type of cheese. She would have liked to see some larger blocks of cheese where you could request whatever sized chunk you required.

While obviously realizing the market is still getting established, I agree that it probably needs to have a clear direction for the future, after we’ve got it established as a standard Sunday morning activity which is well patronized by all. Is it ultimately going to be a market for locals to be able to get their food products directly from the producers? Or is it going to evolve into more of a market that not only carries the goods locals want to eat, but also carries items that visitors to Tasmania might also want to take home with them? It seems to be both, at the moment, to me. It has the natural soaps, jams, wines and olive oil that a tourist could take home. It has the fruit, veges, smallgoods, bread and plants that locals want.

Chatting to the Viridian Wine lady revealed she has negotiated with the stall next door (the olive oil people) and they have decided to put together a pack for sale after December, combining a bottle of oil and a bottle of wine – a great idea for a Christmas present, and a wonderful synergy.

Great value for money today, I thought, was the Pink Eye chats, at $3 for a 1 kg bag. The same stall as had the chats had also started out with some beautiful strawberries, freshly picked this morning – which sold out in about 10 minutes! I managed to get a bag of fresh dill ($1), as well as pea shoots and chervil - $5 the lot, which I thought excellent value too.

Then it was off to the Art Market in town. Hugo and Elsa blogger, Michelle, was there selling her perfect cupcakes, which we were lucky enough to sample and preview last week at the blogger’s lunch, so naturally I bought four – which were, as previously judged, delicious and beautifully moist. My favourite was the Lemon Cheesecake flavour.

I had a good wander and look at all goods on sale, but this particular market was absolutely packed, despite it being just 10.15 (it had started at 10.00), so it was extremely difficult to get close enough to many stalls to look at, let alone buy, anything, so I came away clutching my cupcakes and nothing else – but am at peace with that. This market was focused on hand made Christmas themed goods, and was a great place for finding that something different. I saw some gorgeous things which, had there not been so many bodies between me and the sole salesperson on each stall, I would definitely have come away with.

A great Sunday morning, and another reminder to myself as to why I have no predominant male in my life – the poor sod would have SO much to put up with, I don’t believe there is a male alive who would tolerate such indulgence in food and all its associations!

Posted on by Rita


Anonymous said...

I would tolerate such indulgence in food and all its associations from the right lady!

If only I could find her.....

Anonymous said...

Where did the above comments disappear to???????????????

2 have gone missing????????

Hazel said...

Hey Rita I must have been stalking you on Sunday! We still struggle to find things to buy at the Farmgate, I guess we've gotten into the routine of Saturday- Hmong & Wursthaus then we're stocked up for the weekend.
I tried the Lemon Cheesecake and it was excellent- especially the frosting. I must admit my other half only just copes with the Arts markets I've been dragging him to. The first craft market he went to he noticed a line of worried men with their backs to the wall in a corner! But he usually gets into it, or is just trying to make sure I don't buy too many things. But shopping for food is a different matter- he loves it as much as I do! They do exist.

Rita said...

I have to say, Hazel, that I did notice quite a few guys, standing patiently on the periphy, and outside, the Masonic Hall. I felt for one in particular who was patiently waiting outside with the pram containing sleeping baby. Great for mum to be able to wander and look at things, unhindered by baby and possibly unwilling partner, and I felt he was supporting her in the best way.

Glad there are a few men out there who are happy to tag along!

Michelle said...

Thank you for coming along Rita (& Hazel!)- and your kind words. Glad you enjoyed the cakes!

Things did slow down by noon at the market thankfully, and the pace was much more manageable. Still we pretty much sold out by 2!


Anonymous said...

Being a fresh food producer and a mum I can understand wanting to shop locally but needing choices, I think we have got used to the convenience of the supermarkets and the like where we can buy what we want when we want.

But I think people also need to know that at a 'farmers market' you're not going to be able to buy your cheap block of cheese and frozen dinners. They are more of a meet the growers/producers, get something fresh that is in season and be prepared to pay for it, they do need to make a living and don't have the buying power of supermarkets.

For us we have had a very wet and cold winter and our produce is only just starting to flourish and some of our summer crop is only just going into the ground for we can finally get the tractor onto the paddock!

My 2nd visit to the farmers market and I got plenty of what I needed but can't wait until summer, all those yummy stone fruits.