Please Pass the Recipe

from one generation to the next

Going Slow…..

Abbotsford Covent Farmers Market

Abbotsford Covent Slow Food Farmers Market

The Abbotsford Convent with it’s bleak history and Gothic architecture is a world away from the festive atmosphere of today’s Melbourne Slow Food Farmer’s Market. The buildings and vast grounds abutting the Yarra River are now a foodie hub and each month, on the fourth Saturday, Victoria’s prime small producers, artisan makers and organic growers offer up their wares.

Shopping at this Farmers Market, I feel like a kid at Christmas. The sense of anticipation, the delight of unexpected finds and the never ending banquet of delicious foods create a frisson of excitement.

The Slow Food Farmers Market is a gem of a food market enhanced by it’s unique location. A small market by local standards, the variety of freshly harvested fruit and vegetables is enormous and the quality first rate. It’s a plastic bag free zone so the shopping jeep reigns supreme. Shoppers arrive bleary eyed and tousled from sleep because this is a market where it matters to be early. Kids and dogs almost outnumber shoppers.

Slow Food at the Abbotsford Convent

Melbourne Slow Food Farmers Market

Both the market and stalholders are fully accredited by the Victorian Farmers Market Association, reassurance that everything for sale have been grown, raised or made by the sellers.

Farmers take glowing pride their endeavours. They’ll chat about the rainfall, what you’re buying and how they cook their own products. It’s easy to feel that you’re taking a little of each of them home with you when your purchase comes with cooking tips, heartfelt thanks and a cheery smile.

From Ceres Community Enviromental Park in Brunswick, the new age hippies bring produce grown in their extensive organic plot on a rehabilitated landfill site. Their super green vegetables like cavolo nero and rainbow chard come chemical free and with only 3km worth of food miles.

There’s eight varieties of potatoes from Warragul, freshly picked apples from Red Hill, feathery topped carrots from Kinglake, walnuts in the shell from Bright in the Victorian High Country. You’ll be drawn in awe to marvel at to the freshest and most lurid pink and green pistachios you’ve ever seen. That’s what fresh looks like!

Farmers market

Market finds

This is a market where shoppers embrace the gnarly organic veg and the odd sized fruit with blemished skins. It’s an appreciative crowd who knows that beauty is only skin deep.

Di my favourite Rhubarb Lady is a year round regular. Her low acid rhubarb has quite a reputation. It’s all she grows but to satisfy rhubarby cravings on the spot, you can indulge in her delicious rhubarb fruit cake and tarts. Di’s jam, relishes and chutneys encourage imaginative use of her crop. Nearby, Bill the Mount Zero Olive guy fills BYO containers with viscous grassy green oil, their firm plump olives are sold in jars. They also sell salt which they harvest in conjunction with the traditional land owners of the western district, saline aquifier filled pink lake.

Depending on the season, you might find enormous avocadoes from Barham, rainbow hued sweet plump heirloom tomatoes, delicate fenugreek greens, baby corn cobs, Kurrumburra asparagus, foraged pine mushrooms and vegie seedlings or bare rooted fruit trees so you can grow your own. There’s always a surprise or a new discovery that delights me.

There’s no argument that breakfast will be eaten from a paper bag. The hard part is deciding on which of the wafting aromas will tempts you most, a croissant warm from the oven, egg and bacon off the BBQ or cheese and herb gozleme crisp from the grill. Coffee, strong coffee is mandatory.

Set slightly apart is the inner courtyard, space is for the butchers and fishos, eggs sellers and cheesmakers, bakers and patissiere. There’s always a long line to buy old fashioned, flavour rich poultry from Milawa while another thick knot of gourmands wait to buy prime cuts of tender and tasty dry aged beef from Warialda. My dog waits too, he turns up his nose at other bones. At Shultz’ award winning dairy, the queue moves quickly because most of their biodynamic dairy products are frequently sold out to pre orders. The cheese from Holy Goat is more than compensation. Everyone is upbeat despite the wait, conversation with strangers is easy when you’re united by a common purpose.

Orange sellers at the Slow Food Market

In love with orange

Traditional British pork pies, award winning bangers and gammon steaks are sold by the pommy Pacdon boys, nitrate free ham and bacon at Bundarra Berkshires and the Gypsy Pig people sell traditional cuts of pork from their rare breeds. There’s also Farmer Joe’s goat meat for curries, biodynamic lamb and farmed trout from the Yarra Valley.

With a over burdened shopping trolley and an almost empty wallet there’s just one last stop, the flower stall by the gate. A few remaining coins are exchanged for a huge posy of Australian natives to brighten the kitchen bench. The heady perfume of brown boronia fills the air.

As the fresh produce goes into the fridge at home I feel a little smug, afterall, my money was spent wisely in support of ethical producers. The look, smell, flavour and quality of my market hoard satisfies my inner greenie, tempts the passionate foodie and indulges the avid cook that I am.

Beautiful fresh ingredients from the Slow Food Market turn every meal into a luscious feast.

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

24 comments on “Going Slow…..

  1. italyonmymind
    August 28, 2015

    one of my very favourite markets – I go every time – maybe I will see you there one day!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      August 28, 2015

      Moving to Brissy next week so this was a fond farewell to my favourite market. I will miss it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beck @ Goldenpudding
    August 26, 2015

    They sound lovely Sandra, what an evocative description, and glad to hear you’re coming to Canberra and will get to have a look at our farmers’ market – I always find it almost big, but it does have a wonderful range…

    Like

  3. Gretchen
    August 26, 2015

    Oh how I wished we had a market such as this. It looks absolutely fantastic. Our’s may be small and lack huge variety but I guess it is better than nothing.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      August 26, 2015

      Yes something is better than nothing. Sadly I’m leaving this behind, but the search will be on for a replacement

      Like

  4. Gather and Graze
    August 25, 2015

    What a wonderful market… so lovely to have visited it virtually through your eyes, Sandra! I’m very much looking forward to wandering the Capital Region Farmer’s Market with you in October – so excited that you’re coming! 🙂

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      August 25, 2015

      Aw, that’s really nice Margot! Crazy amount to happen in the next six weeks, the weekend in Canberra is like the carrot on the end of a stick. I love Farmers Markets, it will be tricky for me, just looking, not buying. We can do some full on ooohing and aaaahing together though, something to look forward to…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. cheergerm
    August 25, 2015

    Great post Mrs R. A Slow Food market, yes please, I felt transported and now feel incredibly hungry. Just marvellous.

    Like

  6. Debi @ My Kitchen Witch
    August 25, 2015

    What a huge coincidence…I was JUST in the original Abbotsford (Sir Walter Scott’s grand fantasy home on the river Tweed) last weekend. Would have been even more wonderful if there had been a Slow Food market like this one! Sounds like it was extremely colourful, in more ways than the usual. Lots of good things to cook up in the kitchen.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      August 25, 2015

      I’ll miss this market Deb, it’s outstanding. I’ll have to seek out a replacement…

      Like

  7. Leah
    August 25, 2015

    This is definitely something you’ll miss up here…I haven’t found a farmers market quite like the Melbourne or Adelaide ones unfortunately. Xx

    Like

  8. Francesca
    August 25, 2015

    You know I’ve never been to that market, even though I’m close by on a Saturday ( Brunswick). Sounds like a visit is in order soon- you make it sound so inviting. ) though shame about the dogs- banned in many other markets where large groups gather).

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      August 25, 2015

      You’ll love the slow market Francesca, the quality is outstanding. The Collingwood Children’s Farm does excellent breakfasts too

      Like

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This entry was posted on August 25, 2015 by in Food and tagged , , , , , , .
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