Day 7

Welcome to Day 7!

It’s the weekend and what better way to spend the day than a visit to:

– A farmers’ market –

Farmers’ markets are a fantastic way to buy fresh, local, unpackaged produce and meals direct from the growers or cooks. It also really personalises your shopping experience, because you get to interact with the growers who can tell you where and how your food was made and also give you tips on how to prepare, store or cook it. It’s so heartwarming to meet someone really lovely and know that your money is literally supporting the fruits of their labour. There can also be a real festival atmosphere to a farmer’s market with live music, food vans, picnics and coffee, which is something you just can’t get at a supermarket.

That’s nice, but produce is cheaper and closer at Coles/Woolworths.

Price depends on the produce and the grower – you’d be surprised that there can be hardly any difference to the cost, yet a massive difference in the taste and durability of market produce. You’re less likely to throw out food gone bad and more likely to want to eat it because it will be far tastier than supermarket produce.

Why does farmers’ market food taste better if farmers are also supplying food to supermarkets?
Supermarket supplied produce can be stored up to a year before it gets to your table. Fruit and veg do not grow all year round, so instead they’re picked before they ripen and can be artificially enhanced with hormones to get it to a colour that looks as if they’re ripe. If you’ve ever sliced open a supermarket carrot and seen that it is a bright orange on the outside and a pale watery pink inside, you can see this for yourself. Like some information? Take a read through this article: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/what-they-do-to-food-20120608-201su.html

From a waste perspective, supermarket produce has to meet strict measurement regulations. Anything that is bigger, smaller, thicker or thinner than standards, marked in any way or simply not pleasing to the eye has to be thrown away before it even gets into stores. On the last episode of War on Waste, a banana farmer had to mulch 40% of her bananas – several tonnes daily – that had taken her 9 months to grow, just because they didn’t meet standard order issue.

I’m shocked..what can I do about that? And how does going to a farmers’ market change those practices?

You could write to Coles and Woolworths and tell them that as a consumer, you would purchase produce that isn’t shopfront ready to prevent food waste and support the farmers that support us. You could also tell them that until they do, you’ll be shopping elsewhere..elsewhere being:

In and around Hume:
Sunbury Village Market
Craigieburn Highlands Farmers’ Market (on today!)
North Essendon Village Farmers’ Market (on today!)

In and around Moreland:
Preston Market (not a farmers’ market, but deserves a mention because it is local and has a great range of good produce)
Coburg Farmers’ Market
Flemington Farmers’ Market
Carlton Farmers’ Market

Further afield:
http://www.mfm.com.au and https://www.vfma.org.au

Wild card: St Andrews Market. Meet farmers in the forest!

Farmers’ markets can operate weekly, fortnightly or even monthly, so it’s best to check online before you head out. Also, individual stallholders can rotate between markets, so if your heart is set on handmade seasonal rose and rhubarb macarons for your birthday next week, just check with the chef.

Ready to roll? Remember to grab your bags, containers and tubs and if you’ll be eating there, pack yourself some picnicware.

Bon appetit!

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