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Farmers Market Matters

By 8 July 2014 10

Do you go to one of Canberra’s farmers’ markets? As far as I’m concerned, Saturday morning at the Capital Region Farmers Market in EPIC is the best thing about Canberra. We are very blessed to have such high quality produce available each week, bringing a wide array of locally produced fruit and vegetables, meat and seafood, eggs, dairy, honey, baked goods and more to our doorsteps. You can meet the producer, learn about where your grocery items come from, and support small scale, local business. It’s a winning situation all around. In this series, I will bring you some stories about the seasonal produce, and stallholders at the Capital Region Farmers Market.

There’s all sorts of wonderful produce in season at the moment. You can catch the last of the Jerusalem artichokes; they make amazing crisps, sliced thinly on a mandolin and shallow fried. The avocado season has begun again, so you can pick up a high quality avo to smash for your favourite brunch or a Mexican dinner dish. Broccoli is at its best at the moment; you can buy the sweet young broccoli shoots, whole heads or broccolini.

mick-auddino
Mick Auddino with his giant Imperial Mandarins

But in the winter chills, there’s not much better than some good citrus to bring some zing back into your day. Mick Auddino sells as many different citrus as you can imagine. The Imperial mandarins are very popular at the moment – Mick is selling a whopping 800 kilos a week! He sells the best orange juice I’ve ever tried, but he doesn’t stop there. You can buy his delicious mandarin juice, grapefruit or lemon juice. His blood orange juice runs out the door when it’s in season. Buy lemons for hot toddy if you’ve got the dreaded lurgy, or some fresh limes if you want to join the Taco Tuesday tradition.

Susan is RiotACT’s newest contributor and will be running a series on the farmers market. Susan loves cooking with local, fresh and handcrafted produce. She forages and blogs. She is policy and advocacy professional specialising in gender, conflict and development.

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10 Responses to Farmers Market Matters
#1
curlylocks5:52 pm, 08 Jul 14

I love the EPIC Farmers Market!!!! The potato man called me his best mate the other day! One of his customers went and bought him a hot chocolate this week, I might surprise him and go and grab one as soon as I get there this week and surprise him! Such wonderful people and the BEST produce EVER! My normal apple man and family were not there this wee nor the week before so I grabbed some apples from another shop, My son noticed the difference in taste straight away without even knowing that I went somewhere else for his fruit.

I go and pick up my little brother every Saturday and we have a few hours together laughing chatting and sometimes have a whinge about people standing in the middle of the aisles having a chat or just standing! when others are trying to go around them to get our “fix” of certain produce.

Gotta say the best bit is the freshness of the produce and of course the wonderful suppliers. Have been going since the Markets started. Very small back then but my has it grown.

#2
Zan9:11 pm, 08 Jul 14

Yes, it is wonderful but over the other side from me. Saturdays is for reading all the papers relaxing. I go to the Southside Markets at the CIT in Mawson. Not as many people as EPIC though.

#3
pepmeup8:48 am, 09 Jul 14

The orange man is great, but you must know a large percentage of the vegetables at these markets come straight from the wholesale markets. Look at the boxes under the tables if there all new waxed boxes they come from the wholesale markets. If celery has the tops cut it cones from the whole sale markets. If everything is exactly the same size it probably comes from a wholesale market. If a stall holder sells everything from capsicum eggplant onions celery cabbage every week of the year, they are probably buying it in. That is unless they have a huge farm with plenty of green houses. You can look up the farms on google earth, the “farmers” addresses are on the markets webpage

#4
Zan10:06 am, 09 Jul 14

It used to be at EPIC that one shed was for growers/makers of goods and the other shed for wholesalers. I haven’t been for a long time though. Those who grow their own usually have a sign saying where it grows.

#5
Zan10:16 am, 09 Jul 14

Wait – there’s more just go to their website and see:

Classification key for stallholders:
P = Producer
PA = Producer and approved agent
A = Approved agent

http://www.capitalregionfarmersmarket.com.au/stallholders/stall-categories/

#6
Zan10:31 am, 09 Jul 14

Another interesting read about the markets and whether the sellers are getting their goods from commercial wholesalers:
http://www.capitalregionfarmersmarket.com.au/about-us/market-rules/

#7
davo10110:37 am, 09 Jul 14

Haven’t been to the Farmer’s Market since Choku Bai Jo opened in Lyneham. Open six days a week and no crowds to fight.

#8
Russ1:14 pm, 09 Jul 14

curlylocks said :

My normal apple man and family were not there this wee nor the week before so I grabbed some apples from another shop, My son noticed the difference in taste straight away without even knowing that I went somewhere else for his fruit.

It’s worth keeping in mind that the apple season runs from February to June. During that time, you should be able to purchase “fresh”, current season apples that haven’t been in storage (or picked for storage). Outside that period, all the apples you are buying have been in storage, unless they’ve been imported.

That said, you’d expect that the apples at the Farmers’ Market haven’t been in storage for too long, unlike the supermarkets where the apples can be anywhere from 6 months to 2 years old…

#9
curlylocks7:20 pm, 09 Jul 14

I am well aware of the seasonal produce, and seeing as its only July I know that my normal supplier who IS the farmer is giving me the freshest produce he has. I do not purchase apples all year round there are other FARMERS that sell other seasonal fruit. AND NONE of the people there are allowed to sell produce from the Sydney markets, the rotary club actually goes to the farms of the people that come from and do checks regularly.

#10
Susan Hutchinson1:23 pm, 11 Jul 14

pepmeup said :

The orange man is great, but you must know a large percentage of the vegetables at these markets come straight from the wholesale markets. Look at the boxes under the tables if there all new waxed boxes they come from the wholesale markets. If celery has the tops cut it cones from the whole sale markets. If everything is exactly the same size it probably comes from a wholesale market. If a stall holder sells everything from capsicum eggplant onions celery cabbage every week of the year, they are probably buying it in. That is unless they have a huge farm with plenty of green houses. You can look up the farms on google earth, the “farmers” addresses are on the markets webpage

Hey Pepmeup, it may be true that other markets around town have stalls whose stock comes from wholesale markets. But this definitely isn’t true for the Capital Region Farmers Market. It’s one of the reasons why I love it so much.

The market rules (http://capitalregionfarmersmarket.com.au/about-us/market-rules/) of the Capital Region Farmers Market state that all stallholders must be “producers who are passionate about their produce”. Stallholders are subjected to a site visit before they are accepted into the Market and breaches are treated seriously and can result in exclusion from the Market. Indeed, I was devastated when Country Valley Milk, the first local milk producer at the market, was evicted from the market because they were sourcing their milk from more farms than the rules allowed. Country Valley have subsequently become compliant with the rules and thankfully returned to the market.

I understand, from one of the producers, that celery tops are trimmed to fit the crates they are transported in. I also understand that some of the stallholders supply wholesale markets, and reuse waxed boxes while they are in good condition. Overall the produce on offer at the Capital Region Farmers Market is incredibly seasonal. I love waiting the arrival of the first blueberries of the season, or the first spears of asparagus. On the flipside, I am sad when the onions and garlic are virtually impossible to come by. There are however, several stallholders who grow their produce in greenhouses, allowing them to have extended growing seasons for produce like capsicum and eggplants.

The best thing for any sceptic to do, is visit the Market any Saturday from 7.30 (or earlier) to 11.30 am and speak to the stallholders about their methods of production. A good number of the stallholders have open days too, so you can go and visit their farms and learn even more about their production methods.

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