The best fresh food markets in Canberra

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People at the Canberra Region Farmers' Market at EPIC.

The Capital Region Farmers’ Market at EPIC, one of Canberra’s most recommended fresh food markets. Photo: CRFM.

In a community that values supporting local businesses that supply high-quality produce, it makes sense to buy at fresh food markets. These vibrant markets, loaded with as much personality as fruit, vegetables and other food goods, are great places to shop. They offer a wide range of produce, including seasonal, organic and ethically produced.

Heading to a fresh food market can be as fun as productive, with a huge selection all in one location.

In this article, we’ll outline the qualities to consider when choosing a fresh food market, and share where to find the best in Canberra.

What makes a great fresh food market?

Choosing the right fresh food market will streamline your shopping and ensure you’re buying top-quality produce that will last.

It can be helpful to keep the following in mind when choosing a fresh food market.

  • Variety. A good fresh food market offers a wide range and large selection of products. This includes fruit and vegetables but also meats, seafood, baked goods, spices, herbs and even wine.
  • Buy direct. The best part about shopping at a fresh food market is that you can buy direct from suppliers and farmers who know where produce is from, how it was grown and how it was made.
  • Community support. Markets primarily comprise community-based enterprises, which means you’re supporting local businesses and operators. Shopping at fresh food markets is a great way to give back to your community.
  • Kind to environment. Vendors at fresh food markets care about the environment. They deliver goods with as few food miles as possible. They also tend to operate with sustainable practices, which is great for the environment.
  • Accessible. To make sure supply meets demand, many markets don’t open seven days a week or with extended hours like supermarkets. Check opening times online and remember that “the early bird gets the worm”. For the best selection head to your fresh food market early.

The best fresh food markets in Canberra

Riotact’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on Riotact and maintain a minimum average of 4/5 stars on both Google and Facebook reviews.

Old Bus Depot Markets

The award-winning Old Bus Depot Markets is famous for its fresh produce, gourmet items, artisan items and smallgoods. Stallholders sell fruit, vegetables, cheeses, honey and more. Also, seafood, pasta and smallgoods. Sweets feature hand-made chocolates and fudge. The markets also celebrate multicultural cuisine. Browse other stalls selling clothing, jewellery, art, and handcrafted wares. Open Sundays, 9.30 to 2.30. Free parking, entry and entertainment.

On Google, Amy Stein wrote, “This is a very fun Market. Great food, produce, interesting retro items and local crafts.”

Capital Region Farmers Markets

The Capital Region Farmers Markets was established in 2004. The markets host around 100 stalls each week selling fresh farm and food produce straight from the producer to the consumer. The markets are also an opportunity to chat to growers. Funds generated go back into regional communities and projects chosen by the Rotary Club of Hall. Open Saturdays, 7 am to 11:30 am.

On Google, Keith Tuomi wrote, “It’s great to buy fruit and vegetables from people who care about the quality of their produce.”

Southside Farmers Markets

Southside Farmers Market is a village market providing fresh food direct from growers. Produce includes farm fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, bread, eggs, honey and much more. A wide range of organic produce is available. Open Sundays, 8 am to 11:30 am.

Richard Bersinic wrote on Google, “This is one of my favorite markets in Canberra because it has a great atmosphere, excellent coffee and always a great busker playingmusic and plenty of variety in stalls.”

Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets

The Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets have been providing Canberra with a wide range of products and goods for over 50 years. Stalls offer fruit, veg, seafood, and meat. Specialty stores include an Asian grocer, health food shop, wine and liquor store, pet shop. Fyshwick Markets are also home to the new Niche markets offering homewares, books and houseplants.

Google reviewer Jason Rasheed wrote the following in their review, "Simply fresh food, plenty of choice & an authentic market bazaars atmosphere. So many reasons - we love the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets."

Belconnen Fresh Food Markets

Belconnen Fresh Food Markets has been offering nutritious locally grown food in Canberra since 1976. Independent specialty operators selling  a smorgasbord of fresh baked products, delicatessen items, fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, seafood, wine, beer and liquor. Cafes and eateries are open for coffee and food. The markets also offer free entertainment each Saturday. Open Wednesday to Sunday, 8am to 6pm.

On Google, Trevor Lond wrote, “Excellent produce across a wide range of fresh food and healthy food.”

If you’re looking for more information on markets and food outlets in Canberra, you might like our articles on the best butchers, the best bakeries, and the best cake shops that Canberra has to offer. If you’d prefer to have your groceries delivered, you might like our article on the best organic produce delivery services in Canberra.

Your experience with fresh food markets in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you had experience with any of the fresh food markets listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are fresh food markets cheaper than supermarkets?

This depends on what you’re buying and when. Sometimes supermarkets offer cheap loss leaders, which fresh food markets generally don’t. The quality and freshness of produce at fresh food markets can be better, so even if you pay a bit more, you’re buying food that lasts longer. Having said that, fresh food market operators can be less expensive than big supermarkets, especially with seasonal produce.

Are fresh food markets better than supermarkets?

Many people believe fresh food markets are better than mass supermarkets. This is because the produce can be fresher and even more sustainably produced. Fresh food markets also give you a chance to meet growers and producers, and support local businesses.

Do all fresh food markets sell organic produce?

Yes they do. You'll find a healthy range of organic foods at markets, including certified organic.

What are the advantages of buying local food?

Local food is fresher. It also tastes better and is packed with more nutrition. It also lasts longer, which saves you money. Other advantages of buying local include supporting local farmers and producers, including small businesses. Local food also produces less waste and supports your seasonal needs.

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Capital Region Farmers Market at EPIC is a real Farmers Market, where you can actually talk to the producers of the food you’re eating. Very different from the retail markets at Belconnen and Fyshwick. Also, the market management ( which is a community project of Rotary) follows up to check the origin of the food, rather than just taking anyone’s word for it. So it’s quality and reality over pure profit.

Epic market very large, Southside market small. How can you compare that? However Southside do bring good fresh foods to the south side of Canberra. I am amazed how many people buy very expensive eggs and they sell out every Sunday.

Two completely different markets as others have pointed out.
Why not compare Epic with Southside Farmer’s Markets (both more farmer’s market style) and Fyshwick with Belconnen Markets (both purpose built and operating similar hours)?
A far more sensible comparison I would think…

The farmers market at EPIC is far better than Fyshwick markets. Even just walking around the farmers market makes you feel good,
It can be difficult to park at Fyshwick markets and fruit and veggies not always good quality.
Thursday to Sunday also a problem if wanting seafood.

The only problem with Fyshwick Markets is that they are only open Thurs – Sun meaning you have to stock up for the whole week. #FirstWorldProblems

Oh no, you can’t compare the EPIC market with the Fyshwick market as they different types. At EPIC is was a farmers market first where growers were trading. then traders wanted in. So now they have two buildings, one are growers/makers and the other are just traders.

Fyshwick Markets are just markets where most of the stuff comes from the Sydney wholesale market. However you can get some good stuff there too.

I really prefer the markets when you talk to the growers. they are so much more interesting.

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