The Best Fresh Food Markets in Canberra

Shoppers at the Fyshwick Markets.

The Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets are one of Canberra’s most recommended fresh food markets. Photo: Supplied.

In a community such as ours that values locally-owned small business and their vital contribution to our economy, and recognises the importance of consuming high-quality and ethically-sourced produce, shopping for groceries solely at supermarkets doesn’t make a lot of sense. Unlike chain supermarkets, fresh food markets offer a reliable and honest producer-to-customer connection that you simply cannot find in a supermarket. This transparent shopping experience allows you to make well-informed choices when it comes to your groceries, satisfying the desire to support local business and be an ethical consumer at the same time.

Canberra is lucky enough to be home to several fresh food markets all across our city. They boast a wide range of produce and wares at high-quality and affordable prices, and given how many there are all over the Canberra region they are very accessible to our community no matter what side of the lake you’re on. With organic, ethically-sourced products being sold in a personable setting, Canberra’s fresh food markets are a great boon to our community.

In this article, we’ll give you a few points of what to look for when shopping in a fresh food market, as well as a list of some Canberra’s favourites.

What makes a great fresh food market?

Try to keep the following in mind when you’re shopping at a fresh food market:

  • Variety. A good fresh food market should offer a comprehensive range of products. Why stop at fruit and veg? See what they offer in the way of meat products, seafood, baked goods, and even hot food.
  • Transparency. The best part about shopping at a fresh food market is that you get to buy from the supplier directly. Talk to the vendors at your market and find out the story behind your purchase – how was it raised/grown? Where is it from? What other products might the vendor recommend? After all, you are as entitled to the information about your food as you are to the food itself!
  • Community support. Markets are inherently community-based enterprises, supporting local businesses and supplying local communities. Feel free to do a bit of research or ask your vendors about how else they’re supporting the community, whether that’s just by employing sustainable practices in their work or even in direct financial aid to those who need it.
  • Accessibility. To make sure supply meets demand, most markets are only open one day a week for a few hours at a time, so keep an eye out for their opening times. And remember: the phrase “early bird gets the worm” has never rung more truthfully than when talking about fresh food markets!

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.

Capital Region Farmers Markets

The Capital Region Farmers Markets (also referred to as the EPIC Markets or the Northside Farmers Markets) was established in 2004, with no government grants or funding. Managed by the not-for-profit Rotary Club of Hall, the Markets have since been providing Canberra with direct connections between customers and farmers, supporting local producers and providing them with great business opportunities, and redistributing the profits from the market back into the regional community. From fresh fruit and veg to meat and seafood, to baked goods and deli products, to hot food and decorative plants and flowers, Capital Region Farmers Markets truly has it all.

As Andrew Giumelli writes in their Google review, “Great fresh produce, friendly atmosphere and all supports good causes!”

Fyshwich Fresh Food Markets

The Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets have been providing Canberra with a wide range of products and goods for over 50 years. Fyshwick Markets have all you might expect from a fresh food market – fruit, veg, seafood, and meat – but they also boast a few specialty stores such including an Asian grocer, a health food shop, a wine and liquor store, a pet shop, and the new Niche markets offering food, home-wares and houseplants. With a few locations in the markets open for sit-down meals, and enough stores to meet all of your needs, Fyshwick Markets offers high quality and convenience.

Google reviewer and Local Guide 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.”

Southside Farmers Markets

The Southside Markets were established a little over 10 years ago, and since then have used their strong commitment to fostering community ties to build a marketplace visited by thousands of people weekly. With over 60 stalls offering a wide range of products available, including seafood, organic meats, fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, pastries, and hot food stalls and coffee – and all supplied by local producers too – there’s almost nothing these markets won’t have for you.

As Hanna Utzinger writes in their Facebook review, “I so enjoyed my time at these markets, great variety, many organic options, baked goods and hot food. Looking forwards to my next visit.”

Old Bus Depot Markets

The Old Bus Depot Markets has been a beloved staple of the Canberran landscape and lifestyle since 1994. With its gorgeous location by the lake and proximity to the city centre, it’s pretty hard to beat. The Old Bus Depot Markets boasts as many as 240 stalls at a time, all owned and operated by locals of Canberra and the surrounding region. As well as hot food stalls, cheeses, honeys and jams, pastries and other baked goods, the majority of the stalls at the Old Bus Depot Markets are of handcrafted wares, clothing and jewellery, each with their own unique background and all of high quality.

As Ludovic Rapp writes in their Google review, “Great place to buy gifts and fresh produce, it’s a small market to spent a bit of time and grab something to eat. Close to the lake for a walk and at side of the glasswork. Bus stop near the market. Family friendly.”

Who wouldn’t want to grocery shop ethically all the while supporting local? Check out our articles on the best butchers, the best bakeries, and the best cake shops in Canberra for some recommendations of our city’s best. Or, if you’d prefer to have your groceries delivered, our article on the best organic produce delivery services in Canberra might be helpful.

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 butchers listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are fresh food markets cheaper than supermarkets?
Despite the lure of abundance and convenience, supermarkets can actually prove to be more expensive than fresh food markets. Not only are you sure to get more produce for your money when you shop at a fresh food market, but also more value and quality. You might find that your produce lasts longer in your fridge or pantry, and will also yield better, tastier results when it comes time to cook it.
What makes farmers markets more ethical than supermarkets?
The transparent shopping experience you get from a fresh food market is simply not possible at a supermarket. Only at a fresh food market can you talk directly to the supplier. You're also more likely to be buying local, seasonal, sustainably produced food. Knowing this information will help you make well-informed choices, helping to support and strengthen ethical food suppliers in the long term. You'll also notice an almost complete lack of plastic packaging at a fresh food market - buying loose produce rather than sealed groceries will cut down your plastic wastage dramatically, making it a more environmentally friendly and thus ethical choice.
What can I find at a fresh food market?
Markets can either have a very narrow range or a very comprehensive array of produce and products - there's no hard and fast rule about what you'll find! Some markets will only offer fresh fruit and vegetable, while others also carry meat, seafood, baked goods and deli products. Some markets might also have stalls for handmade wares, art, or clothing.

What's Your Opinion?

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6 Responses to The Best Fresh Food Markets in Canberra
Zan Zan 9:31 am 13 Nov 15

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.

Dudley Dudley 4:19 pm 12 Nov 15

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…

london london 9:23 am 11 Nov 15

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.

John Moulis John Moulis 5:05 pm 10 Nov 15

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

Zan Zan 10:56 am 10 Nov 15

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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