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Buying Local – Southside Farmers Market

By poptop 4 January 2009 19

Living in the depths of the south, I had made the pilgrimage to the Farmers Market at EPIC a couple of times and decided it was not sensible to do an 80km round trip to buy local produce as a regular thing. Life intervened and I never got around to going to the Southside Farmers Market until this morning.

The Southside Farmers Market is smaller than its Northside counterpart and appeared to have a number of its regular vendors absent this week. Markets are at the Southside Campus of the CIT (the old Woden High School) every Sunday, nominally from 9-12. I arrived about 10 to 9 and found everything in full swing. Even allowing for the diminished number of stalls, there was a nice range of produce and some things were really quite cheap. I bought 6″ pots of herbs (thyme, oregano and marjoram to replace those destroyed by the neighbour’s chooks) for $2 each and a tray of 30 white peaches for $10.

There were lots of good local and/or organic fruit and vegies, olives, cheeses, smallgoods, bakery items, nuts and eggs. I gather there are usually some meat vendors, but not this week.

Other than one place selling coffee, there were no stalls selling hot food or snacks; I imagine this was just because of the reduced turnout. If not, there is definitely a niche waiting to be filled.

Hopefully the south of Canberra can now support a venture of this sort (the Northside one seems to be doing very nicely) and it will continue to grow. A market on Sunday might be a bit of a drag if you want to have a local produce feast for friends over the weekend, but I’ll certainly be back to buy ‘picked this morning’ food, rather than the stuff I am offered at the supermarkets.

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Buying Local – Southside Farmers Market
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deezagood 11:31 am 26 May 09

Great spuds and oranges too.

deezagood 11:30 am 26 May 09

Experienced these markets for the first time on Sunday and will definately be going back each week to pick up my fresh, locally produced fruit and vegies. The carrots I bought (from the really popular stall that seemed to have the biggest lines) had been pulled out of the ground the day before and they tasted unbelievable (even my husband commented ‘mmmm these carrots taste good” and he doesn’t usually notice these things) and the pumpkin was freshly cut and fabulous. I found some genuine free-range eggs (cheaper than the suspect ones found in the supermarket) that were so fresh the yolks still stood up when I cracked them into the pan. Prices were reasonable and the quality of the food was wonderful. My favorite stall was ‘The Happy Apple’, where you can taste test each variety of apple before puuchasing and the apples were snap fresh and flavorsome. I am time poor, but I think it really is worth the effort of shopping here each Sunday morning: Highly recommended, and can’t believe it has taken me so long to go! Great coffee too.

pepmeup 10:48 am 02 May 09

Just a quick note on an old topic.

as we are now going in to winter in is important to know what can be grown locally now.

potatoes are being harvested
cabbage coulis and broc are all growing well
silverbeet spinach beetroot turnips all doing well
apples now new season
oranges in season 4 weeks untill australian navels come into season
local kiwi fruit (south coast in season)
greens and herb in season,
carrots in season.

but i also have to say that locally it would be impossible to grow.
Sweet potato all sweet potato is grown in bundaberg nth QLD
“Chinese Garlic”
Eggplant coming to an end
Capsicum coming to an end
Zucchini coming to an end
tomatoes coming to an end

when it comes to actual growers at the southside market most of the fruit is sold by farmers, when it comes to veg the actual growers are. Farmer felds (big trailer outside). Glean na Meala (outside white van near the hopper), Kitonadai (Japanese inside near the macadamias), stud man (potatoes in 10kg hessian bags), lost valley meats (also has veg that he grows) the rest are all resellers or grom a little bit and buy a lot. You can not trust anyone with Sweet Potato Ginger or Green Beans at this time of year it is all out of Queensland. Also all the cellery that is exactly the same size each week comes from one of four big farms in Victoria.

The market is great but a few individual stall holders are taking advantage of the farmers market banner to make quick money. ask people questions.

Also Chemical free means nothing with out certification. one exception is Gleann meala that have open days twice a year and let people see how every thing is grown. they are the real deal ive been to two of there open days. I also believe they are becoming cert organic because every one is saying chemical free these days.

totalbabe77 10:31 pm 14 Jan 09

Also, definitely get there between 8 and 9.30 to make sure you get what you want..we’ve missed out on fish by getting there too late, as they are usually sold by 10am!

totalbabe77 10:30 pm 14 Jan 09

Hi All,
I love the Southside markets..such a great range and none of the bustle of EPIC!!
We’ve been going pretty much since the start too..I just wanted to let you know that Bub Grub has moved to Sydney now as the lady who owns the business’s hubby had to move to a new job. They do have a website though and you can get it delivered and also some canberra stockists too. We love the fish and cakes from the hall and also the apples and pears from happy apple..we do all our fruit/vege and meat shopping there!!

BerraBoy68 6:21 am 12 Jan 09

Yesterday was my first time at these markets too. I took Mrs Berra and she was so impressed that she’s determined to do our weekly fruit and veg. shopping there in future.

poptop 10:45 pm 11 Jan 09

Got there just after 8 this time, it was still in full swing although the signs say it starts at 9.

I bought a huge tray of black figs.


imarty 8:56 pm 11 Jan 09

Saw the herb/plant bloke in the courtyard today and yes definitely better than the bloke in the car park, cheaper by a $ and far more mature and healthy plants.

Bel 6:18 pm 11 Jan 09

I went to the markets for the first time today. Excellent!

imarty 8:39 am 05 Jan 09

I got the herbs from the bloke in the carpark who was also selling trees etc. We normally go into the courtyard and hall but as I was there just to get herbs and apples I didn’t bother wandering around as we normally do. Lesson for next time eh?

farnarkler 8:01 am 05 Jan 09

I wonder how many Canberra restaurants use locally grown ingredients.

poptop 5:56 am 05 Jan 09

A bit of a mix but mostly just under ripe yesterday, Granny. This morning my kitchen smells gorgeous!

Where did you get the herbs imarty? Mine were only $2 from the vendor in the courtyard near the coffee place.

Granny 12:41 am 05 Jan 09

Well, I’d just love to get my hands on some of those peaches. I love white peaches best of all! Were they ripe?

imarty 8:47 pm 04 Jan 09

Yep, we’ve been going nearly every Sunday since opening and generally get a good range of F&V items fresher and cheaper than normal retail outlets. Apples, the Happy Apple store do a good range and will normally give the young fella a slinky apple to eat on his way.
Cherries and stone fruit were great before Christmas but missing today (didn’t venture into the hall or courtyard).
The meat for what it is seems overpriced compared to what you can get from your local butcher, let me say, there ain’t much difference despite what they’ll tell you.
The chorizo from the olive vendor in the hall is good, especially the hot one with the red & white string, eat it as is, great with a beer or use it in cooking.
All in all a good hour killed on a sunday morning with great benefits.
The only negative from this morning’s visit was the herbs I bought ($3 a pop) in a natty recyclable/plantable container were seemingly bought, not grown, as I took them out of their containers, they still had their roots in the obvious shape of smaller punnets available at bunnings or magnetmart at $3-4 for six. Heh, still cheaper to grow than buying, no dramas.

poptop 8:12 pm 04 Jan 09

Thanks emd; the markets had the feel of not being up to usual strength and I suspect less than usual customers. I’ll certainly become a regular and if there are more stalls, I’ll be able to supermarket less [yay!]. This trip was really just a reconnoiter – as I am still on post-NYE eat the leftovers.

The website says 9-12 every Sunday, perhaps the early start is a lurk for the regulars. 😉

While I could bear up having no additional crowds, I would prefer for these markets to keep going, so I hope everyone else finds them as pleasing as I did.

nyssa76 7:16 pm 04 Jan 09

I might see you there then BB.

I didn’t know that this place existed. Thanks poptop.

BerraBoy68 4:41 pm 04 Jan 09

I know where I’m going next Sunday morning. Cheers Poptop.

trevar 4:36 pm 04 Jan 09

The 9am start time might be from an old sign or something. We used to find it difficult to get to the markets before church, but we recently discovered that most of the stalls are already open at 7:30. We normally show up at 8am now, and there is only one regular stallholders we have to wait for.

emd 4:06 pm 04 Jan 09

Nice photo, those macadamias were grown at a small farm on the NSW mid north coast owned by my Canberra-resident in-laws 🙂

I’m a regular at the Southside Farmers Market. I noticed today only about half to two thirds of the stall holders were there.

The lamb at Lost River Meats is consistently good quality (he’ll have more meat next week I think), and there’s also organic meat from Ando and Mountain Creek Farm. If you want snacks, there’s a regular cake stall with a selection of $2 treats supporting children in Ghana, plus coffee in the kitchen (in the entry to the hall) and at a mobile coffee cart at the far end of the courtyard. Bread from the organic baker is always good, but you can usually get a good deal on fresh bagels too (they were away this week). The spud man is great (back of a track, hessian sacks of really nice potatoes at a good price). The last few weeks before Christmas, I noticed there was a patisserie stall – their broccoli and camembert quiche was very nice. And sometimes also Bub Grub, frozen baby food cooked just like you’d make it yourself (good for when you can’t be bothered cooking). The fish guy is good too.

And now that I’ve told you how good it is, don’t go there! I don’t want it turning into the battle-the-crowds experience I’ve had at EPIC.

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