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While visiting a local farm-
ers market for the first time
recently, it occurred to me that I
might have slipped into another
dimension by accident. Stallholders and customers
were deep in conversation, people were stopping
for a chat and a laugh with one another and
supermarket trolleys had made way for cloth bags
Welcome to the wonderful world of the farmers
market. They are, quite literally, just that. They sell
market produce that is often hours -- not weeks --
old, delivered fresh from the farm.
In order to run a stall, vendors generally must
grow, catch, bake or preserve all their own wares.
Prices are normally cheaper, as the middleman
is cut out and the customer is essentially buying
wholesale. Much of the produce is organic, sea-
sonal, local and in as natural a state as possible.
In other words, the way it used to be. If ever
there was a sign that we want to slow down and
eat better, then surely the recent worldwide surge
in popularity of farmers markets is it.
In the US, the number of farmers markets grew
from 1755 in 1994 to 5274 in 2009 as the coun-
try grappled with its need to reduce its junk food
intake. In the UK, their popularity has never really
waned thanks to a strong village culture.
The benefits of buying fresh, local produce are
nothing new to developing countries however, who
have been doing it for eons. Happily, it s now our
turn and, thanks to the accompanying enthusiasm
for embracing all things community, we ve jumped
on the wagon with gusto.
Here is a round up of local markets with the
freshest food around.
The Fremantle Markets have been around for
more than 100 years and draw an eclectic crowd,
from tourists to tie-dye devotees. Already attract-
ing 40,000 visitors per week to its 150 stalls, the
markets are in the middle of an overhaul.
"Over the past year, our markets have been on
a push to alter everything," says market business
Fresh, wholesome, friendly, affordable...farmers markets hark
back to a simpler way of life. And, for good reason, more and
more people in WA are flocking to them.
« text jennifer susanto-lee « images craig kinder
development manager and
Food Hour radio presenter Ann
Meyer. "Our main emphasis
is to get rid of the middle-
man, concentrate on the
local producer and make sure
everything s grown direct. We ve
got Abhis Bakery making fresh
bread on the premises with local
organic flours to make The Yard
as organic bio-dynamic as pos-
sible. We ve also just secured one
of WA s best organic farmers, Shaun Lamb. You
can t get his produce anywhere else, it will just be
at the Fremantle Markets."
Open all day Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Cnr Henderson St and South Terrace, Fremantle.
Mt Claremont Farmers Market
After a humble beginning in 2007 with eight stalls,
this market now boasts more than 50 stallholders
and attracts nearly 3000 customers a week.
It is a community-based project that sells all
manner of things, from organic cheeses, yoghurts
and produce to gourmet chorizo sausages, hand-
made chocolate, fresh coffee and French pastries.
Just make sure you get there early.
"Our lettuce truck is what really sets us apart,"
laughs Natasha Atkinson, the market s manager.
"It pulls in, the side opens and there are crates of
lettuce that people queue for. And I m talking 30
to 40 people in a queue.
"At our recent night market, we had a queue
from one end of the basketball court to the other.
It s super fresh; they pick the lettuce that morning.
I did the 10-day fresh test, and it lasted the full 10
days in the fridge."
Saturdays, 7:30am - 11:30am. Mt Claremont
Primary School, 103 Alfred Road, Mt Claremont.
Perth City Farm Organic
For the past six years, a small green sanctuary has
been blooming in the heart of Perth s concrete
jungle. These markets are a little different from the
others around town in that every vendor is a bona-
fide certified organic grower.
"What we wanted to do was to educate the
public on how necessary it is to support organic and
bio-dynamic farmers," says director Rosanne Scott.
"All the products that people trade in our
market building have to be certified organic
bio-dynamic. People can t just go and buy from
someone else and sell here. The only retailer at our
market is ourselves, City Farm, and everything we
use is certified organic."
As would be expected, there is also a strong
"green" presence among stallholders.
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