Canberra’s markets build a community

Canberra is  surrounded by productive farming land. For many years these farmers and producers were beholden to big supermarket chains to buy their produce.

IMG_6216 (1024x890)However, in recent years a few really good markets have started up in Canberra, giving farmers and producers a chance to sell directly to the public.

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We go to the Southside markets most Sundays. We don’t go to get a bargain, (although we often do get one).. we go because we like to know where our food is coming from, and to support local growers and producers.

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The stallholders themselves not only meet customers, but develop links and friendships with each other.

Two farmers who come from  the Tilba area (near the South Coast) have stalls next to each other. One grows strawberries and the other is a dairy farmer, he sells cream, milk and yoghurt, and cheese ….

…now the strawberry grower sell strawberry ice-cream ….

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We went to the markets before breakfast today…but I’m definitely going back to try the strawberry ice-cream…and all that fresh dairy produce….the farmers tell me it does not  affect cholesterol at all!!

We buy regularly from Russell who owns Windellama Organics. He is a methodical and painstaking grower and producer and today he has the first of his spring produce, radishes, kale, rhubarb, free-range eggs and lots of wonderful jams…and pickles.

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Canberra is a great market for South Coast fishermen, it is easy enough to get to Canberra for the weekend, and wonderful for Canberrans to have such a choice of fresh fish.

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This Narooma sign says ” We only sell sustainably caught fish from two family boats. We do not sell imported or farmed fish. We are happy to answer your questions…..

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The girl who is filleting our Flathead remembers her grandfather’s fishing days and is also telling us some stories about surfing near the headlands at Narooma….sounds very brave, having seen the waves last week.

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Another favourite stall we visit is Burnbar Fruit. These farmers come all the way from Alstonville. Their farm, in northern New South Wales, is far enough away to produce avocados long after we can get fresh ones here in Canberra. They drive to Canberra every fortnight for quite a few months of the year….just over 1 000 Km…

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We love their avocados, their bananas and their sense of humour. They are unfailingly cheerful even in winter months….and what an adjustment from their mild climate to ours….

Once spring arrives everyone stays to have coffee, pancakes, bagettes, and whatever is on offer.. my favourite musician is playing classical guitar…I don’t think you can’t put a price on the happiness music brings to a place..

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On our way out we notice another star of the markets, Clover the piglet. She is owned by Wisher Woods Sanctuary who fund-raise for abandoned animals…I suspect Clover is quite safe in that department, but she is a wonderful drawcard. However this morning she is a little over the paparazzi and after this photo was taken she retired under her sack.

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There are so many more markets to talk about…we’ll be back..





14 Replies to “Canberra’s markets build a community”

    1. Spring is a great time for lovely fresh food, when I go to the markets I wonder why we bother trying to grow our own!! Thanks for the comment!

    1. Your markets are stunning, and wonderful photos too …….I hope you noticed there were Lime Pickles at our Southlands Markets, but no Lime Pie! I love markets, it is such a great way to find out about a community, and now I can be a world-wide market fan…. Thanks for commenting, I always enjoy your posts.

  1. Great post about an area that doesn’t get enough publicity – there are so many hard working farmers that deserve our business, and the farmers markets deserve endless publicity for the service they are providing those who live in the city. And look at Clover! She’s gorgeous. Not to mention all that gorgeous produce – I completely agree that its a priority to know where your food comes from and who is growing it. We love our famers markets too.

    1. Thanks Bec, yes markets are great, who would ever shop in a supermarket as a preference? I’d love to travel around the world blogging about markets…wouldn’t that be good! Thanks for the comments, I totally agree about farmers needing our support. Not surprised you liked Clover!

  2. Lovely photos of your market and fresh produce, Gerrie. I was interested to know that the ice cream there doesn’t affect the cholesterol levels. Is it special non-fat? Love the photo of sweet little Clover. 🙂

    1. Thanks Sylvia, I’ve been enjoying your photos too. The two farmers who told me about the ice-cream not affecting cholesterol did also say, “if you do plenty of exercise”…, sadly, I don’t think they had any special non-fat ice-cream…but I’ll have some anyway, and do an extra walk around the lake to make up for it!

    1. Yes markets are great aren’t they? The stall holders who sells the avocados come from much warmer places, and amazingly, they come to Canberra quite frequently in the winter….above and beyond the call of duty!

  3. What a wonderful market to have access to. 🙂 Our Farmers’ Markets have just started and will go through the holidays. They have become huge draws for our local farmers and that is wonderful. Bottom line that we sometimes forget is that without farmers there would be no food. I always tip my hat to farmers and their hard work. 🙂

    1. Yes, Judy, I completely agree with you, where would we be without farmers? I love hearing about markets in other parts of the world.

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