Over the long weekend, I had a rare opportunity to spend some time by myself – no children in tow. It’s always a strange feeling to set out without them these days, but for my sanity & theirs, it was a much needed outing, where I could spend some time, well, just … fossicking.
Where better for a fresh foodie like me to fossick than, the Bendigo Community Farmer’s Market, a place I have continually told myself I would get to & continually found
lame excuses legitimate reasons not to get to as soon as the day arrived.
This time, before I could talk myself, or Daddy J, out of it – I handed over the little people, donned my winter warmers – coat, scarf, hat – grabbed a shopping bag & made a dash for the car on a very brisk Bendigo Winter’s morning!
Bendigo in Autumn / Winter is a gorgeous place to walk around. Lovely old architecture, set amongst an array of Autumn colour from the many trees lining the streets. The Community Farmer’s Market is held right in the heart of town, next door to Bendigo’s Tourist Information Centre (former Post Office) & Law Courts, just in front of the very picturesque Rosiland Park. A great spot to be, so long as you get there early, or parking can become an issue – (I did mention lame excuses for not going didn’t I?!).
Being very early & cold, my first stop was for some steaming hot coffee – promptly supplied by ‘hey presto espresso’ … mmmm delicious! The market really was a feast for the eyes, stalls filled with interesting products, from biodynamic wines, walnuts, figs, all things olive, a variety of nashi based products, including wine! There were also local farm fresh eggs, honey, take away food & a range of fresh seasonal fruit & vegetable offerings, including apples, oranges & mandarins from orchards in the area.
One of my first stops was at, The Australian Pumkpin Seed Company. I was instantly taken by their products, as I am huge fan of all things pumpkin & love throw pumpkin seeds in just about everything. The range offered by this little company is fantastic – including Seed Oil, Seed Meal, Dukkah & my personal favourite Coated Seeds – including Chilli & Dark Chocolate! Divine! The owners, Sharan & Jay were very accommodating of my endless questions – their passion for the products very evident. I came away with some raw & choc coated seeds, but know I will be back for the oil & meal next time around!
Next stop was Holy Goat Cheese. I love goat’s cheese – not that I eat it too often, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to do a little taste testing, even if it was only 9am! I took a picture of the stall & the lovely lady who helped me, however, my phone lens kept getting fogged over & it didn’t turn out too well! Above are the cheeses I nibbled on – all decadent & packed with flavour. I bought some of the Fromage Frais – yummmmmy!!
Next stop, Spring Creek Organics. Benches laden with fresh vegetables, all looking alive & healthy – a treat for all the senses! There was a large variety of seasonal vegetables including, leeks, pumpkins, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, kale, silverbeet & gorgeous fragrant herbs like coriander & parsley. This was by far the busiest spot for trade while I was there & I totally understand why – not only was the produce fresh & organic, it was very affordable! I picked up some kale, coriander & parsley, then has to reign myself in as I had neither the room in my bag, or at home in the fridge for all the lovely food I wanted to buy!
Another stop on my journey was to The Good Loaf – purveyors of all things sour dough. This local business has some of the best bread in town, no way I was passing them by!
The other very popular sites I wandered past, included these of the meaty variety, including, Erindale Farms – best known for their Lamb & Beef products – (& the best lamb in town in my humble opinion), Warialda Beef & McIvor Farm Foods – (pork). I did not need to purchase any meat, however, I am very keen to try some of the Warialda Beef on my next visit – it looked amazing!
All-in-all I am so glad I finally made the effort to get the market – I enjoyed lapping up the atmosphere & listening to the local muso’s playing live music while the crowd grew & the mood really started buzzing. Although I was a little shy about telling people I was a ‘blogger’ – still finding my voice there I think – those I did stop & have a chat with were fantastic. My plan for next month will be to leave the pantry & fridge stocks a little lower, take more shopping bags & make sure I bring home a lot more of the wonders on offer from such great local producers!
If you’re a Bendigonian or in the area on the 2nd Saturday of the month – head on down to the Bendigo Community Farmer’s Market, you won’t regret it!
By-the-by, I also took the opportunity to stop in & check out The Square – Bendigo’s Handmade Market, held every 3 months at the old Town Hall. I was blown away by the quality of products on offer – there are some very talented people around, let me tell you! I did not get a chance to take any pics, it was far too busy, but I just feel compelled to steer you in the direction of some of the incredible businesses in attendance.
A gorgeous range of handmade dolls, clothes, children’s toys & other items to suit any family with young children. (I should mention Katie is a good friend also, but I am serious when I say her items are beautiful & made with lots of love!)
Larissa Patton makes beautiful children’s clothing, nursery mobiles, rattles, necklaces & dolls clothes. (Turns out Larissa & I come from the same town from back-in-the-day, but again, her products are absolutely incredible – I am in awe of her talent!)
Natural Soaps, Skincare & Toothpaste Powder. These products looked amazing – the fragrances were so rich & fresh, I just wanted to eat it!!
There were so many more stalls with a huge variety of goods – it was inspiring to walk around & see so much talent & passion on display! I will definitely be returning for the Spring market! If you’re around town on September 14th, you should too!
Cook! Eat! Enjoy!