I bang on a lot about the importance of a good local farmers market. But I know for a lot of people, finding such a thing can be a challenge. So, last Sunday my sister and I went on what can only be described as a Market-ing Adventure (as distinct from a marketing adventure). We visited five farmers markets around Perth; chatted to stallholders, squeezed and sniffed fruit, located ATMs, bought ridiculous amounts of kale, and taste tested bretzels, all so you don’t have to (aren’t we nice).
The morning started early, and had us at the Midland Farmers Market by 7.30. We were a bit concerned we were too early, as some of the stallholders were still setting up, but the advertised start time is 7am, and most of the serious stallholders were set up by the time we arrived. It was a bit of strange collection of stalls, predominantly food based, but with a few clothing and (quite dubious) second hand stalls in the mix. Stalls of note include; a woman with a whole cabinet of cannoli (as we had not yet had breakfast, I refrained, sorry); The Mushroom Exchange, selling freshly picked Portobello & Swiss Brown mushrooms; a citrus stall, selling lemons, limes, mandarins, Bindoon oranges, and delicious ruby red oranges; three separate new season strawberry sellers, a plant stall, a florist, and three comprehensive general fruit & veg stalls. A note for the uninitiated, do not follow the google maps directions for an ATM, you will wander for at least half an hour, and end up back where you started, none the wiser (not speaking from experience, my sister is sharing her wisdom…). There’s an ATM on Helena St, opposite the library.
Details: Midland Farmers Market, every Sunday from 7am-3pm, Old Great Northern Highway Midland
Next up was Kalamunda Farmers Market, where it was easily a couple of degrees cooler, but we sucked it up and trudged on (with the help of a warming gozleme…). This one was a bit tricky for me to find, but I think that’s because I had confused Central Mall, with Centro. If you keep the location straight (Central Mall), you should be ok. This one started with a bang, wandering up the mall, I spied the Wildthyme Natural Soap stall overflowing with wonderfully fragrant soap. Always with an eye out for palm oil free products, I had a bit of a look, and discovered that a number of them were palm oil free, and the remainder used CSPO. Winner! We had a chat to Judy, the owner of Wildthyme Soaps, and found out she used to live in Indonesia, and knows firsthand the devastation of the palm oil industry. Her baby soap is palm oil free, while the others use a majority coconut or olive oils, with a small amount of segregated CSPO, for stability. A little bit further on from Judy, we came across a Sunnydale dairy stall, selling unhomogenised Guernsey cow milk, cream and yoghurt, all in glass jars, with crates full of empties at the back of the stall – the idea is you return your jars next time, and they’re washed and reused. There were also three comprehensive fruit & vege stalls; a herb & leaf lady (bagged salad mix etc.), La Belle Sweets, selling macarons & biscuits; Kool Kakes, a cupcake stall; someone selling seedlings (including cute little kale seedlings!); Fisho Singleton, a fishmonger in a van; Artisan Spice, a local spice seller; free range WA smallgoods; an unwaxed citrus stall; and the previously mentioned gozleme.
Details: Kalamunda Farmers Market, every Sunday from 8am-noon, Central Mall Kalamunda
After Kalamunda, we came back in towards the city, and stopped off at the Vic Park Farmers Market. By now it was a bit later in the morning, and the Vic Park market was definitely more bustling than the two previous. A noticeable difference at Vic Park, was the number of ‘ready to eat’ stalls; The Tapas Man, The Holy Bagel, Turkish Tucker, Shak Shuka, plus bahn mi, fresh juice, gozleme, german bratworst, the list goes on. On the ‘farmers market’ side of things, we found free range WA smallgoods, The World’s Best Pasta, Breadtime Stories wheat free sourdough bakery, Sunnydale Dairy, two fruit & vege stalls, and two stalls selling dog treats!
Details: Vic Park Farmers Market, every Sunday 8am-noon, John Macmillan Park Kent Street East Vic Park
Next was another inner city market – Leederville Farmers Market. I’d heard lots about this one, and I have to be honest, it was a bit disappointing. It was by far the smallest of the day, although it does have the basics covered with a fruit & vege stall, a butcher (Farmers Paddock), a fishmonger, and a bread stall. Excitingly, there’s also a knife sharpener, so you can drop off your knives, do your shopping, or grab something to eat, and collect your knives on the way home. Leederville was also home to the best buskers of the day – The Midnight Astronomers (?), playing great acoustic covers of pop songs. Also at Leederville was another Shak Shuka stall, a juice van, a pulled pork van and a few spice/spice blend stalls.
Details: Leederville Farmers Market, every Sunday 8am-12.30pm, 663 Newcastle Street, Leederville
By the time we made it to Stirling Farmers Market, they were just beginning to pack up, and to be fair, we were feeling a bit the same. Run by the rotary club of Karrinyup, the Stirling market packs a lot in to a small footprint. Even though they were all beginning to pack up, we spied Tammy’s Bakery; Get Cultured, a fermented foods stall; The Beef Shop; Australian Mushroom Growers, Bookara Goat Dairy (seriously the best haloumi); West Oz Seafood; Centre Forest Lamb; Colamena Honey; plus three fruit & vege stalls, two coffee vans, a crepe van (Wholey Crepe), Bobo’s Bratwurst, dumplings, and dog treats.
Details: Stirling Farmers Market, every Sunday 7.30-11.30am, City of Stirling carpark Cedric St Stirling
Not that it was a competition, but Kalamunda definitely gets my vote for Best Market, but it’s a bit far for me to go every week, so Stirling gets my vote as the market I am most likely to return to. It’s quite a bit closer than Kalamunda, but still has a great range of stalls.
If none of these fit the bill for you, I’ve created an interactive map of all the farmers markets in Perth, so you can see what’s on near you, and when. Just click here, or use the link in the header bar.
Do you have a favourite farmers market? Do you go every week, or less often?