Is shopping at farmers markets a new thing for you? If you’re used to racing down the aisles at chain supermarkets, the idea of changing routine can seem a bit daunting. We’ve been doing the farmers market thing for a while now (our first stall was at Subi Farmers Market 3 years ago), and we reckon we’ve gotten pretty good at it, so we’ve put together 8 tips for making the most of your weekly farmers market shop.
Most farmers markets these days plastic free, and while stall holders sometimes have paper bags on hand, it’s generally the done thing to bring your own reusable bags. If you forget yours or you don’t have one, some markets sell reusable bags that you can buy on the spot. Bonus points if you also bring a reusable cup and cutlery for brekky. If you keep your bags and cups in the car, then you’ll always have them on hand when you need them.
TAKE A LIST
There’s such an abundance of produce, make sure you have a list so you don’t get too distracted to remember the necessities. Nothing more annoying than arriving home with a bag full of goodies, only to realise you missed something and have to go to the shops.
DO NOT EAT BEFOREHAND
This would be a big mistake. A major perk of shopping at farmers markets is the abundance of free samples - you can pretty much try everything before you buy! Most markets also have coffee and food stalls that serve up delicious brekky options, and there’s usually a grassed area or makeshift seating so you can sit and eat with friends in between browsing the stalls.
MEET FRIENDS, MAKE FRIENDS
This one’s for those of us who like to time stack. Combining your shop with a brunch catch up is way more fun than battling the aisles of a chain supermarket on your own. Over time, the farmers market producers and locals become your community, and doing your weekly shop starts to feel more like going to visit all your friends.
These days most stallholders do have card facilities, but there are still some old-timers who take cash only. Because most farmers markets are at schools or public ovals and car parks, it’s usually a bit of a walk to find a nearby ATM. Make sure to get cash out before the weekend so it’s in your wallet ready to go for your markets trip.
ALLOW TIME FOR NEW DISCOVERIES
Of course you won’t always have the time to take it slow on farmers market day. But at least on occasion, give yourself plenty of time to wander through the stalls, try samples and chat with stall holders. You’ll discover new produce and new ways of using ingredients, turning your weekly shop into more of an adventure than a chore.
One of the main differences between shopping at farmers markets vs. shopping at supermarkets is you get to meet the maker/farmer, and they’re the best person to tell you everything you want to know about the produce you’re buying. Most stall holders are delighted to answer your questions about ingredients, farming practices and so on. Many of the stallholders are lifelong experts in specific farming practices, baking techniques and so on, and they have a wealth of knowledge to share with interested customers.
BRING YOUR DOGGO
Dogs are part of the family at farmers markets. Just like the evening doggie park stroll, farmers markets are a great opportunity to take your pooch for an outing where they’ll get to socialise with other friendly fur babies.
When you shop at farmers markets you get the freshest produce, farmed locally and made right here in Perth. You’ll start to get a feel for seasonal eating, you’ll discover new ingredients you didn’t even know existed, and you’ll gain a sense of belonging in your local community. There’s so much to love about making farmers markets part of your weekly (or even monthly) routine.
There are heaps and heaps of markets in Perth and surrounds so we won’t list them all here, but we can vouch for the ones that we attend regularly:
Subi Farmers Market
Every Saturday on the Subi Primary School grounds. This market has a great mix of grocers, artisans, brunch options and kids activities. There’s a big area for sitting to eat/drink/chat, lots of dogs, and live music. Street parking is limited but there’s always plenty of parking behind Subi Church of Christ or at Farmer Jacks Crossways over the road.
Mt Claremont Farmers Market
Every Saturday on the Mt Claremont Primary School grounds. This is a small but well curated market, with an especially good selection of spray-free and organic fruit and veg. The atmosphere is very relaxed, and there’s parking on the adjacent oval for a gold coin donation.
Stirling Farmers Market
Every Sunday in the City of Stirling Administration Building carpark. This market is just off the Cedric St freeway exit, so it’s very accessible even if you don’t live in the area. There’s heaps of parking and it’s a pretty even split between growers and artisans, with food trucks and hot brunch options at the end with live music. This market is run by the local Rotary club, and there’s a raffle every weekend to win a hamper of goodies donated by the stallholders.
Vic Park Farmers Market
Every Sunday at John Macmillan Park, right near the Vic Park Community Centre. This market has fruit and veg and artisanal baked goods and pantry items, but less in the meat and dairy category. Instead, you’ll find a lot more craft and knick knack stalls at this market, making it a good place to find unique gifts.
Head to the Find Us page to view our next farmers market trading dates.