Last weekend I ended up unexpectedly in Perth, and despite the grey weather and threat of rain, I enjoyed the chance to wander through the Farmer’s Markets on Manning. The grey weather was perfect for people to show off their boots as they wandered around the market – although it wasn’t officially a ‘Boots for Change’ campaign day at the Farmer’s Market on Manning, it was the last Saturday in the April campaign to promote connections with farmers. What struck me at first was how much the market has grown over the past year or so – there were many more stalls and quite a crowd of people enjoying the early Saturday morning market buzz. But the other thing that struck me was the sense of community and the laid back, relaxed atmosphere as people enjoyed their early morning coffee under the pine trees at the Clontarf Aboriginal College. I bumped into old friends, and I saw many others chatting with people under the trees, wandering around with their families and their dogs and generally in a convivial mood.
The diversity of the stalls at the market was exciting – fresh produce ranging from eggs, honey, jams & chutneys, a huge variety of fruits and vegetables and dairy to all kinds of delicious foods to try or take home such as baked goods, raw treats, crepes, smoothies, coffees, bratwurst and more. Each of the stall holders were bursting with passion about their products and engaging excitedly with the customers about the products. I overheard one stallholder sharing tips on his delicious kale with a customer – explaining uses from green smoothie recipes, to a ‘how-to’ for making kale chips and delicious descriptions of massaged kale salads. What also excited me was the range of products – once upon a time, fresh produce in Perth was fairly limited and consumers had pretty standard tastes – but as I wandered around the market I was overwhelmed by the choices that even just a few years ago would have been rare in Perth. From persimmons to asparagus, kefir to raw protein balls, fresh sourdough loaves and all kinds of different specialty foods to try – the market was an abundance of fresh food created with passion.
What also excited me was how much the market appealed to all ages, and had something to offer everyone. My son, even though he is only one-year-old, was very much into the samples of juicy autumn apples and pears – it was the perfect morning treat for him as we wandered around.
I encourage you to try to buy direct from the grower or producer – it helps the economy by putting more cash back in the pockets of local and smaller farms, it enables consumers to enjoy fresher produce that is more seasonal and hasn’t been packaged and stored and transported long distances, and it can bring great pleasure as you enjoy a relaxed atmosphere that brings together the community in the outdoors, with a chance to eat, chat, listen to music and sample a huge range of fare.