Saturday, 14 October 2006

A Worthwhile Experience

Farmers' Market in Zargreb, June 2006.

The terms "farmers' market" and "growers' market" have only received widespread use in Australia in the last decade as a result of globalization. There's a quiet revolution gathering pace amid the broccoli and the brussels sprouts, a kind of sea change among food shoppers. Like me, people are taking a quantum leap from shoving the green stuff into a plastic bag at the supermarket and heading into the early morning Brisbane sunshine for an experience that is much more fun, not to mention informative.

Farmers' markets - the grow it, bake it or breed it brigade - are sprouting faster than mushrooms in a bag of organic potting mix. Chances are there is one held regularly near your suburb.

One place to watch and learn is at the farmers' markets held fortnightly at the Powerhouse in Brisbane. Armed with calico bags, shoppers like me plant themselves in front of the stallholders for a lengthy chat. They want to know where the stuff was grown, what chemicals, if any, were used on it, even what chemicals were used at the farm next door. Another good one is, "How can I turn it into tonight's dinner?" And they expect answers.

For many of those involved in the farmers' markets movement, this is back to the future, a welcome turning back of the clock to a time when shoppers knew the local butcher and baker by name, when shopping was smaller-scale and more fun and when we knew what was going into our food.

In our household food is the centre of any social event. We all like eating and, fortunately, Paul loves cooking. Getting out into the sunshine and away from the tedium of the usual Coles or Woolworths grocery shop is becoming a fortnightly ritual that makes a social event start much earlier than when guests arrive. I love the tastes (it’s almost a meal as I progress from stall-to-stall), the smells and watching the people. I also get to spend quality time with Paul in his element & with my sister, Genevieve, sipping coffee in a riverside park getting the lowdown on latest family gossip & watching the dogs enjoy themselves running madly in their ‘off-the-leash playground’ nearby.

Is the early morning trip to a farmers’ market a worthwhile experience? You bet! Maybe I will meet you there next time.

Happiness & laughter always,


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