I had hours of late night shopping a head of me but that didn’t stop me from ducking over to the Botanic Gardens to check out their inaugural Eat Local market, where they encourage people to buy local and eat local by offering chemical and GMO free produce from the Riverina, Tumut and the Canberra region. As I drove through the front gates, I was directed to the car park on the left hand side which was a short stroll to the markets. I parked and figured I didn’t have to pay for parking because it was sort of after hours (after 5pm) and I could only stay for a short while.I was there just in time to see Costa Georgiadis officially cut the ‘ribbon’ to the inaugural Eat Local market with help from some children.I was limited to what I could purchase because I wasn’t really home over the weekend and I only had a small cooler bag as I was heading to the mall afterwards but I still went to every stall to see what they had to offer. I have been to a lot of food markets in my time and I could only recognise two market stalls which means that it’s not the same vendors that you see at the rest of the Canberra markets. This market also had the advantage of being on a weekday for all those who want to do their food shopping early, keeping their weekends free.
The markets were on the small side but they had a vast variety of stall holders from apples, flowers, seafood, fresh vegetables, frozen blueberries, honey, eggs, pies, cheese and sauces; really everything you would need to make a lovely home-made meal. I would definitely go back and try things from different vendors and stay a while longer. I really wanted to try the locally made halloumi but they had sold out before I got there. 😦The only hot food available at the market was the Floresco cafe and Cooper’s handmade pies which made a huge variety of flavours; I chose cold items to heat and eat later.
Waygu beef and beer pie local Yalandra Wagyu beef mince, with sautéed onions in a Jamieson Mountain ale gravy ($8.00). The filling was very dark, rich and delicious.
Sausage roll (recently award Silver at the Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards) Rockgilla beef sausage mince, with locally grown onions, garlic, fresh home-grown parsley and our secret blend of herbs and spices in our flaky pastry ($6.00). The sausage roll filling was very thick and dense which stayed in a sausage shape. I really liked the flavour but I wish there was more of a fluffy texture to the filling rather than a solid roll.
I was heading to dinner so I couldn’t buy a hot pie and eat it at the market, although I was really tempted when I saw the ‘injection’ options.I had also bought some cheese from Boosey Creek cheese, their cumin gouda was unique and I loved the taste but their vintage cheddar won me over and I knew I was going to have some awesome jaffles in my near future.
I’m hoping that the warmer weather will encourage more visitors to the markets which may in turn drive more interest from other growers to attend. It was slowly getting dark just before 6pm, when I asked a stall holder about how they will see things when the sun goes down, they said they were hoping for day light savings to kick in soon to help them out with a bit more light but some stall holders were set with some lighting until then. There are ATM and bathroom facilities within the cafe.
Venue: Eat Local markets
Address: in the Botanical Garden’s top car-park and concourse, Clunies Ross street
Opening times: markets are on every Friday from 2:30pm to 7:00 pm