The Slow Food movement: Farmers Markets

On a crisp, foggy Saturday morning in May, the sun is rising to the bustling mumbles of farm talk. As the frost clears and a wide blue sky surfaces, the smells of baked bread, sweet fruits by the bucketload and the sounds of the sizzling barbecues grow. The murmurs of chatter increase to shouts, fighting to be noticed above the barking dogs, bike bells and heavy feet on damp grass and gravel paths.

The slow food revolution has been brewing and collecting support in mainstream conscience, advocating awareness for real food not fast food for a number of years.

The many colours and flavours of fresh, organic carrots

The many colours and flavours of fresh, organic carrots

On the fourth Saturday of every month farmers, growers, artists and musicians set up across the Abbotsford Convent grounds for Slow food Melbourne’s, farmers market. With fresh-from-the-ground produce, sourced from over 60 growers and food connoisseurs; in season fruits and vegetables as well as specialist meats, cheeses, oils and condiments are on offer.

The Slow Food movement is a non-for-profit promoter of clean and fair food with an emphasis on local regions.  Slow Food focuses on transforming food and farming, to prevent the food system from falling apart; changing the way a modern kitchen table operates. Many cities and towns around the country have set up branches to promote good quality food production. Slow Food Melbourne works with growers from around the state who are good at what they do; growing tasty, wonderful food. The initiative gives them the best chance of raising and selling their produce and for consumers to purchase well grown, fresh, quality products.

One of the many paths at the Convent dedicated to the Slow Food Farmers Market

One of the many paths at the Convent dedicated to the Slow Food Farmers Market

So what is the slow food revolution all about?

A group of Italian intellectuals got together in the late 80s after seeing a breakdown in the appreciation for clean, traditional basic food concepts lost to the dominating takeover of big business, industrialising the food supply. Their aim was to educate people about where food comes from – not a freezer bag – but from farmers and growers. Thirty years later, the revolution has spread far and wide promoting natural, low-processed products with a nose-to-tail philosophy, minimising all aspects of waste.

It's pear season!

It’s pear season!

The incentive for market shoppers is that they can talk directly to the farmer at the point of sale, learning the background and growing conditions of the produce they are about to buy. Many store holders provide recipes for their products and prices are reasonable – ensuring the farmer gets her keep and the consumer is not paying top dollar.

The market prides itself – like many in the Yarra Council – for being plastic bag free so be prepared for loads of trolleys, baskets, bikes, dogs and children. The produce is the freshest so don’t expect to find your lettuce in pristine condition two weeks later at the back of your fridge. Slow Food is about fresh food – food to be eaten then and there, straight from the garden with a crisp crunch.

Another bright and sunny morning at the convent.

Another bright and sunny morning at the convent.

Here are just some of the farmers and growers worth visiting on your next trip to the Slow Food Melbourne Farmers market.

Warialda belted Galloways beef from Daylesford and the Macedon Rangers

Holy Goat/ Sutton Grange Organic Farm from the Goldfields

Kinglake Vegetables from Kinglake

Di’s Rhubarb from the High Country