"EVERY weekend, this column will reach for the shopping basket and go hunting and gathering. Around the country, people have fallen in love with farmers markets.
It's a sign of our deep fascination with the food we eat, but also of our growing understanding of the difference just-picked produce makes to taste, health and the world we live in.
In this crazy world of supermarkets and online shopping, more and more people want to see the colour of the tomatoes, potatoes or green leaves they buy. They also want to touch them, feel their texture and weight.
Farmers markets flourish in every state. Miranda Sharp, at Melbourne Community Farmers' Markets, says there are about 150 in Australia (and 7500 in the US). Seventy of them are in Victoria, which has the distinction of having an accreditation process. Community Farmers' Markets is one of the many accredited members of the Victorian Farmers' Markets Association, which oversees accreditation. The association has the great good fortune of a state government grant for the work. Miranda says accreditation gives growers and buyers a framework of trust and security, which is attracting interest in other states.
Slow Food Melbourne is another member of the association. It operates a monthly market (every fourth Saturday) at the Abbotsford Convent. Slow food is a philosophy, and the market is a practical, active version of an ethical idea.
Each week, this column will be based on chats with people at markets across the states, finding out what's new, what's in season, what's happening. Each market is a window on the state, each with its own seasonal calendar."
You can read the full article from last Saturday's Australian here.
Image: "Farmers Market VI" by etekeyama