June 12, 2020 / By Rachel Wagner
Remember when a weekend meant rolling out of bed and meandering down to your local farmers' market? Traversing the quaint stalls and filling your basket with freshly plucked herbs, artisan sourdough loaves and rustic peach tarts? Well hold on to your rumbling tummies, because the farmers' market has made a comeback in a completely covid-safe way.
Just because you’re staying at home more, doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself. The Victorian Country Market launched this May, aims to bring people from all over Australia together to virtually shop some of Victoria’s tastiest fresh produce, tipples and homemade goods. Straight from the farm to your doorstep.
It’s the perfect way to celebrate Victoria’s world-class farmers, producers and makers while reaching out a hand to support those doing it tough. For many small businesses that have taken a double hit with the bushfires and Coronavirus restrictions, the market allows them to throw their doors open to hungry customers once again. Breweries and gin distilleries, free-range farms and apiaries, all under one virtual roof.
You’re encouraged to shop the market by region rather than category. Rediscover market stalls from your local area or venture a little further. Each region showcases its best vendors and with a little imagination, you’ll be whisked away to the far reaches of our southern state.
You can eat your way around the state from wherever you are in the country, with Australia-wide shipping available from most stalls. Lucky Victorians can also enjoy free shipping.
Here are some of our top picks of what's on offer.
Take a virtual holiday to the Great South Coast where beach meets bush. You may not be able to drive the Great Ocean Road but you can taste it in Ocean Road Abalone from Port Fairy and Cooriemungle’s Lochard Gorgeous Camembert.
Go for a jaunt around the stalls of the Mallee region, hopping from cattle station to citrus grove before cruising down the waters of the majestic Murray River. Try your new favourite drink, a Ned Kelly Pink Moscato Spritz under the shade of the region’s synonymous Mallee Eucalypts. Shor Vanden Estate Wines, source Murray Darling Walnuts, or check out Everything Sourdough - a company that supplies you with all the equipment you need to bake beautiful sourdough bread at home.
For something different, hightail it to the historic goldfields in the Central Highlands, where the abundance of grain growers means this region boasts some of our country’s best bakeries. How about a buttery, flaky and rich slow cooked beef pie from Aussie Oggie Pasty Company in Ballarat or some delicious organic strawberries and strawberry sauce? If that's not enough there's another 40 producers to buy from selling every thing from Black Cat Truffles to beetroot meusli.
Like any good market, the Victorian Country Market dedicates a host of stalls to homewares, organic skincare products and hand-poured candles. In the section dubbed ‘other cool stuff’ you’ll find vegan soap, a tie-dyed baby blanket crafted from Victorian wool in the Pyrenees Ranges, and teensy tiny cactus planters made in Stawell.
If you're looking for something to keep you busy, pick up a bamboo ukulele from Brunswick and learn to play some sweet melodies. Or if you’re feeling a little more flexible, you can even fulfil your childhood dream of running away to join the circus with online circus classes out of Yackandandah. If after all these adventures you’re dreaming of some wine, the lush, berry-packed sparkling shiraz from the forest-surrounded vineyards at Little River Wines in the Goulburn Region will sort you right out. Cheers!
If there was ever a time to pack your pantry shelves full to the brim with pickles, chutneys, jams and preserves, this is it. Whether you want to spruce up your cheeseboard game, create your own at-home degustation or simply treat your family to a home cooked dinner, go on and splurge at the Victorian Country Market. After all, we’re helping local businesses here. Indulging in a little Aussie-made, locally sourced goodness is bound to make your quarantine a whole lot more palatable.
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