There is something so charming and quaint about a farmers’ market.
It’s like stepping back in time to the good old days when you bought bread from a baker and fresh fruit from a farmer.
When you look beyond the beaches, the Central Coast is home to free-range farms, orange orchards and boutique bakers, and the Gosford City Farmers Market brings them all together in one place every week.
Held on Sundays from 730am to 1pm at Gosford Showground on Showground Road (formerly at the Entertainment Grounds), the casual, street-style market has been offering glossy greens, ethical eggs and fresh figs to locals for four years.
The market is run by NSW Farmers Market, an association which runs farmers’ markets across the state including the Wyong City Farmers Market on the first and third Saturday of each month at Wyong Racecourse.
With many of the stalls set up under cover, the event takes place rain, hail or shine.
Embracing a paddock-to-plate ethos, most of the produce at the 70-odd stalls has been grown or sourced from the Coast and surrounding regions.
The Pasta Gallery is Hornsby-based but their handmade pasta has been produced using free-range eggs from Erina’s The Egg Shed. Egganic’s organic, ethical eggs are brought down the hill from Somersby.
Zantient Culture’s probiotic-packed kombucha is brewed in Tuggerah and poured straight from the tap in a bid to save some of the single use plastic that ends up in landfill.
Also made in Tuggerah, Spiralz raw and fermented immune boosting elixirs and organic kimchi are a vibrant gut-friendly boost in a bottle.
In most cases, the stallholders are the actual farmers, bakers, winemakers, growers and owners.
For a couple of bux, you can pick up a net of Valencia oranges from the family who runs Meliora Farm at Peats Ridge.
If you stop by Tynan Wines to sample some Blushing Brut, you’ll likely be served by Mrs Tynan herself.
The handmade soap at Telopea’s stall is all-natural and available in heady scents such as Eastern Chai and orange, lavender and lime.
A couple of the Hunter’s best assets – honey and cheese – can be found in abundance. There’s no sign of fake honey at these markets.
You can even whet your whistle with some preservative-free cider.
It’s best to get in early – coffee roasters Maxima have your caffeine fix sorted – for the best range of produce, and bring some cash for smaller purchases and the couple of stalls without Eftpos.
Bring a reusable bag and fill it with some organic greens from Willa Willa Park at Mangrove Mountain, a loaf of La Tartine’s specialist organic Somersby sourdough, a bag of mushrooms from Margin’s at Woy Woy or some Central Coast lemons from Johnson’s Farmgate.
Fresh really is best – you’ll be able to taste the difference.
When hunger strikes, there’s a selection of typical market fare – dumplings, gozleme or German pancakes, as well as farm gate to plate grass-fed sausage rolls or duck pies sold by the farmer from Lincoln Red Beef Direct, a farm based north of the Coast.
For a plant-based alternative, the lads from Woy Woy’s Mad Dogg offer a vegan twist on hot dogs with lovingly marinated, smoked and chargrilled carrots served in a bun. They’ve also got jars of pickled vegetables for later.
If all the mingling with farmers inspires you to take away a piece of paddock, you can also grab some organic seedlings such as a turmeric plant or some Korean mint and do some DIY farming at home.
A farmers’ market offers a direct avenue to fresh, local produce, which is often organic and sometimes cheaper than the supermarkets. On those occasions when you don’t net a bargain, you can bet your bottom dollar the produce will last longer, taste fresher and be better for you.
It’s also the best way to support local farmers. Need we say more.