First published on 16 Feb 2012. Updated on 12 Dec 2012.
Skip the queues at Coles and hit up Plump for locally sourced, NASAA-certified fresh produce that won’t go limp in the crisper. The store focusing on organic, biodynamic foodstuffs – you’ll find everything you need for clean living. La Madre Bakery and Let’s Aloaf supply the breads, and meats from Bellmore Biodynamic and Inglewood Farms fill the fridge (along with an awful lot of dairy-free cheese – if that’s your thing). Lentils, legumes and pulses are available in self-serve scoopfuls. 24 Ballarat St, Yarraville.
Little Saigon Markets
It takes nerves of steel face-off with the Vietnamese nannas at the Footscray Asian markets, but show no fear and you’ll be rewarded with the freshest, cheapest and loudest market experience in town. Live eels writhe; crabs scuttle – they’re trying to escape the vendors’ incessant vocal and physical entreaties to try their dragonfruit and lychee samples. It’s total anarchy and whether or not you need to stock up on fresh udon, dried shrimp, pak choi and gingery galangal root, it’s worth going just for the show. Byron St, Footscray.
With a commitment to the fresh, organic and ecofriendly, Passionfoods in South Melbourne has been doing clear-conscience food since before it was cool. On top of the fresh fruit and veg, they’ve got preservative-free wines and beers (the Billabong gluten-free Apple beer is worth particular mention), organic dry goods, and our lazy-day favourite – take-home meals. Asian Chicken Coleslaw is the kind of fast food you can be smug about. 219 Ferrars St, South Melbourne.
On the second Saturday of every month Collingwood Children’s Farm is commandeered by 70+ Victorian farmers, spruiking their fresh produce and wholesome goodies. Aside from the mandatory organic fruit and veg, you can pick up some fancy pink salt from Sunshine Murray River, top-notch beef and a wheel of award winning cheese. Want breakfast? Try the syrupy pancakes from the pancake stall – money goes to the Young Farmers programme. 18 St Heliers St, Abbotsford.
Sam Vavasis is all about the drygoods, stocking over 400 types of nuts, seeds, spices and grains at his Dandenong market stall. And unless you’re a nut savant, you will probably recognise fewer than 80. And that’s a fact. There are larger, sweeter Iranian varieties of raisins; sweet-and-sour Inca berries from South America; barberries; aged basmati rice; plus every spice rub known to man. Cnr Clow & Cleeland Sts, Dandenong.