Wednesday, November 15, 2006

November 11, 2006: Collingwood Children's Farm Farmers' Market

In the past few months, Cindy and I have been slowly visiting Melbourne's many food markets. Saturday dawned sunny and warm and a quick check of our Cheap Eats Guide informed us that we'd luckily hit the right Saturday for the farmers' market at the Collingwood Children's Farm. A glance at the website for the on-site cafe was enough to convince me that we should head off straight away and have breakfast once we were there.

The first thing we noticed when we finally made it to the Children's Farm after the long walk up Johnston Street was the greenery: trees, grass and little farm plots everywhere.

Melbourne seems to specialise in these inner-city havens - at both CERES and the Children's Farm it's remarkably easy to forget that you're basically in the middle of a city of almost 4 million people.

The first order of business was breakfast. Cindy had snacked before our departure, and settled for a lemon poppy seed muffin, whereas I'd starved myself in anticipation of the 'grass green breakfast': poached eggs with spinach, mushrooms, avocado, tomato, sourdough toast and pesto.

What a breakfast! The veges were fresh and delicious, the pesto was as tasty as anything we've made at home, the eggs were perfectly runny and there was enough toast to mop everything up. The only problem were the chickens peering over my shoulder - they roam free around the cafe, which makes for a nice farm atmosphere, but adds to the competition for space.

After polishing off brekkie, we had a quick stroll around the first part of the farm. As well as the roaming chickens, there were a few different chicken pens and a little cage full of baby chicks. Chicken-tastic!

After the chickens, we finally made our way to the market part of the farm. By 10:30 in the morning, a few of the stalls had already started to close, but there was still a big crowd of people wandering around the remaning stalls. My enthusiasm got the better of me and after we'd inspected the first few stalls I'd already picked up some fresh asparagus, a punnet of cherries and some goat's cheese. I calmed myself down and we wandered the rest of the stalls picking up a few other delicacies (a loaf of rye and caraway sourdough, quark, nectarines, limoncello and a box of citrus-twist tea) and soaking up the sunshine.

Following a lap of the markets, we went on an exploration of the rest of the farm - paddocks housing goats, sheep, cows, horses and donkeys seemed to go on forever. We got up close with a few of the animals and I was tempted to push the kids out of the way to get my turn to feed the goats and horses. But I patiently waited and eventually got my turn.

Laden down with our bounty, we did a quick tour of the fete that was on at the Sophia Mundi Steiner school. It was enjoyable enough, but the heat and the walking caught up with us and we caught the bus home to admire our treats.

The Farm Cafe
St. Heliers Street, Abbotsford
Phone: 9415 6581
Price: $7-$15

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