Markets and fresh produce
Nothing beats freshly picked local produce in your lunchtime picnic basket, or for dinner tonight with a bottle of regional wine. You’ll find produce bursting with flavour at farm gates, and at markets that are also filled with gourmet goodies and high quality craft and clothing created by local artisans.
Yarra Valley and the Dandenongs: more than 20 markets
One of the best known is the Yarra Valley Farmers' Market (third Sunday of every month at Yering Station). Expect a vast choice of fresh food and delectable gourmet treats (www.experienceyarravalley.com.au/yarra-valley-market-days ). Drop into local dairies for cheese, and in summer pick your own fruit including cherries, strawberries and raspberries at orchards.
Red Hill and Mornington markets
The Mornington Peninsula has long had a love affair with fresh produce. Fruit, vegetables, herbs, olives, eggs, honey and cheese are great table mates with local bread, cheese, olive oils, chocolates and coffee. Don’t miss the Red Hill Market with 300 stallholders (first Saturday of the month, September to May). Also try the weekly Mornington Main Street Wednesday Market and the Mornington Racecourse market (second Sunday of every month). In summer, pick your own luscious cherries and strawberries.
Churchill Island Farmers’ Market
Tiny Churchill Island, with its heritage farm, is the perfect location for a farmers’ market (fourth Saturday of each month with 40 stalls of fresh produce and artisan products). You can also catch your own fish from local piers. For art and treasure markets at Cowes, check out (www.visitphillipisland.com/listing/local-markets/ ).