Our ongoing PR work with the Markets of Melbourne has further ignited the LBMPR team’s enthusiasm for market shopping. The freshest produce, friendly advice and great atmosphere mean we all look forward to our weekly market shops. I’ve never heard anyone say that about their supermarket shop!
The general public is becoming more and more interested in good food as you know, but many people still feel a certain level of intimidation or fear of the unknown when it comes to shopping at the markets v’s the supermarkets.
Consider the below 10 tips and we guarantee a smooth and very enjoyable shopping trip –
1. Take a tour if you are unfamiliar with market shopping. It will give you some great insights into how to navigate the market, the differences between market traders, specialty stores, etc. Each of our three markets run fabulous tours which you can learn about at their websites. While you are there – subscribe to their newsletters to find out exactly what is in season and when.
2. Shop early to get the ‘pick of the bunch’ (literally!) and avoid crowds. When we say early we mean 6am-9am. Dropping by the market before work is a great way to efficiently fit in the shop and you’re likely to spy a notable chef or two around the place at that time too! Plus parking is not only free at this time but also a dream.
3. Shop at the end of the day, after 4pm, to nab the best bargains on fruit and vegies, including Prahran Market’s famous ‘Dollar Bags’ – often huge bags of whatever’s left for only a buck!
4. Don’t be afraid of blemishes, discolouration and other ‘imperfections’ when buying fruit and vegies. The way they look rarely has any bearing on their freshness or overall taste. Ask the grocer if you’re unsure, but they purchase food daily so you can be sure it’s fresh.
5. Ask, ask, ask! Every seller at the market is an expert in their field and super keen to help out. No matter how dumb or obvious you think your question might be, ask. There are no silly questions at the markets. Whether you’re wondering which cut of beef to use for a stew or when the next crop of daikons will be in season, you’ll always get the friendly, helpful answer you need.
6. Take a trolley, or hire one if you don’t have one. Queen Victoria Market and Prahran Market both offer this service. Otherwise, reusable bags are a must. South Melbourne Market and Queen Victoria Market plan to completely phase out plastic bags this year.
7. Ask for some assistance to your car if your load is too big. If you’re stocking up for a big barbie, lugging the haul around the market can be near impossible. Ask the traders if they’ll help you take the boxes of wine, sides of lamb, etc. to the car and you’ll find most are very happy to oblige. Many will also provide you with ice for added freshness, or at Queen Victoria Market you can purchase it when you hire your trolley.
8. Stop and enjoy the delicious coffee and food on offer at the market – our markets have wonderful coffee roasters and cafes/restaurants, so make a morning or afternoon of it and savour the hustle and bustle of the market place.
9. If you like to do a weekly shop, Saturdays and Sundays are great days to do it. The markets are closed on a Monday so the traders generally like to clear almost everything on the weekend. That spells B-A-R-G-A-I-N-S. Trays of 10 porterhouse steaks for $15 for example!
10. Shop around! Traders are used to being competitive, so make sure you check out all the butchers, grocers, delis, etc. before making your purchases. You don’t get that option at the supermarket…
We hope these tips are helpful. See you at the markets!