If you fancy spending a leisurely morning at a relaxed country market not far from the city, the Murrumbateman Village Market is just the ticket. Situated 30 minutes north-west of Canberra, the village of Murrumbateman in the Yass Valley Shire offers a fortnightly Saturday market enjoyed by families from the local community and surrounds.
Supported and managed by a subcommittee of the Murrumbateman Progress Association, the market provides an outlet for hobby farmers, home gardeners, growers, artisan producers, craftsmen and businesses from the region to sell their wares. It also facilitates a place for folks to meet and mingle with friends and community groups.
I spoke with John Thorn, Chair of the Murrumbateman Village Market committee, and asked him to tell me about the Market:
How long has the market been operating and tell me a little of its history
The market has been operating since December 2012. It started as the Murrumbateman Farmer's Market, with the intention of providing and showing off the produce of the region. There were fourteen stalls at our first market.
The market has changed over time by incorporating what used to be Murra Scouts market every quarter, and to provide the public with a wider range of goods than a farmer's market typically provides. The Scouts market is now fully integrated with us every fortnight and hence we provide fresh produce, art, crafts, second hand goods, bric-a-brac, and even car boot sales on occasion. Hence, it is now called the Murrumbateman Village Market. We regularly attract 30 to 40 or more stalls now.
How often is the market held and does this change with the seasons?
It's held every second and fourth Saturday of each month from 9.00am till 1.00pm, except for first market in October (Field Days) and second market in December. We decided to standardise on the time rather than confuse people with different seasonal times.
Do you have specific guidelines for your stallholders?
We like to maintain a high quality at the market and encourage produce that is farmed, grown, cooked or made locally. We also allow fresh and packaged food items; fine art and craft; antiques and home wares; live animals and their products; plants; jewellery; second-hand goods; charity fundraiser sausage sizzles, and community-generated produce for the Harvest Swap outlet. The Committee holds a community stall at each market to provide local residents with the opportunity to sell their excess home-grown produce.
Are there many locals who sell their produce at the Market?
The majority of our stallholders could be described as 'very local'. In other words, they come directly from the Murrumbateman/Yass area, with the rest from the wider local area, such as Young, Harden, Queanbeyan, Wee Jasper, Canberra and so on. In addition, our Community Stall (which I coordinate) sells only produce grown in gardens in Murrumbateman and Yass Valley area.
Who are your regular stallholders?
We have many regulars and they are quite diverse! These include the Coffee Stall, Larado (local fruit and vegetables), Simon's Horseshoe Art, Kim's Carvings (all things wood), Ironbark Vineyard, Baa-Poo (bagged sheep manure), 123 Jump Designs (cushions, aprons, quilts), Simply Green Basics (natural cleaning products), Adam's Patisserie (Egyptian and Greek baked goods), La Barre (olive oils), Ozone Chillies, One Tree Hill Alpaca stud, Grassy's Free Range Eggs, Pitstone Olives, The Pastor's Pleasures (cakes and pastries), IDP Nursery (native plants), That Coffee by Jaclyn, Hillgrove Pottery, Goldenholm Biodynamic Beef, Idyllic Hills Wines, Dog Trap Vineyard, Eaglewood Alpaca Stud, Vermifert (farm, vineyard and garden products), Minto Galloways, Second Dimension, and Anthony's Sauces.
Our newest stallholders include Salami Shack, That Bagel Place bagels and Bow and Arrow (a local business from Yass who sell a range of Australian wool jumpers). Also, a soup kitchen will be joining us soon, run by a local lady who volunteers with the scouts. Perfect with the cooler weather.
Do many Canberra folks attend?
The majority are locals, but we do get a good number of Canberra people who've heard about the market via our advertising on radio, radio interviews and various websites, community switchboards or passing traffic. It's hard to say how big a percentage it would be, but it is significant.
When is the next market?
The next Murrumbateman Village Market will be held on Saturday, 23 May, from 9.00am until 1.00pm. You'll find the market at the Murrumbateman Recreation Grounds off the Barton Highway, Murrumbateman, NSW. For more information, visit the web site.
Good Things visited the Murrumbateman Village Market with the compliments of Yass Valley Tourism, however this is not a sponsored post and opinions expressed are my own.
Watch this space for upcoming articles showcasing my exploration of the Yass Valley region.
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.