Get into the thick of things at a community market in regional Victoria. Parks and halls turn into social hubs on weekend mornings as visitors and locals come together with producers and makers. Meet the locals, find seasonal fare and homemade wares, and really get to know the place.
Meet growers and farmers, sample and stock your trolley with fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables, local meats, eggs and honey. Meet the makers and compare homemade jams and baked treats. Stay awhile and taste a local tipple with a snag from the community barbecue.
Beyond the belly, browse racks of vintage clothing and collectable retro gems. Chat to local artists and craftspeople, find homemade homewares and surprise the hard-to-buy-fors with local souvenirs and gifts.
All this and loads of local entertainment: face-painting for junior shoppers, demonstrations for weekend cooks, and a live soundtrack from local performers. To market!
To find your nearest community market, check local and market websites – and keep an eye out for roadside chalkboard signs. Smaller markets generally operate once a month, larger markets more frequently.
Take an empty basket and plenty of spare time to these local favourites:
Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges
Get two markets for the price of one at Healesville Community Market: browse bric-a-brac, clothing, jewellery, plants and books on the first Sunday of the month, and homemade products such as soaps and jams on the third.
Join the regulars for Mornington Main Street Market every Wednesday, or get crafty at the Red Hill Community Market, the first Saturday of the month.
Daylesford and Macedon Ranges
Rock out twice a year with local products, produce and gourmet food at Hanging Rock Market, add children's entertainment to the mix every third Saturday of the month at the Creswick Market, and scout Daylesford's Mill Markets, open daily.
Have an udderly lovely evening browsing art, clothing and homeware with boutique wines and homestyle fare at Cowes Night Market, held several times a year.