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To market, to market….. To market, to market…..

The Challenge: If you were armed with a $100 gift voucher, what would be your must have Christmas shopping list essentials? And what Christmas dish could you create with $100 at Canberra’s biggest and original farmers market? Despite my better judgement, I’m a sukka for a challenge….. When will I learn huh!

A bleary eyed Zombie like Anna arrived bang on 730am at the Capital Region Farmers Markets to participate in a cheeky Christmas themed bloggers challenge. But, lacking coffee in my life, and feeling a little overwhelmed at being awake before double digits on a Saturday morning, especially as the night before I was dining & mingling & dancing the night away at an amazing exclusive Christmas Party in a very swish Marquee with a couple of hundred other cool peeps on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, but that’s another story for another time right. Suffice to say, I may have been feeling a bit overwhelmed by the task ahead.

I was rather surprised to discover the markets were buzzing and bustling at that hour. Word is, the hard-core market groupies turn up around 6am and the committed folk around 7am. But official open times are from 7:30am – 11:30am every Saturday.

Now I don’t know if this is a big market or not, but there are over 100 stall holders in a series of sheds buzzing with people who are busy buying their produce. The stall holders are chatty and from the happy banter and buzzy vibe, it is obvious there are plenty of regulars and friend catching up business that goes on at this hour too.

Canberra’s Farmers Market is run by the Rotary Club of Hall, they actually go out and inspect the producer’s farms to see the garlic growing in the ground, hear the oink of the pigs and see the chickens laying their eggs. Prices are competitive to local supermarkets, but the produce is so much fresher and we are talking days, not weeks, between the farm and you. As the caffeine kicked in I started to get right into the vibe of the Markets, I found myself chatting away & learning straight from the farmers.

Instead of navigating dodgy shopping carts through crowded grocery store aisles, you could be leisurely walking through the market while sipping a cup of coffee and chatting with vendors to find everything on your shopping list! I have named my first New Year’s Resolution for 2015 – get myself outta bed early on Saturday morning and hit up the markets on a regular basis!

It was cool to hang out with some of my fellow Berra bloggers and to be given a personalised & guided tour by Todd Wright, a Rotarian & Threesides Marketing Director to discover the faces behind the markets. And boy was there a lot to discover, so much fresh, colourful looking produce, baked goods, local honey, black garlic, flowers a plenty, home-made tea blends, seafood, meat and even some delicious pre-made bites to eat.

My bag was over flowing with goodies & I couldn’t leave without picking up enough ingredients to trial some ideas playing around in my head using huge delicious giant Mushrooms.

Pork & Bacon Stuffed GIANT Mushrooms w/ Crumbled Fetta

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • 4 x Giant Mushrooms
  • 4 x Burger Patty
  • 200g Goats Fetta
  • 200g Wild Rocket
  • Olive oil & Seasoning

Step 1: Giant Mushrooms – Drizzle with olive oil & season

Step 2: Pork & Bacon Burger Patty – Seal patties in a hot pan, bake patties in giant mushrooms for 15 minutes

Step 3: Crumble soft Goats Fetta on cooked mushroom & patty

Step 4: Rocket salad lightly dressed with olive oil

Step 5: Plate up – do it…. and do it good.

Challenge completed, I admit it was a bit of a blur until the caffeine kicked in, but boom…. cruising the Capital Region Farmers Market was totally worth skipping my Saturday sleep in, and sure was a fun way to kick off my weekend.

Thanks to Capital Region Farmer’s Market for the gift voucher and personalised tour.

What are your must have Christmas essentials? And what dish features every year on your Christmas table?

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