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We are very lucky in South Australia to have some wonderful markets, one of which is the Willunga Farmers Market.

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An hour’s drive south of Adelaide, Willunga is a small historic township bordering one of our favourite wine regions, McLaren Vale. We decided to take an early drive on a sunny Saturday morning on the October long weekend.

The market is open every Saturday from 8.00am to 12.30pm in the Willunga Town Square, and we arrived just after it opened. It was nice and quiet on the roads at that time of the morning, but already the market was buzzing with activity – from the many locals who know how good this spot is and were getting in early, to the visitors staying in the area just for the weekend.

Willunga_Farmers_Market_6We followed the smell of cooked breakfast and headed straight for Bush Pepper Catering for something to eat. Right from the start we were treated to some fine local produce and personal spin on the usual breakfast offerings: an egg and bacon roll is offered with pesto and rocket; the bush breakfast comes with eggs, tomato, home-made lima beans in a rich tomato sauce, sausage, caramelised onion… the food was simple but divine and bursting with flavour.

After breakfast, which included a coffee from Piccolo Espresso, we took to looking around the stalls. By 8.30am it was getting very busy and we were (quite literally) bumping into people we knew from the local area and from Adelaide!

Willunga_Farmers_Market_2The market has been in operation since 2002. There are over 60 stalls, selling everything from flowers to olive oil, fruit, vegetables, pastries, dairy products, spices and meats.

Willunga_Farmers_Market_1It was a warm spring morning and luckily we brought an esky and ice packs with us to safely transport home any product we picked up.

Our son spotted the Willunga Pasta’s rainbow gluten free penne and loved the vibrant colours. He wanted to try that for dinner so we bought a packet and had it that night. We liked the subtle flavours of spinach and beetroot, although the colours faded a little when cooked.

Willunga_Farmers_Market_7 We also bought a sourdough olive ciabatta from the Small World Bakery, which when toasted, went well with poached eggs for breakfast the next morning!

Willunga_Farmers_Market_8Some baby carrots were purchased from Virgaras Garden, which looked like they had been picked that morning! The staff serving were busy and quick to serve customers.

Willunga_Farmers_Market_4We came across Mount Compass Venison, selling sausages, burgers, steaks, roasts and pies. I was a little reluctant to try anything as I have eaten venison before and found it to be a quite strong gamey taste. The stallholder assured us it wouldn’t be too gamey as the meat is from animals less that two years old and they control their environment and feed.

So we gave the hamburger patties a try. I think that if you didn’t know what the meat was you wouldn’t know they were venison. I was pleasantly surprised by the flavour – not at all strong and gamey.

Before we left we picked up a small container of shaved ice, flavoured with lemon and mint flavouring. It bought back great memories of shave ice we had in Hawaii!

Willunga_Farmers_Market_5Some locals tend to shop at the market each week, and a 12-month paid membership sees you receive a Willunga Farmers Market shopping bag and discount for much of the produce.

The market has a number of regulars but is constantly looking for new stallholders. I love that they are committed to producers from the Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island. For anyone who wants to be a stallholder there’s an extensive checklist to complete to see if they fit the selection criteria.

There are taste testings, occasional cooking demonstrations and more, with Fast Ed from Better Homes and Gardens filming a segment there recently.

There are so many stalls to visit and so many different products to try, so if you get a chance, check out the Willunga Farmers Market and support our local producers!

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