It’s inevitable in a place like Tasmania, so rich in gourmet food and small-scale producers, that markets are fast becoming a way of life.
From Salamanca, the grand-daddy of them all, to the Bream Creek Farmer’s Market, to the new kid on the block, the Hobart Twilight Market, we are spoiled for choice!
I’m not the best placed person to give you a “Tasmanian Markets – 101”, for that you should drop by Jenna’s blog “The Hobart Life” where she is quite regularly keeping us all updated as to what’s on and where. You can find her blog here.
But, what I can do is give you a feeling for what the Launceston Harvest Market has to offer, and how it compares to its sibling in the ‘big smoke’, the Hobart Farm Gate Market.
The Launnie Harvest Market is located in a large car park at 71 Cimitiere Street, in central Launceston (opposite Albert Hall). We were based over at Hotel Charles for the weekend and found it to be a very relaxing 15 minute walk through the CBD. Opening hours are between 8:30am and 12:30pm every Saturday.
Situated on almost a hectare of flat bitumen, the first thing that you notice about the Harvest Market is how well laid out it is. Very reminiscent of the previous incarnation of Hobart’s Farm Gate market, the many stalls have been strategically spaced out around the edges while in the middle is a large space full of undercover seating for families to congregate, indulge in some of their recent purchases, and generally soak up the happy vibe. There’s even a ‘Kids Corner’ where on this particular day hula-hoops seemed to be of immense attraction to both youngsters and oldsters alike!
As logic would dictate, we started at one end and worked our way around the market, trying the odd sample here, chatting with the occasional farmer or producer there…
As always, so many options, yet so little stomach capacity, particularly considering that we needed to save space for Josef Chromy’s wine and delicacies later in the day (in that order)!
That French toast tasted as good as it looked! Chunky toast, fried perfectly, but the real winner was the sweet and slightly sour rhubarb with drizzled honey on top. I’ve never had rhubarb as good as that anywhere!
Other options provided by Wanderlust vegetarian food van included a potato rosti burger with red cabbage, apple relish and a walnut spread ($9), or a gluten free breakfast pie for only $7!
Check out the Wanderlust Facebook page here.
After such a sweet start, we had to balance it out with some savoury. With very fond memories of Hiroshima’s okonomiyaki from our holiday in Japan (click here to read our blog entry from that incredible evening!), we were very keen to try the same dish with an Osakan twist.
So much hangover-neutralising goodness in one mouthful!! Made from Tasmanian flour, eggs, cabbage, bacon, mushroom and spinach, combined with Japanese ginger, okonomi sauce and mayonnaise, this is where East meets West in a most incredible way!!
The differences between okonomiyaki from Osaka and Hiroshima are pretty minor really, with the Osakan version consisting of a mix of ingredients, rather the layered approach from Hiroshima. Whichever way you look at it, it’s very tasty indeed!
You can find Osakan Soul’s Facebook page here.
We also enjoyed a very high quality coffee from Ritual Coffee. Even from a paper cup it was one of the best I’ve had.
Other stall holders (amongst dozens of others) include:
– Langdale Farm
– Wheelie Fun Smoothies
– Tamar Valley Truffles
– Frank’s Cider
– Modo Mio Naked
– Westerway Raspberry Farm
– Turkish Tukka; and
– George Town Seafoods
So how do Hobart’s Farm Gate Market and Launceston’s Harvest Market compare? Karen’s going to hate me for using this phrase, but here goes…
“Same same, but different”
Hobart’s market does have more of an agricultural feel to me, with a few more ‘earthy’ options such as seedlings, flowers and herbs for sale. But when it comes to the important stuff (the food!) I’d have to say that they are both on a par, but in different ways.
The donuts from Lady Hester and the pate from Thalia and Bianca are standouts at the Hobart market, whereas the Wanderlust Food Van, Turkish Tukka and Osakan Soul options are worth a visit to the Launceston market in themselves.
In terms of location, the Launceston Harvest Market has it nailed! Heaps of space, and lots of tables to have a seat. Unfortunately the recent forced relocation of the Hobart Farm Gate market has meant they’ve lost some seating (although there are more grassy options than the Launceston market) and the long, thin layout of Melville Street doesn’t work as well as the ‘village square’ feel of the Launceston market.
As you can see, there’s pros and cons to each. All I can suggest is to try them both and see for yourself! Whichever one you prefer, you’re not going to be disappointed!
For those that are interested, here’s a few of the markets you’ll find around Tasmania, some well known, others less so…
Moma Market – (January – April)
This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means. Are there any others you think are worthy of a mention? I’d love to hear from you!