Come rain, hail or shine, the farmers, brewers, bakers and cheesemakers of northern Tasmania come to town every Saturday morning.
Once a week an inner-city car park in the old industrial precinct becomes the Harvest Launceston Community Farmers’ Market, an essential part of community life in the northern city and the best place for travellers to meet locals and sample the diversity and flavours of regional produce.
A true community initiative, Harvest Market started 10 years ago with 24 stallholders, many of whom are still involved. There are now 50 or so stalls, where the people who produce the food are the ones who sell it.
“By linking people with the food and those who produce the food, it created an understanding in our local community about where our food comes from and why we do need to support our farmers,” says Kim Hewitt, one of the market’s founders.
Harvest, as it’s known locally, is also a community gathering place and point of civic pride, contributing to Launceston’s recognition in 2021 as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. “Everybody brings their visitors down,” says Hewitt. “It’s the place you have to go on a Saturday morning. It’s become iconic and it’s done that by maintaining its standards.”
Those standards have nurtured and safeguarded a special authenticity. “We set up the market with strict criteria and a charter and though it has evolved over the years, our rules essentially are still the same,” says Hewitt. “Basically, if it's not grown, baked, pickled or brewed by you from Tasmanian produce, you don't come to sell at the market.”
Ethical pig farmer Guy Robertson is a regular stallholder, selling his heritage-breed Mount Gnomon charcuterie and flipping bacon-and-egg rolls. Apiarist Tristan Campbell will likely be talking about his hives and bee gardens in west Tamar. Martin and Sophie Grace will be selling their Lentara Grove olive oil, and the folk at Provenance Coffee Co will be brewing the coffee they’ve just roasted.
Harvest is the first place to buy new-season produce – the season’s first asparagus, or pinkeye potatoes, or raspberries.
Fill a basket with heirloom vegetables and cherry pies, roasted hazelnuts and farmhouse cheeses. Browse the food trucks for breakfast or brunch, chat with farmers, and listen to live music.
Need to know
Harvest Market is held every Saturday, 8.30am-12.30pm, at 71 Cimitiere St, Launceston.