Celebrating Community

Markets of Melbourne

The Markets of Melbourne is a collective between three of the longest running markets in Melbourne – Prahran Market, Queen Victoria Market and South Melbourne Market. At the Markets of Melbourne, learning new skills, socialising with traders who are passionate about what they do and being entertained is all a part of the shopping experience.

Sensory Feast

One of the main reasons that customers choose to shop at the Markets of Melbourne is the superior quality and variety of the foods and produce. Founded back in 1864, the Prahran Market is Australia’s oldest market, a seasonal cornucopia of locally grown produce, authentic ethnic foods and gourmet specialities. “Prahran is the Food Lover’s Market, that’s our slogan,” says General Manager Chris Young.

With around 100 specialist traders under one roof selling everything from fresh heirloom vegetables to organic cheeses, it’s all about taste at Prahran Market. Two of the meat traders even have their own purpose built dry aging rooms to guarantee that their meat is tender and packed with flavour. For the true food aficionado, there is dry aged, organic and grass fed pork and wagyu beef plus a select range of artisan hams, salamis and other smallgoods.

Be sure to check out the tantalising array of traditional ethnic foods at Prahran Market like the honey drenched Greek and Turkish pastries. Head over to the fantastic Asian grocery stall for aromatic herbs and vegetables and just about every type of Asian condiment there is. Enjoy some Middle Eastern cuisine like hot gozleme and hand rolled falafels. Nobody knows how to roll a falafel better than Austin can. Nicknamed “the falafel man”, Austin has been making falafels for the last 15 years using a special recipe and calculates that in that time he has made 1.8 million falafels!

Another of the familiar faces at Prahran Market is specialist mushroom producer Damien Pike who also sources truffles from France and Western Australia. “Damien has won Mushroom Retailer of the Year for three years now – in 2007, 2008 and he just won it again this year,” says Mr Young.

For a wide range of potatoes, onions, garlic and unusual root vegetables like fresh wasabi, go and have a chat with Michael Mao, who also carries recipes. “His grandfather was a Chinese dentist who migrated to Australia and couldn’t find work so he decided to start a stall at Prahran Market.” Michael took over the business from his mother and the Mao family has been at the Market for the last 122 years!

Prahran Market is looking to the future with plans for major developments to improve sustainability. “We’ve got a new waste facility planned where we’ll be able to totally separate all our waste and basically reduce our landfill,” comments Mr Young. “Our recycling activities are something that we’ll always work on.” Rainwater is used to clean Prahran Market and energy efficient lighting has been installed. “Our vision is one that has been with us for a long time: we endeavour to be the best produce market in Australia. We’re aiming to reach the top 10 markets in the world, that’s where we’d like to position ourselves.”

Cultural Experience

People head to the Markets of Melbourne to browse, try and buy and just be a part of the atmosphere. The cosmopolitan Queen Victoria Market has become a firm favourite with locals, tourists, shopping addicts and foodies alike. “It is a bustling open-air market that’s the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the world’s most significant, traditional working markets,” says CEO Jennifer Hibbs. “It’s truly become a much-treasured Melbourne cultural and historical icon that draws around 10 million visitors annually.”

The historic Queen Victoria Market aims to provide customers with a high quality lifestyle experience and is an advocate of healthy eating. String Bean Alley was originally the place to buy string beans as the name suggests. “Now it’s the Market’s new artisan precinct, with traders housed in repurposed shipping containers.” The Market also has a partnership with RMIT’s School of Fine Art to provide a major Melbourne location for street art installations by students. “As well as developing a new community alliance, the process has created a contemporary complement to the Victorian heritage site, a talking point for visitors, and adds to Melbourne’s growing street art and public installations,” Ms Hibbs explains.

Exotic foods from around the world are central to all the fascinating cultural festivals that Queen Victoria Market celebrates such as the Mooncake Festival. To celebrate diversity, the Market actively sources partnerships with Melbourne’s various cultural community groups to co-stage events such as the Indonesian Festival, Spanish Festival, Turkish Bazaar Festival and the Malaysian Festival. Locals and tourists alike recognise Queen Victoria Market as being the heart of multicultural Melbourne. It embraces and supports hosts of local family businesses, many of which are now third and forth generation stallholders.

Almost half of the Queen Victoria Market is dedicated to fresh produce. The Market runs a Seasonal Stars cooking program held at the beginning of each season. With the help of high profile chefs, which so far have included Guy Grossi, Tobie Puttock, Adam D’Sylva and Ian Curley, the program promotes healthy eating and cooking with seasonal produce. Queen Victoria Market also works with specific grower organisations including the Asparagus Growers and Mushroom Growers Association, holding promotions that focus on whatever fresh produce happens to be in season.

Eclectic Charm

There is so much to see and do at the Markets of Melbourne – have a relaxing massage, chat to the friendly stallholders and shop up a storm. With 144 stalls, cooking classes in the LG Kitchen, SO:ME Space and more, shoppers can find everything from sushi to hemp clothing to art at South Melbourne Market. This busy Market is guaranteed to win over any gourmet with handcrafted chocolates, organic sourdough bread fresh out of the oven and plenty of locally grown produce. For something a bit out of the ordinary, check out SO:ME Space, a pop up style area within South Melbourne Market. This innovative retail hub for the weird and wonderful serves as a valuable platform for local creative talent.

The original intention for SO:ME Space, according to Manager Ross Williamson, was to attract a younger, more discerning demographic and prioritise locally designed and crafted items. Many older customers are curious enough to go and have a look too. “One of the things we just got in this week which is really interesting is a guy that started collecting Polish posters,” Mr Williamson explains. Famous Polish artists created some of the original, very rare posters that were released from the 40s through to the 70s. The trader had recently sold 12 posters at $400.

While SO:ME Space it is an exciting concept and has definitely been a worthwhile venture, Mr Williamson says that quite a bit of work is involved behind the scenes to keep it funky. “We’ve just revised our vision for SO:ME now and we will try and maintain it as a cool, unique space.”

South Melbourne Market is proud to support local charities such as Hanover Welfare Services and Second Bite. Funds received from a gold coin donation animal farm run once a month and every weekend during school holidays go toward supporting Hanover Welfare Services, while volunteers from Second Bite come to the Market every Sunday to collect excess food from a central point. Last year, the Market donated approximately 26 tonnes of food to Second Bite, producing 52,700 meals for the underprivileged and saving 23 tonnes of carbon emissions.

South Melbourne Market is the only market in Australia with Waste Wise accreditation. The Market has a new $5 million roof featuring 70 solar panels and a 500 litre rainwater tank under the car park. All the water collected from the roof is now being reused to flush the toilets and wash the floors. “Our cleaning contract is a million dollar cleaning contract for the Market alone, so it’s a huge business,” Mr Williamson explains.

Sustainability is a core tenet at South Melbourne Market, with 65 per cent of waste including cooking oils and fish, meat and chicken offal being recycled. All waste polystyrene is exported to a company in China to be manufactured into coat hangers. To streamline recycling operations, the Market has introduced co-mingled waste. Everything goes into one bin, and there is no separation. “We’ve been doing tests on that which have confirmed that it is still acceptable for processing,” says Mr Williamson.

The Markets of Melbourne are unbeatable on quality, sustainability, customer service and charm. There is nothing like wandering through the Prahran, Queen Victoria and South Melbourne Markets to do the weekly shopping, take a cooking class, celebrate culture and soak up the atmosphere. Experience something special; delve into the aromas and flavours, sights and sounds of the Markets of Melbourne and become a part of the community.

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

December 19, 2018, 9:21 AM AEDT