CERES Community Environmental Park is arguably Melbourne’s hippie hub. CERES stands for Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies and it’s a not-for-profit, sustainable urban farm located on the banks of Merri Creek in East Brunswick.

But whether you wear hemp fisherman’s pants or carry a designer label handbag, I think everyone would enjoy a trip to CERES. There’s an organic cafe, shop, nursery, community garden, adventure playground, bike shed, conference venue, function restaurant and organic markets every Wednesday and Saturday.

The CERES Organic Cafe is a great pit-stop for your visit to CERES. A big wooden hut houses the kitchen, which cooks mainly organic food with many of the ingredients coming straight of CERES‘ organic market garden. Seating is scattered around the cafe’s wrap-around verandah, under the plastic marquee or by the shade of tea trees within sight of the kids’ sandpit. Though it’s all pretty relaxed so if you decided you wanted to louche around on a picnic blanket with your kids and pets I think that’d be ok too.

To start – iced dandelion tea ($5). I wasn’t expecting it to come with ice cream but the sweet vanilla scoop was needed to temper some of the bitterness of the tea.

The breakfast menu is very eggs-heavy (there are chooks living on site) with the most interesting version being the Indonesian eggs ($15.60). What came out was a large wholesale selection of brown rice, Asian herbs, crisp salad greens, a sweet soy sauce and a sprinkle of peanuts, all finished with two fried eggs sunny side up.

Poke your knife through the cheerful yellow yolk, cut up the whites into bite sized pieces and then toss the whole lot together with the dollop of sambal for a breakfast that’s hearty, filling and a spice sensation. Having chilli for breakfast is not for everyone but if your stomach can deal with it, I highly recommend this dish.

While I was very full, I was intrigued by the fact that the muffins were $5. I haven’t seen muffins break the $5 barrier in Melbourne before and wondered whether there was a reason they were unusually expensive. A taste test of the milk chocolate and hazelnut muffin revealed that we would have been better off saving our $5 and the calories. Amongst four people the verdict was unanimous – the muffin was too solid and dense for our liking – maybe all that almond meal inside it was what made it such an expensive item relative to everything else on the menu?

Apparently their gluten free orange and almond cake is considered one of the best in town so I’ll be trying that next time instead.

The kitchen is open until 3pm and the lunch menu looks as healthful and appetising as the breakfast options. I will definitely be returning to CERES and the CERES Organic Cafe – it’s a great day out for urbanites wanting to get in touch with their inner hippie.

For other locations where you can experience the country in the city, try the Farm Cafe at Collingwood Children’s Farm.

CERES Organic Cafe, CERES Community Environment Park, Cnr Roberts and Stewart Streets, Brunswick East +61 3 9389 0100

Monday to Friday 8.30am – 4pm
Saturday 8.30am – 5pm
Sunday 9am – 5pm

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