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To market, To market…

To market, To market…

by October 14, 2014

Farmers Markets – By Roselle Tenefrancia

 

When one of the little pigs decided to go to the market, I doubt that he or she was off to an air-conditioned grocery store across the street, somewhere among the high rise buildings. In his or her time, there was no such thing as a supermarket, I suppose.

WHAT IS A FARMERS’ MARKET?

A farmers’ market is a market where local farmers and growers sell produce directly to the public. They serve not just as a place for farmers to get the best price and consumers to get the best products, but as venues for producers and consumers of food to come together and exchange information.

Farmers’ markets open once a week in each location. That means there’s something to look forward to on a weekend, or on a specific weekday. And because most farmers’ markets on the Gold Coast are also food markets, it’s a great place to experience a variety of gourmet and fresh artisan delights. And when there’s food, there’s a reason to come together with family and friends for a weekly catch-up or simply to have a fun and vibrant outdoor shopping and eating experience.

But more than the taste-bud treats, farmers’ markets offer us a wide variety of produce options. Our family goes to the Gold Coast Turf Club market in Bundall every Sunday because it’s near our home and we have established which stallholder we buy our favourite vegetables and fruits from. But we also try new ones every now and then, and because there are many vegetable and fruit stalls, there will always be something new to buy. The best part is you get to taste them before you decide which one you want to buy.

A smaller market we go to is the Emerald Lakes Gourmet Food and Farmers’ market in Carrarra. We go here because it’s open on Thursdays, a time when most of the Sunday purchases have already been consumed. There are fewer produce stalls, but the variety of gourmet food to choose from makes it an attractive venue to go to.

Although we have our regular markets, we do explore around the city and have been to most of the other farmers’ markets (and the non-farmers ones) on the Gold Coast.

LOCAL FOR THE LOCALS

The Gold Coast may not be known for farmlands, but its neighbouring hinterlands and regional townships are its main source of local produce. Unless you grow your own, these farmers’ markets are your best place to shop.

One may be surprised at the number of farmers’ markets within the city. Because of varied venues, each one has its own character and its own vibe. The locations of the Gold Coast farmers’ markets are in strategic suburbs so most people who go there are locals of the suburb and neighbouring ones.

BENEFITS OF SHOPPING IN A LOCAL FARMERS’ MARKET

There’s nothing healthier than being outdoors. It’s always good for one’s wellbeing and state of mind. “Outdoor markets have a great vibe, much more relaxing than a shopping centre,” as Tamsin McGuin of Produce of the Pier Market describes.

There’s the freshness aspect in farmers’ markets. You can choose from a variety of stalls and actually know where they come from. Whether the goods come from regional Queensland or Northern New South Wales, you’re always assured that what you get are not imported from somewhere that takes a whole day to drive to.

Most farmers sell seasonal produce. You’ll be assured that there’s nothing forced in growing vegetables and fruits just to get them out in the markets before they’re even in season. This means you get more of the nutrients and flavours from the produce that you buy.

Gourmet food abounds in these markets. And you will enjoy the gustatory choices of food that you won’t find in commercial centres or anywhere else. Then there’s the atmosphere of fun and entertainment, of the familiar and of interactions, much like a public square.

“These days supporting small business and local trade is in the forefront of people’s minds, aligning with ideas such as making positive choices for the environment and ensuring a fresh and healthy lifestyle,” says McGuin. Buying directly from the farmers provides direct benefits to the farmers as well.

Farmers’ markets used to be overtaken by the commercial supermarkets in the past few decades, but are now a growing trend on the Gold Coast communities. Perhaps it is the dynamism and the vibrant social energy of these markets that attract people. Perhaps it is also the need for a fresh and positive change in consumer attitudes that make these markets click. It can be a whole lot of other reasons, but one thing’s for sure: these markets are definitely growing and should be here to stay.

 To know which local markets are near your area, you may check the following websites:

http://www.yourlocalmarkets.com.au/index.cfm

http://www.farmersmarkets.org.au/markets#qld

http://goldcoastfarmersmarkets.com.au/

http://www.producebythepier.com.au/

https://www.facebook.com/EmeraldLakesMarkets

https://www.facebook.com/MarinaMirageFarmersMarket

http://gcorganicmarket.com/

https://www.facebook.com/TheLohasPrecinct

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