Tenterfield will feature its own weekly farmers market come October 21, in the Uniting Church grounds each Saturday (excluding the first Saturday of the month) from 8am to noon.
Behind the push to bring together local food producers and consumers is Lana Tyacke, who is well acquainted with the benefits of farmers markets. She was involved with the Uki farmers market for many years, and is keen to see similar positive outcomes here.
She loves the way such markets help people to connect, be it consumers able to meet the people who grew their food, or producers getting feedback on their efforts.
“It helps to build a resilient community, and keeps money in the community,” Lana said.
It also reduces ‘food miles’, the distance travelled between where something is produced and where it is consumed.
While she envisions a time when more producers are growing crops specifically for the market (ideally based on feedback identifying opportunities), to start with she assumes that much of what’s on offer will be the surplus from someone’s garden.
For a consistent supply she said practices such as permaculture, winter gardens and extending the growing season will have to explored, just as she is doing in her own market garden.
While she expects to see a wider selection of vegetables as the season progresses, so far she has stallholders lined up offering dairy products, leafy green vegetables, fruit, eggs, honey, cut flowers, goats milk products, preserves, seedlings, baked goods and even silver jewellery. Handmade crafts are welcome, as long as they’re produced locally.
Community groups have an opportunity to man the weekly sausage sizzle, with the Westpac Helicopter Support Group taking first shift. Other stalls will also be offering cooked food, showcasing local produce.
Around a dozen stalls are locked in for the inaugural market, with Lana confident of more stallholders as produce comes on. She said the market gives keen gardeners an opportunity to make some pocket money. It’s also provides an outlet for those gardening on a larger scale, but not large enough to warrant freight costs to city outlets.
It may even be an incentive for someone to start a new business.
The other side of the equation is the buyers, and Lana said the market’s success relies on consumers to support it. Much of the fresh produce could be picked the morning of the market which she said maintains its life force, which can translate to that of the community.
“There’s a nice community feel around the markets,” Lana said.
“Everyone’ fed, there’s an exchange of information and it serves as a meeting place.”
There’s even an opportunity for live entertainment, with buskers invited to contact Lana at email@example.com.
In the meantime, market-goers are encouraged to bring-their-own bags and a community attitude, and gather at the Uniting Church grounds for the first farmers market on Saturday, October 21 from 8am until noon.