Market seeks makers as well as growers

John Everson's stall at the Tenterfield Farmers and Producers Market offers a variety of plant-based items.
John Everson's stall at the Tenterfield Farmers and Producers Market offers a variety of plant-based items.

Do you have a hobby that – with a little effort – could be turned into a small business? Or just need an outlet for what you’re producing anyway, or looking for entrepreneurial ideas?

Tenterfield’s new Farmers and Producers Market each Saturday (except first of the month) at the Uniting Church Hall continues to draw in those looking for fresh, unique products and a social catch-up. Around a dozen stalls set up each week, with core stallholders joined each week by others that come and go.

Elizabeth Melling, of Granite Borders Landcare who coordinates the markets, said one of the advantages of the setup is that stallholders don’t have to commit to turning up each week. It can be a matter of just taking a stall when you have something to sell, or even leaving products to sell on the community table to gauge interest.

“As a hobbyist, you come along and test the waters,” Mrs Melling said.

Some with an existing home business have had success in participating just one Saturday, handing out contact details and generating more business for themselves.

The organisers are keen to broaden the range of stallholders participating in the markets as winter approaches and less fresh produce is available. Already there’s a variety of non-produce items being offered, such as hand-made jewellery and kokedamas (a form of hanging planter).

Potential stallholders are encouraged to identify niches that they can fill, with organisers happy to lend a hand to work out potential opportunities.

Granite Borders Landcare is casting a wider net to attract a range of stalls, but should there be a clash in stall market offerings, locals will be given preference. 

Mrs Melling said new starters shouldn’t feel daunted as the market community is very supportive.

“There’s a nice feel about the markets,” she said.

“It’s a supportive, welcoming environment.”

Keen cooks may even be able to earn some pocket money (and then some) providing freshly baked goods. Mrs Melling said she’d love to see scones, for instance, being offered, and there’s nothing wrong with being quite specialised.

There are food safety requirements to be met to sell some products, but Mrs Melling said there is help available to navigate these requirements, and access can arranged in a certified kitchen for a big cooking day.

Even those with a good crop of fruit on the backyard trees can find an outlet here.

Anyone feeling underemployed or looking for extra income could well use the markets as a launching pad for a new business, with little outlay. Stalls cost $15 ($10 if you have your own insurance), or $5 to leave goods on the community table.

Granite Borders Landcare has also secured funding to run workshops to support those starting up a new business. Help with concepts like branding, social media marketing and even styling will soon be scheduled.

Mrs Carpenter with Tia, Jodie and Richard Magner.

Mrs Carpenter with Tia, Jodie and Richard Magner.