Cradle Coast Farmers' Market - Supporting Local Tasmanian Producers
Publishedon 22/09/2014 - 02:25 am
What do you get when you combine several local farmers wanting to avoid early weekend morning starts at farmers’ markets further afield, with local dedicated and passionate foodies? A small dynamic not for profit group running a weekly riverside farmer’s market, complete with the dramatic Dial Range as a backdrop!
Welcome to Cradle Coast Farmers' Market – held each Sunday from 8.30am-12.30pm at The Wharf, Ulverstone. This is a true farmers' market, making a name for themselves by connecting locals and farmers with an enticing range of award winning, fresh produce – much to the delight of the local council, who are happy to see their shiny newly redeveloped wharf building being used, engaging their community on a regular basis.
The growing popularity of farmers’ markets across Australia reflect that consumers are more interested in buying local, knowing where their food comes from and supporting local economies, communities and industries. Every weekend whether in a capital city or small regional town, farmers’ markets are cropping up to satisfy this desire. In Tasmania over the last few years, farmers' and growers' markets have become part of our weekend shopping landscape. From Huonville to King Island, farmers’ markets occur most weekends.
How can you tell if you are at a true farmers' market?
There are a few questions you need to ask before knowing if a farmers’ market is authentic. If you aren’t speaking to the grower, farmer or producer of a food item you are about to buy, or there are craft items, books or people selling other people’s produce (these are known as resellers or onsellers), and other non food items - chances are it is not an authentic farmers’ market. “What is?” you may ask.
The definition of an authentic farmers’ market is:
- A Farmers' Market is a predominantly fresh food market that operates regularly within a community, at a focal public location that provides a suitable environment for farmers and food producers to sell farm-origin and associated value-added foods and plant products directly to customers. http://farmersmarkets.org.au/about/definition
Recent research by Australia’s Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation showed that farmers’ markets deliver:
- fresh, local, seasonal food
- the ability to chat direct with the grower, maker and farmer
- wider community benefits like social wellbeing, tourism and regional economic outcomes
- ability for farmers to increase their share of the retail dollar
Cradle Coast Farmers' Market Held Each Sunday in Ulverstone
Since October 2013, every Sunday morning - rain, hail or shine, Cradle Coast Farmers’ Market has grown; both the people and produce. Around 37 local farmers and producers are members, offering seasonally, anything from eggs, beef, pork, walnuts, buffalo, venison, goat, lamb, feijoas, to fresh milk and artisanal cheese. In addition, cupboard staples like sourdough and wood fired breads, preserves, fresh (including gluten free) pasta, fresh herbs, honey, vinegar and olive oil are also available regularly.
Vegetable baskets are filled with usuals like heirloom tomatoes, basil, potatoes, beetroot, lettuce, fresh and green garlic and leafy green Asian vegetables. There are also some less common veggies on offer too, for example the Bulgarian giant leek - which can be seen in the photograph growing up to Mai’s (the farmer) waist, yams and edible flowers. Locally produced beverages are provided in the form of wine, cider and cordials. Grab delicious baked and value added goodies from walnut and fetta savoury rolls, buffalo pies, the thickest vanilla slice you can hold in your hand, wicked whisky brownies to garlic infused salts and jellies.
Growing potatoes, apples, or producing wine or cider does not necessarily guarantee a site at Cradle Coast Farmers' Market. There are typically criteria to be met, some but not all of which are:
- The farmer must grow the produce being sold on their farm/property
- Only Tasmanian, or at least a certain percentage of Tasmanian produce is permitted (for example sugar is exempt as it is not a crop grown in Tasmania, but flour is)
- Sellers must comply with council food hygiene standards and hold a food business certificate
- Must have appropriate certification if marketing a product as ‘organic’
- Sellers must also hold public and product liability insurance
Having the odd recipe up your sleeve to help show off your product is very helpful too!
Bring your dog, grab some lunch
Given that Cradle Coast is a Sunday farmers’ market, people like to take it easy and stroll down with their dog and shop for their lunch, evening or weekly meals, and then hang around for breakfast. The cooked food options on offer to accompany locally blended coffee are lush Lebanese vegetarian hot soup and felafels complete with homemade pickled turnip. Pulled pork tacos, lamb burgers, chorizo and chickpea curry (picture to the side) may also be on offer.
Many of the ready to eat foods are cooked using other stallholders' produce. For example, Cam’s Bakehouse flourless beetroot and chocolate cake uses beetroot from Old School Farm.
During winter, great juice combinations and warming vegetable soups are offered. In summer, fresh cordials, berries and cherries are snapped up as quickly as they come off the back of the truck. While most patrons come by foot or park their car in the car park, some have been known to arrive by jet ski!
Plenty of four legged patrons also cruise around, and are kept well fed with pig and buffalo doggy treats (pictured to the side). Some are more unusual than others, eg. a pet pig (on a leash of course) and an orphaned joey kangaroo! Each have their own story - ‘Kassie’ for example, is training to be a Delta Dog, and needs to be amongst crowds and to familiarise herself with different smells.
Customers show their appreciation with a big thumbs up
Many shoppers ranging from 26-65 years of age provided great feedback about Cradle Coast Farmers Market in their recent survey. Here’s what they liked most:
- The location and atmosphere, and the fact that the market is child and dog friendly
- The range of produce on offer, and friendly service provided by stallholders
- The freshness of produce, with no chemical sprays used
- That they are supporting local farmers and economy
- The ability to talk directly with the grower, and having access to seasonal food
- The reasonable prices (around 40% of customers are health care card holders)
Award winning Tasmanian produce
Many of the Cradle Coast Farmers Market producers are regular award winners - for example Tasmanian Fine Food Awards have been won for olive oil, honey, artisan bread and berry jam.
Regular national olive oil industry awards have also gone to Cradle Coast Olives. Cradle Coast Olives’ 2014 harvest oil was just two days old when it first came to market; it was grass green and peppery on the palate, which is perfect for a leafy salad.
This year’s Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards saw Manubread enter and win for the first time, resulting in gold medals for their sourdough bread and brioche, silver for their sourdough loaf and two bronzes for the traditional grain baguette and lemon tart.
The inaugural Field Guide to Tasmanian Produce and North West Pantry books also feature a number of the growers, producers and providers.
Local buskers add the final laid back Sunday morning mooching feel to the market, and free WIFI is also available – as will soon be the morning paper! For a state that is renowned worldwide for its outstanding fresh produce, this event is a true gem for Tasmania - and a market not to be missed if you are looking for a true farmers market experience.
Cradle Coast Farmers' Market celebrate their one year anniversary on October 19th – come along and join them!
For all enquiries related to the Cradle Coast Farmers' Market please contact -
Lee-Anne Mundy – President.
Cradle Coast Farmers’ Market – Every Sunday @ the wharf
3 Wharf Road, Ulerstone, Tasmania 7325
Phone : 0497 622 311
Australian Farmers Market Association http://farmersmarkets.org.au/about/definition
Understanding the characteristics of Australian farmers’ markets. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Australian Government June 2014 RIRDS publication No 14/040