Are Farmers Markets Really Farmers Markets?

pepmeup 9 May 2009 45

G’day all,

Just a quick question are the Farmers Markets in Canberra really Farmers Markets?

It seems every winter there is very little change in whats available to purchase!

I struggle to grown anything in my little veggie patch during the colder months. Can the variety offered really come from local farmers?

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45 Responses to Are Farmers Markets Really Farmers Markets?
pepmeup pepmeup 11:25 am 04 Jul 09

this article in the weekly times is well worth a read, yes it is melbourne and not canberra but there are some common themes


chokubaijo chokubaijo 5:38 pm 03 Jul 09

Just a quick note on local fresh produce at the farmers markets.

Gleann na Meala, one of the original stall holders of the market, has just become certified organic. The farm is only 14km from the market and the veg is picked on friday to be sold on saturday.

So it is a local producer of fresh organic veg at the markets

GB GB 12:56 pm 06 Jun 09

JJ: shiny, not red. And small. Wouldn’t mistake them for greenhouse ones!

Our jalapeños are still going too — despite the insane efforts of the possums to eat every jalapeño and every leaf. The winter greens are flowering – I suppose they think its spring.

Is anyone still picking good tomatoes, or is it just the plants struggling on?

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 12:10 pm 06 Jun 09

If you are there early enough, and have a discerning eye, good produce can be bought at Jamison Trash and Treasure. Some of the small market garden, I presume local, stuff is first rate.

sepi sepi 12:10 pm 06 Jun 09

My pumpkin vine has melted out in the open, but the parts where it escaped into the long grass or the garden beds are doing fine.

Same for tomatoes – the ones out in the open are gone, but the ones next to the brick wall are still green and healthy.

ant ant 12:04 pm 06 Jun 09

I’ve had a few semi-frosts (I’m above the frost line usually), my pumpkin plant melted during that first cold snap we got. But not enough to seriously bother the jalapenos, evidently. The nasturtiums in my veggie garden are goign crazy, they’re taking over! and they’re self-seeding, too. I always thought they were frost-sensitive, but these ones certainly aren’t.

jjoking jjoking 11:54 am 06 Jun 09

the grass in the car park at epic this morning was frozen.

jjoking jjoking 11:51 am 06 Jun 09

also most of canberra has already had a frost anislie must be the place to grow good veg. Pete the plant man at the markets ( he usually has cheap potted colour) has a farm on the upper molonglo near oaks estate last saturday it was -4 at his place, most of canberra missed that one due to the wind

ant ant 11:49 am 06 Jun 09

My jalapenos are still struggling on, too. I left a few fruit on, when I had a big pickling frezy in May, to see how they’d go. They slowed down to almost nothing, but there’s no evident damage. Snow’s coming this weekend, and frosts late next week.

jjoking jjoking 11:49 am 06 Jun 09

GB are they shiny and red?

GB GB 11:34 am 06 Jun 09

Thanks JJ, and well done, Rotary. You run a good event — its a shame a few d*ckheads means you have to be the police as well.

Mind you, we still have capsicums in our garden in Ainslie, in June! When’s the frost coming? Where are we going, and why am I in this handbasket?

ant ant 11:21 am 06 Jun 09

Good info, jjoking, resurrecting old stories is fine, and that info was definitely very germaine. I too lift an eyebrow at things like eggplants and capsicums at local markets at this time of year! If they grew them in this district, they must have a heck of a hot glasshouse and very bright lights.

jjoking jjoking 10:00 am 06 Jun 09

Sorry for writing on such an old thread, but i noticed today that one of the more dodgy stalls was missing from the market. when i asked one of my favourite stall holders about it he mentioned that the rotarians were due to do a farm vist to the stall holder in question and when rotary called the stall holder said dont bother we will stop coming. So that is a great result well done rotary keep up the good work i still think there are a few too many shiny queensland eggpland and red caps at the market. But it looks like you guys and girls are starting to clean it up thanks

ant ant 10:18 am 16 May 09

There’s some very good info coming out here. Yes, the average city-dwelling Canberran seems to have little idea about what can be grown here, and when. Which is why I lift an eyebrow and make cynical statements, but the recent posters have explained the issues very well.

There used to be a huge market gardening operation here… Hills up Kalaroo Road, past Rodneys. Where the Pialligo Estate vineyard now is. They had quite a big operation, growing veggie crops like crucifers and turnip-family stuff in winter, lettuce etc in summer, using the good soil laid down by teh ancient river that is now the Molonglo.

There’s a big operation at Bredbo, too, mainly spuds and you’ll often see them being sold in big bags at Mother Natures.

There are still local growers of fruit and veggies and meat in teh region, but there’s less every year, and many of the newer ones are boutique operations.

Right now, it’s the tail-end of the apple season. Grannies, mainly, and then that’s it. But the number of people here who appear in spring, looking for apples, is quite astonishing. The sight of the trees just getting their blossom and new leaves on doesn’t seem to penetrate their minds at all, perhaps they think apples are like potatoes, and grow underground?!

There’s certainly considerable pressure for sellers to bring in unseasonal stuff (even from China) to feed this demand.

economicrisis09 economicrisis09 9:06 am 16 May 09

sepi said :

I still have tomatoes growing in my garden, so there could still be some local ones.

I think the market does a good job. The produce would cost twice as much if they were out inspecting every farm every week.

Interesting comment. The inspecting would be done by Hall rotary so i can’t see how that would put up the prices unless that it meant the “farmers” would actually have to grow the produce which might cost them more than buying in Bulk from Queensland. I understand that through the Farmers market hall rotary has become one of the most profitable rotaries, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to me for them to spend a little ensuring that the produce sold there is genuine. It shouldn’t be looked at as a perpetual money tree for the organisers, but rather the fantastic showpiece that needs continual investment.

jjoking jjoking 8:52 am 16 May 09

This week I went to the markets with a plan to find out whats what. I asked every stall holder (that wasnot too busy) that I usually buy from what they thought of the markets and if every thing their was sold by who ever grew it. Just about every stall holder told me that they believed that there are a lot of people breaking the rules. some of them admit they are breaking the rules because people want some things they can’t grow. But they did say there are about 10-20 fruit and veg growers in the market that are mostlt trying to do the wright thing.

It was a very interesting listeing to the stall holders and what they have to say about fresh produce. Give it a try next week.

sepi sepi 3:31 pm 13 May 09

I still have tomatoes growing in my garden, so there could still be some local ones.

I think the market does a good job. The produce would cost twice as much if they were out inspecting every farm every week.

chokubaijo chokubaijo 3:18 pm 13 May 09

che the next Gleann na meala open day (the farm side of Choku Bai Jo) will probably be in spring. sorry for late response.

economicrisis09 economicrisis09 3:14 pm 11 May 09

“If you ever go to the EPIC markets and see things you think came from the Sydney Wholesale market, tell the organisers and the stall will be kicked out unless they can prove it’s source.”

Sounds like a good idea Taco (in Principle) Last year a couple of stall holders were kicked out unfortunately this was after selling produce they had purchased from wholesalers at the Sydney markets for over two years. Another Stall holder was kicked out this year, this time only 6 months too late. The rotary club does try its best to monitor the situation, however it is pretty hard to expect them to actually know what is grown by the farmers when the monitoring is done by the rotarians, most of whom(rotarians in general) are retired or executive level public servants, with little or nno farming experience themselves. Does Hall rotary have any food production experts in their ranks? And are these “experts” visiting farms on a regular basis?
The reality is unfortunately that there will always be profiteers and conmen who will try to sell produce as their own. And i think fair play to them as most Canberrans probably don’t mind paying more for the same products as Coles/Woolworths/Fyswick-Belconnen Markets as long as they can tell their friends they got them at the farmers markets. If Champagne socialists/environmentalists need the CRFM as a placebo then good for them.

To be honest i actually think that the name of the market should be changed. Although Capital region farmers market was quite accurate at the beginning there are now only about 15-20 (being very generous) legitimate farmers with about 50-80 stall holders who might not have ever even been on a farm. These producers make food locally- for example you can buy chocolate made here in Canberra. What does that mean, well Cocoa is grown in either in Africa or central america shipped to Holland and made into chocolate then shipped to Canberra where it is melted down and added to Queensland ginger. I think the chocolates are delicious, and luckily i don’t claim to be a locavore because the food miles on each of those little chocolates is pretty scary, hence the price i guess.
I go to the East Australian Producers markets and visit the 6 or so real farmers that i get produce from every week. Almost everything i have written i have found out from the local farmers (that i have been seeing there every week for the last 4 years), from the guys in rotary jackets wandering around or just my own observations. I make sure i go early as parking can be a little tricky, lol. For everything else i go to my local grocer.

jjoking jjoking 2:23 pm 11 May 09

What we have to understand is people dont always tell the truth,

asking farmers/sellers at the market about their product would be ok, if everyone there were the real deal.

But really most tomatoes and eggplant at the markets this time of year do come from queensland. some stall holders dont even bother taking them out of the boxes from wholesalers.

I have seen bleeched chinese garlic there that has been rubbed with dirt to make it look local!

there are some good guys at the markets, about 10-20 stalls the rest cheat in some ways.

No One grows sweet potato in green houses it all comes from Bunderberg.

And as for price its not cheaper check the prices people you are living in deam world.

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