“It’s Saturday morning in Margaret River and the market is bustling. Producers have been up since first light to prepare their produce, stalls packed and ready. As the sun rises and warms the day, customers arrive with their shopping bags and trolleys, keen to see what seasonal delights the market has to offer. Some are locals doing their regular weekly shop; others are weekend visitors exploring the market for gourmet delicacies.
The breakfast bar and coffee van are doing great business, and people take the time to stop and chat to the stall holders and with others from their community. Music adds a festival atmosphere; children play, dance and cast coins into the buskers’ welcoming hats. Baskets and bags are laden with fresh fruit and vegies, olive oil, locally raised meats, bread and handmade cheese.
Perhaps there will be a special treat of handmade chocolate or cake for the kids, nougat and a bottle of wine for the grown-ups. Back at home, the kitchen will be filled with healthy local produce, much of it organic, and all farmed and made with passion, care and consideration for the health and wellbeing of a community and the land we call home.”
The Margaret River Farmers’ Market has been a feature of the region for over 13 years. From humble beginnings the market has grown to be a Saturday morning fixture with up to 50 stalls. Only producers from the local Shires and surrounding south west are eligible to set up a stall, and the stalls are operated by the people who grow or make the produce. This makes the Margaret River Market one of only a few genuine Farmers’ Markets in the state.
The Farmers’ Market is a business incubator, with local producers testing new products and developing new enterprises from the opportunity created by its thriving, vibrant atmosphere. Each market features a breakfast bar run by a local charity, school or sporting organisation to raise funds for their cause.
In an environment where food supply in Australia is increasingly controlled by large supermarket chains, the market is an important alternative outlet for produce and an integral part of successful farmers’ businesses. Customers can connect with the producers of the food they eat, and feel confident that the produce has a low carbon footprint, supports local livelihoods, and helps to preserve the environmental integrity of the Margaret River Region.