After years of planning the first Warragul Farmers’ Market was held this morning, and with an estimated attendance of 2,000 people its future looks strong. William Kulich reports.
Reporter, William PJ Kulich: On a weekend with a good weather forecast the turnout for the first Warragul Farmers’ Market was likely to be good, and for locals who’ve waited years for the event the morning out was irresistible.
Erika McInerney, market manager: It’s been an amazing turnout. We’ve got amazing weather despite the week and everyone looks to be really happy and people are leaving with full shopping bags which is what we want to see.
Reporter: An estimated 2,000 people visited the 50 market stalls today and managers Sallie Jones and Erica McInerney say the event will run monthly all year, changing with the seasons.
Sallie Jones: We’ve been working this, probably recruiting stallholders (sic) for the last year, but, you know, it all comes together sort of in the last week doesn’t it, so, it’s seasonal and it’ll be changing each market depending what’s being grown in the season.
Pictured: Narracan MP Gary Blackwood joins Ms Jones and Ms McInerney to open the market. Photos by reporter.
Reporter: And the pairing of the Farmers’ Market with the Warragul Arts market in the same place on the same day has worked well.
Erika McInerney: We just thought it would be a good mix because we are a farmers’ market so we’re only really selling food, and they’re selling obviously beautiful arts and crafts and we thought we’d create a bit of a festival atmosphere and spread out so it’s been really nice to see people coming and going from the arts market to us and vice versa.
Reporter: And for stallholders sales have been strong.
Leslie Smith, Jindi Farm Bush Foods: Oh it’s been massive! We’ve sold out! So it’s just been fantastic and I think having it alongside the Arts Market as well has just reinforced and doubled up the crowd, it’s just been sensational.
Jane Gray, Kouark Vineyard and Winery: We’ll be hear regularly because this is a wonderful way to get your product into the community. This is right in Warragul, this is something people have been wanting and looking for for a long time and yes, we’re going to be well supported always.
Aris Wolswinkel, Bees Business: It’s a lovely opportunity to meet people it sort of has a lot of advantages for my side as well because I think it’s a very important sort of thing that the public gets the chance to taste what they buy.
Reporter: Warragul’s market is on the same day as a similar market in Drouin, but Baw Baw Shire mayor Murray Cook says that was unavoidable and is not an issue.
Murray Cook, Baw Baw Shire Mayor: I think we have reached a compromise. It will compete with the Drouin market but whatever day it was going to be on it was going to compete with something, the idea being now is it’s a bit like the McDonald’s and Kentucky approach.: have two of them close together, people coming out of Melbourne, they’ll say ‘oh, we can go to two markets so we’ll go down to Warragul and Drouin.’
Reporter: Locals have embraced the market, both for its atmosphere and for the access to local produce.
Vox pop: It’s reassuring to know that the origins are local and healthy.
Vox pop: There’s not many markets like this around here in Latrobe Valley but I think this is the first one they’ve had and I reckon by the look around with the people it’s been a fantastic day.
Reporter: And with stallholders looking forward to sales close to Christmas, next month’s market is expected to go well too. William Kulich for The Warragul Citizen.
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