Home' Smart Farmer : July 2010 Contents July 2010
By SARAH SLEE
DIVERSITY of producers, in
size and product, is one of
the biggest assets of South
Australian farmers markets, says
Barossa Farmers Market chairman
He believes markets should
remain independent and unique,
and says the Barossa market does
not support the formation of a peak
body in this State.
"We consulted with our
stallholders about the idea of a state
peak body," he said.
"The grower and producer
experience with peak bodies,
particularly in agricultural
industries, has not been universally
positive. There is a belief that peak
bodies tend to create a sense of
uniformity through accreditation
programs, which is the very
antithesis of what farmers markets
are about. Our growers' concern is
that having a 'cookie cutter'
approach to what constitutes a
farmers market is a sort of
McDonald's approach to developing
the farmers market brand in SA."
Farmers markets should be
culturally and financially strong and
disciplined to maintain their
authenticity. Mr Maul, encouraged
sharing of information between
markets to develop a strong farmers
market brand in this State.
He rejected the notion of a peak
body, saying the number of farmers
markets in SA did not warrant it.
Barossa stallholders were also
concerned about additional costs,
and questioned the 'bogey man'
reasons given about the need of
such an association.
"There is a mountain of evidence
from elsewhere in the world to
suggest that having a peak body,
with accreditation and regulation of
markets, does not ensure
authenticity. What does ensure it is
having farmers markets with boards
and managers who are empowered
to make decisions about what they
regard as being a genuine farmers'
market. It should not be up to a
peak body to determine what is
right for a particular market.
Interestingly, I understand that the
national body (National Farmers
Market Association) wants to focus
more on celebrating diversity and
less on introducing accreditation
programs." The Barossa Farmers
Market was determined to remain
independent, which many believed
the part of its charm.
Rather than adopt the
membership model common at
other SA markets, Barossa Farmers
Market generates income from a
breakfast bar, run by community
Mr Maul said this form of income
allowed the market to maintain
very low stallholder fees, payable
on a weekly basis, enabling small,
Barossa staying authentic
Focus on redistribution of food
Market funded by breakfast bar
Barossa rejects 'cookie cutter'
with ZANNIE FLANAGAN, CEO Adelaide Showground
Accreditation equals 'trust'
LAST month I attended the NZ
Farmers Market Conference in
Hamilton. The city has a population of
200,000 and is surrounded by some of
the best farming land in NZ, watered
by the mighty Waikato River that cuts
an impressive swathe through the
heart of the city.
The conference was organised by
the NZ Farmers Market Association
and was attended by a number of
overseas guests representing farmers
market organisations from
Washington DC, the United Kingdom
and the Victorian Farmers Market
The Victorians, the UK Association
and the NZ Association have all
embarked on developing and rolling
out versions of a 'real' Farmers Market
accreditation program, and much of
the discussion at the conference was
centered around the pros and cons of
The UK model is based not on indi-
vidual stallholder authentication but
on individual market authentication.
They ask producers to sign the equiva-
lent of a statutory declaration pro-
claiming their authenticity as farmers.
This is deposited with the UK equiva-
lent of the ACCC. It is then up to them
to check the credentials of producers.
Similarly, the NZ and Victorian asso-
ciations use market authentication
systems that do not require individual
producers to be verified by farm visits,
but instead rely largely on systems of
trust. It was interesting to see that all
three organisations accepted the
premise that in an ideal world, any
system should be backed up by
authentication, firstly of individual
producers and then by the markets
themselves. The UK association is
actively working towards this.
Generally, the accreditation systems
already in place use an 80 /20 rule of
thumb which means that if 80 per
cent of the producers of any one mar-
ket are ridgy-didge farmers and food
producers, according to their market
rules, then the market qualifies for an
accrediation certificate validating their
status as an authentic farmers market.
With strong continued growth of
farmers markets predicted in SA, there
is no doubt in my mind that customer
trust in farmers markets could be put
at risk if such a system is not imple-
Customer trust must not be under-
estimated or undermined.
• Details: firstname.lastname@example.org
SELLING at Barossa Farmers Market has provided biological
garlic growers Daryl and Ornella Powell with valuable
exposure for their business, and has given them the confi-
dence to expand.
The Powells trade as Para Glen Produce and grow several
varieties, including pink and purple garlic at Upper
Hermitage. Even though they are not based in the Barossa, the
Powells were accepted by the market because no other producer was selling
garlic there. "People at the market are very aware of imported garlic and it's
great to see how dedicated they are to Australian produce - especially local-
ly-grown," Ornella said. "They are so enthusiastic; very aware of where their
food is coming from, and enjoy talking to growers."
The Powells are in their third year of garlic production and because they
are smallscale growers, selling direct to consumers is ideal for their business.
The Powells aim to expand into other farmers markets, and also hope to
break into the gourmet restaurant market. "Feedback from the farmers mar-
ket has been phenomenal," Ornella said.
ROLF Egert (pictured)
has been on the
board of the
Market since its for-
mation and is keen
to see it expand and
He works for
Angaston-based Kurianda Barossa in
his spare time, producing table olives,
oils, sauces, chutneys, dukkahs, vine-
gars and honey.
Rolf's produce is sold through SA
Regional Food, and he is well-sup-
ported by local restaurants and winer-
ies. The Barossa Farmers Market has
extended his market reach.
"The farmers market has become
an icon in the valley and visitors take
our produce back overseas with
them," Rolf said.
"Some people try my products at
the market, and
then I get mail
them." he said.
Natural food travels well
Market boost for garlic
backyard or part-time producers to
attend the market.
"Our market is about re-
distributing food already within the
region, rather than seeing it go to
waste." he said.
"If someone has a tree full
of lemons, they can bring
them along and sell them
at our community table.
It's not about size, it's
about encouraging the
exchange of food at a
regional level and
ensuring that people can
buy their food directly
from those who grew or
produced that food."
Barossa Farmers Market
manager Maria Yfantidis
said the market was not
just a shop, but a part
of the community.
"It brings Barossa
"They come and have breakfast at
the breakfast bar, do their shopping
and make a day of it."
The market is now in its ninth
year and has 120 registered
stallholders. A vibrant market with a
unique atmosphere, the market is
also a tourist attraction and
generates increased revenue for local
"Tourists come, they meet the
stallholders and buy some local
produce in the mornings, then they
go out and visit the region's wineries
and other attractions in the
afternoon," Ms Yfantidis said.
The market is all about
supporting the local community,
and its formation has helped many
local producers to expand their
businesses and remain viable.
"By coming to the market,
producers are getting great
exposure," Ms Yfantidis said.
They learn about value adding,
and what customers want, and their
returns go straight back into the
business. With the market being on
a weekly basis, it gives them a
"We would like to do more with
the community and help to educate
the younger generation about
produce, and how to eat well.
"The market is not simply about
making money for stallholders -- it's
about the community celebrating
what we grow and supporting each
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