In the early days of the SAGE Farmers Market in Moruya, some customers were so enthusiastic that they would often start browsing before stallholders were ready to sell. The market organisers were forced to institute a bell, rung promptly at 3 pm, to allow everyone the chance to set up and prepare themselves before the hordes arrived!
But now shoppers have the opportunity to ”beat the bell” by doing their shopping online through the recently reinstated e-market.
“The e-market is quite an innovation,” said SAGE vice-president Peter Heyward.
“It proved particularly popular during the peak of the COVID pandemic.”
Shoppers can access the e-market between midday Friday and midday Monday, and then have the option to pick up their pre-packed produce from the Tuesday market, or have it delivered by a volunteer for a small fee.
SAGE (Sustainable Agriculture Gardening Eurobodalla) is a not-for-profit, community-based organisation working to create and support a sustainable, fair food economy on the NSW South Coast, and striving for food sovereignty for local communities.
Other SAGE initiatives include the farming incubator program Stepping Stone Farm, regular workshops and events, produce swaps, seed saving, and home gardening programs. Stepping Stone Farm has a stall at the market, as do several of its graduates, who are now running their own successful market garden enterprises.
The SAGE Farmers Market has a range of stallholders selling fresh fruit and vegetables; regeneratively farmed lamb, beef and pork; free-range eggs; handmade preserves; fresh bread; Clyde River oysters; and seafood from Narooma. The market is an invaluable opportunity for small-scale growers to engage directly with their customers and sell their produce for a fair price.
Mr Heyward said there were up to 15 growers who listed their produce on the e-market.
“The prolonged wet weather has delayed the usual abundance of the spring harvest but growers are expecting increased production with warmer and more settled weather,” he said.
“Customers should soon have a wide choice of beautiful fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruits, along with all the other products available on the market.”
Shopping online can’t replace the atmosphere, community connection and fun of the market, but it will be a practical way for more Eurobodalla locals to shop ethically and engage with farmers in their area. The e-market will benefit people who don’t have their own transport, who might want to avoid crowds for health reasons, or who are simply too busy on a Tuesday afternoon to make it in person regularly.
The SAGE Farmers Market is at Riverside Park, Moruya, and runs from 3 pm on Tuesday.
Shop online at the SAGE NSW Inc Moruya Farmers Market e-market between 12pm on Friday and 12pm on Monday.
Delivery is available to Malua Bay in the north to Tuross Head in the south.