Last Saturday we had our monthly Farmers’ Market. It was a big occasion as we were celebrating the Market’s 10th anniversary. The day was hugely successful with extra stall holders in attendance, an abundance of fresh, delicious local produce, plants and seedlings bursting with Spring energy, swarms of people and a warm, sunny, happy day to mark the last day of Autumn.
(Photos: Adam Fardell)
I try to get as much of our fresh food from local markets as possible. I heard on the radio the other day that approximately 7% of our fresh food is now bought at Farmers’ Markets across the country. 7% and growing I’d reckon. Last weekend we bought a box of oranges which I’ve been juicing each morning for breakfast. We stocked up on olive oil, honey, freshly made bread, vegetables, cheese, gingerbread, oh and some cup cakes. Yesterday I made hummus to eat with the bag of crispy snap peas I bought. On Saturday night we had Comboyne Washed Rind Cheese served with Sticky Vanilla Figs. On Sunday we had a frittata filled with vegies from the market, bread sticks from Lizzy’s bread stall, and a salad fresh from our garden, grown from seedlings purchased at the previous market.
(Above photo: Adam Fardell)
I love having access to a Farmers’ Market. We’re fortunate that around here there is one each weekend. Some weekends you just have to drive a little further. Each month, when our local market is on, we arrive at about 9 and stay until the end at midday. The kids play and run and climb. They eat sausage sandwiches and scoff Petra’s Gingerbread. The adults chat, eat, drink coffee from Paul and Chantal’s stall and purchase fresh produce for the week ahead. It is always a happy occasion, a time for people to gather, say hello and catch up.
10 years ago a (newbie) local by the name of Helen decided that a Farmers’ Market would be a good idea. “It won’t work”, she was told. “Nobody will come”, they said. But 10 years on, last Saturday, Helen was there, face beaming, happy to celebrate what has become a regular event on the calendar and a local institution.
(Photo: Adam Fardell)
The markets are now organised by Julie and a new band of volunteers. When you live in a small community, you develop a real appreciation of just how important volunteers are and how much they achieve. Volunteers in small communities organise the local annual Show, the monthly Farmers’ Markets, the Rodeos, gymkhanas, Camp Drafts, the Balls and the bingo mornings. They ensure the local library still operates, and they mow lawns and plant trees. They give their time, their energy and their know-how to all manner of community projects.
It’s these community events and their volunteers that give a community its heart, its soul and its identity. And it’s the Helens and Julies of this world that make communities happy places, places where people feel welcome and connected. It’s the Staceys and Arianes and Lexis and Kits. The Daves, and Sues, the Geraldines, Tims, Wendys and Lyns and Jeans and Bevs and Marks. Without these people communities would shrivel and waste, but with them they thrive and buzz and are wonderful places to be.
Here’s to community.
(Thanks to Adam for his photos)