Farmers market idea flourishes in the shire

Councillor Matt Gould thinks a Wollondilly farmers market is a ‘no-brainer’ idea.

The shire has the farmers, good quality produce and lots of residents who want to support the local agricultural industry.

Not to mention the shire’s slogan is “rural living”.

Cr Gould is keen to see a fresh produce market, that rivals Camden’s market, established in either The Oaks, Bargo or Thirlmere.

“I visited Camden Fresh Produce Markets recently and I noticed that nearly all the produce was grown in Wollondilly,” he said.

“If we could establish one in the shire then it would be a good opportunity to highlight our farmers’ high quality produce.

“I want to build up the ‘Wollondilly agriculture’ brand.

“I believe it could flourish.”

Cr Gould can also see the market’s tourism potential.

“There are big markets overseas that are a tourist draw card,” he said.

“A market could encourage more visitors to our villages.”

The idea was raised with the councillor by Wollondilly Council’s Rural Industry Advisory Committee.

“Some of the shire’s primary producers have discussed establishing a community market at committee meetings,” he said.

“The farmers said logistically the market would need to be undercover and there would need to be access for trucks to easily get in and out.

“I could see it happening at The Oaks, Thirlmere or Bargo.

“I want the market to help a village grow.”

Cr Gould said the location had to be somewhere central where people could easily visit so the market was self-sustaining.

There have been produce markets established in the shire previously but they were not sustainable.

“We also need to work out whether the council would run it or whether a community group could take it over,” Cr Gould said.

He said the market could attract the shire’s large and small producers.

“I’m sure some of our established farmers would like to sell to locals at a community market,” Cr Gould said.

“The market will be particularly good for our small producers or hobby farmers who might only grow vegetables or fruit seasonably.

“They don’t make all that much money selling from their homes and they don’t produce enough for a big supermarket to want so the market would be great for them to get some additional income.”

Cr Gould would like to see the market “get legs” this year.

He said he wanted to work out the best way to market sustainable for the future and would continue to talk with the Rural Industry Advisory Committee.