Bellingen Farmers & Producers Market

North Arms Farm Collective - a group from the Nambucca Valley who will be at the market
North Arms Farm Collective - a group from the Nambucca Valley who will be at the market

From the end of this month, Bellingen will have an authentic Farmers and Producers Market every Wednesday afternoon at the showground.

Organiser Louise Hensby explained use of the word 'authentic' is not a slight on the current Growers Market, which will continue on the second and fourth Saturday of the month.

It simply means none of the food will come from wholesalers in Brisbane or Sydney, and that the market will operate according to best practice guidelines from the NSW Farmers Market Alliance and the Australian Farmers Market Association.

"The philosophy is to support locally-grown food and locally-made food from within a 200km radius of Bellingen," Louise said.

She said the fortnightly Growers Market includes produce from the Brisbane organic markets because consumers want certain products all year round.

"I'm not criticising the Bellingen Growers Market, because I'm actually on the committee of that market as well," she said. "I see a place for that market.This market is not competing, it's complementing by building a stronger local food system in our region."

Louise Hensby

Louise Hensby

The market will draw fresh fruit and vegetables from seven local government areas: Clarence, Coffs, Belllingen, Nambucca, Kempsey, Armidale and Port Macquarie.

Louise said a Walcha farmer would be bringing a tonne of organically-grown brassicas every week from July.

"A wide variety, not just cabbage and broccoli," she said.

Some of the farmers have formed into collectives to share transport and market attendance duties, so although there may be only eight stalls to begin with, more farmers than that will be sending their produce.

Louise stressed that like all farmers markets, this one would start small and grow with loyal patronage.

"I've got a load of farmers and producers who will be waiting and watching to see if it's going to take off," she said. "I've got probably another eight in the next three or four months."

As well as fruit and veg, the market will have Indigenous and artisan food products, meats, herbs and Asian-inspired cooked food to eat at the markets or take home.

The first market will be on Wednesday May 29, from 2.30pm-6pm at Bellingen Showgrounds.

Louise had originally intended to close at 5.30pm in winter but will be trialling the later time due to community feedback.

Bellingen Farmers and Producers Market will include

Farmers

The Mandarin Bend, Autarky Farm, Harvest Owl, Abundant Vitality, Little Star Bee Sanctuary, Paradise Mushrooms, Rolling Hills Organics, Dolly's Run - from Nambucca; Strathaven Organics - Walcha; Eastward Garden - Rollands Plains; Will Pullen - bananas and avocados from Yarrahappini; Kalang Organic Farm and some other farmers in the valley; Bello local growers bringing produce for the community table; Mirrabooka Pork from Lawrence near Yamba.

Producers

Nicole Wateler making medicinal chicken broth, a healthy snack, homemade almond milk and golden milk; Eastward Garden will be bringing homemade vegan rolls and pies and homemade chutneys and preserves; Celestial Roots medicines and fermented foods; Lore Australia locally made native bio foods and drinks.

Café

Our Market Kitchen - Asian-style food to eat at the markets or take home for dinner, with ingredients mostly from farmers within 50km of Bellingen.

For more information contact bellingenfarmers@gmail.com or see https://www.facebook.com/bellingenfarmersmarket/