Friday, 2 April 2010

Farmer's Market Accreditation

Victoria has just launched Australia's first Farmer's Market Accreditation program - what a great idea!

The Victorian Farmers’ Markets Association (VFMA) Accreditation Program has a rigorous stallholder application process and about 350 members. It's designed to ensure their fast growing farmers’ markets sector is made up of genuine farmers, producers and makers so that people are buying goods that are directly from farmers and makers and that customer dollars are going straight back to regional communities

When visiting a market it's always nice to know that the sellers are the real deal and not resellers.

Victorian Farmers’ markets will gain accreditation under the VFMA Accreditation Program through a rigorous process once they have no less than 90% of stallholders accredited in metropolitan areas and no less than 75% in regional areas.

When you go to a 'Farmer's Market' how do you know if you're buying the real thing? First talk to the people you are buying from and ask them about their products. Real farmers will know stuff no reseller could even imagine or care about. They may even talk way too long telling you which paddock the tomatoes where grown in and why this variety is better than the other.

Also check their range of produce - if it's really extensive it's unlikely one farmer could grow all the items. Check where they come from.

Another tip, courtesy of food guru Alison Alexander, is to look at the boxes behind the stalls. If you see labels from many different sources ask how the seller obtained the goods. Boxes from way outside the local geographic area are a dead give away! No good food miles there...

There's nothing wrong with purchasing produce from a reseller at market as long as you know that's what you are doing. Just be smart, especially if you are paying a premium price. Resellers who are cutting out the middle man and selling direct from the produce market to you often don't have access to or want to buy premium products. Remember this if you look at your market purchases with disappointment later in the week.

Anybody know if there are plans to introduce this in Queensland? I think we need it!
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