Growing the community

The market


Where and when is the market?

The SAGE Farmers Market is held every Tuesday afternoon, in any weather, at Riverside Park in Moruya.

It starts at 3pm with the ringing of the bell.

Why do I have to wait for the bell before I can buy?

The market is held in an open public space, so there are no gates or fences for crowd control while the stall holders are setting up. Due to the huge popularity of the market, the crowd usually starts to gather before the start time of 3pm.

Customers are often tempted to buy before the official start time, however, once one stall holder starts selling early, more stall holders feel pressured to do the same. The start time gradually gets earlier and earlier, which is unfair to customers who can’t get to the market until after 3pm.

It also creates public safety issues, as vehicles are often still moving about the park as stall holders arrive, unload and set up.

There are many opinions about the best start time for the market. Earlier, later… we’ve heard them all and good arguments can be made for both. The managing committee has considered them all (several times) and has decided to keep the start time at 3pm.

To assist our stall holders, please don’t ask to be served before 3pm.

Do you cancel when it rains?

No.

Well, ok. If there’s an extreme weather event, such as a catastrophic fire danger, or it’s been cyclonic for a few days, then yes.

But we have held our market in some pretty crazy weather and have only ever cancelled twice, so if it’s just a bit of rain, you can bet the market will be on. It might be a bit smaller and a bit shorter, but it will be on.

Farmers are made of some pretty stern stuff and our customers are equally faithful. It takes a lot to make us cancel.

Are the markets organic?

We do not require our producers to grow organically. The market welcomes any grower from within our local region.

However, many producers do grow following organic principles, without the use of synthetic fertilisers, herbicides or pesticides. A few are certified organic.

We encourage you to ask questions about the food you’re buying. The stall holders are all happy to talk about what they grow and how they grew it. It’s a great way to learn about the food you’re eating and get connected to your local food system.

Does food cost more at the market?

Yes and no. There is no short answer to this question.

There are many things that influence price at a farmers market.

One is seasonality. When something is in season, there’s a lot of it and prices are low. Often lower than the supermarkets. So depending on the time of year and what the product is, farmers markets can be cheaper.

Generally speaking, stall holders at farmers markets grow on a much smaller scale than farmers who supply supermarkets. They lack the advantages of the larger growers who have various economies of scale. Growing food is a 7-day-a-week job and farmers deserve a fair wage, just as everyone who works does. This can mean that some products are more expensive than the supermarkets, who have the buying power to negotiate down prices they pay their suppliers, so they can sell cheaper without incurring any loss themselves. When you buy direct from the farmer, you know that you are paying a fair price for the work it has taken to bring that product to the market. That’s how you support a local food system.

We encourage our customers not to think in terms of “cheaper” or “more expensive”. We believe thinking in terms of “value” is far more relevant. The food at a farmers market is fresher and lasts longer in your fridge. As our market is an afternoon market, the produce is picked that morning. No supermarket can compete with that.

The contribution you make to your health, your wellbeing, the wellbeing of the farmer and the wellbeing of the local community is the real value of buying from a farmers market.

But if it does come down to simply spending more or less, follow this advice:

Eat seasonally and eat mindfully (ie. with less waste) and it will not cost you any more to shop at a farmers market.

Why are prices different between stall holders?

Our market is pro-competition. We do not restrict the number of stall holders selling the same products. As each stall holder is a separate small business, they have the freedom to set their own prices, as they see fit.

This creates competition within the market, as stall holders vie for your custom. This is great news for customers. Take the time to compare prices between stall holders. Check for quality and ask questions about how the product was grown. One product might have nutritional benefits over another, for example.

Look for value and remember: a farmers market is not a wholesale market. You are paying a fair price to the farmer for the work they have put in to bring that product to the market.

The e-market


Why is the e-market closed?

The e-market is a way to order and pay for produce in advance, to be collected from the market on Tuesday afternoons.

Because the produce available changes constantly, the market is completely restocked from scratch every week. Producers often don’t know what they will have available until a few days before the Tuesday market, so the e-market opens at midday on Friday.

Then, to give the producers time to pick and pack the orders, the e-market closes at midday on Monday.

Does the e-market deliver?

Unfortunately, no.

For now, customers must pickup their order from the market on Tuesday afternoons between 3pm and 5:30pm.

When you’re rebuilding a local food system from nothing, you do what you can with what you have. That means that, for now, we don’t have the funds to offer a delivery service.

But we are aiming to offer delivery and/or alternative pickup locations as the e-market enterprise grows.

Can I pickup my order from one central point?

Yes!

For a small fee, you can have your purchases collected from the stall holders and boxed for you, ready to pick up from our e-Market Central Pickup at the SAGE stall.

But you also have the choice to select the even cheaper option to collect your purchases yourself from the individual stall holders.

Part of SAGE’s mission is to connect people to their local food system. Meeting the people who grow and make your food is an essential part of this mission.

Take the opportunity to introduce yourself when you pickup your order. Get to know the stall holders. Ask them about the food they grow and make. You’ll discover the passion and effort that goes into the food you eat, along with a whole new appreciation for what you put on the dinner table.

Why is there a processing fee?

A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to make the e-market happen each week. The processing fee contributes towards the cost of that work.

We have set the fee as low as we possibly can.

SAGE is a not-for-profit organisation, so the fee is only charged to help cover costs.

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