On being a small-scale producer

On being a small-scale producer

2000 1333 Table Under a Tree

There is a symbiotic relationship between farmer’s markets and the community. It’s a relationship that allows us all to access and enjoy real food, from real people at real places.

A small local market held on Saturday mornings, the weekly Kingscliff Farmer’s Market used to be held at the TAFE campus. While the market was well supported – by stallholders and the community – unfortunately increased rental fees forced the market coordinators to close down while a new location could be arranged.

Now, if you’re a producer who relies on markets as your primary conduit to reach your customers, the closure of a market can leave a significant gap.

For the inimitable Debbie Allard, cheese guru at Cheeses Loves You, Kingscliff was one of the markets she sold her cheesy goods at, and its absence was keenly felt (as it would have been by all the other 25-odd stallholders too).

Never one to take things lying down, Debbie decided that if the people couldn’t come to the cheese, then the cheese would come to the people! Yes, that is a mangled analogy, but what I’m trying to tell you is that Debbie decided just to set her stall up anyway, doing pop-up stalls around the region to bridge the gap until a new location could be found.

Debbie’s always impressed me with her chutzpah. She has that innate resourcefulness and resilience that abounds in small-scale producers, people who in my experience, seem to have an indefatigable stock of energy, imagination and optimism.

The situation is a useful glimpse into the fragility of being a primary producer or a farmer of any kind, and it’s a good reminder of how important it is for us as visitors to a region or as community members to support local food producers as much as possible. If we want access to fresh, seasonal, local produce, there needs to be steady demand for it.

Meanwhile, the pop-ups continue for Debbie until the Kingscliff team can secure a new venue. So if you’re in the region over coming weeks, keep at eye out for a cheeky cheesy stall appearing at the following locations:

Remember, real food, from real people at real places, always.