Willunga Farmers Market was set up to provide a venue for small producers to sell their finest and freshest first-quality food the region has to offer, direct to customers. It was a giant leap of faith by producers and customers alike and it is now a celebrated success story of grassroots, sustainable and economic development.
Here™s how it all began¦¦The Willunga farmers market began in February 2002, when the first South Australian farmers™ market opened at 8.00am with 18 stalls in the car park of the Alma Hotel, Willunga. The market is now a regular feature every Saturday morning from 8 am to 12 midday; rain, hail or shine. The main rule is that produce must be based around the Fleurieu Peninsula - for instance it should be grown there, or if it is processed product, the major ingredients should be local.
The popularity of the market grew quickly with both locals and tourists and a new and permanent home was needed. October 2007 saw the culmination of years of effort with the opening of the new site in Willunga Town Square by Premier Mike Rann, Onkaparinga Mayor Lorraine Rosenberg and a thankful cast of 60 plus stallholders, 1200 members and thousands of happy shoppers. Willunga Farmers Market™s future was assured!
Celebrating its seventh birthday in 2009, the market is now settled into its new home and new marketeers are still discovering it every week. Now in 2010, it currently has a growing membership of over 2000 people dedicated to good food and supporting local producers.
The office too has a new home in The Hub (the old Council offices) right next to the Town Square, thanks to the assistance of The City of Onkaparinga.
After the long hard work of dedicated staff and volunteers that made Willunga Farmers Market the success it is, the new decade of 2010 has seen a new change in management. Both Market Manager and Assistant Market Manager left at the start of 2010, seeing in the new team almost at the same time.
Both current Market Manager, Steve Ashley and Assistant Market Manager, Billy Doecke have extensive experience in event management and a dedication to the cause. While the social responsibility aspect of the organisation is important they are also both dedicated to ensuring the integrity of the market remains upheld, with great local food being provided by stall holders.
Smells, colour and atmosphere are a big feature of farmers markets. All that food collected in one place, and the fairground feeling makes market-shopping fun. A sample of some of the produce on offer might include: freshly baked bread from local bakers using local flours and other ingredients like olives for olive bread; local olive oil; Willunga-grown almonds; a varied display of fresh herbs and spices flavoured with local ingredients like lime leaves or McLaren Vale brandy; NASAA certified vegetable and herb growers; and even vegetable seedlings.
A variety of meats are also available, including venison, lamb, biodynamic beef and even scallops plucked fresh from the ocean floor.
There are a variety of stalls with something for everyone including;
- Blue Cottage Almonds, Frantic Whisk, Glaetzers Blueberry pies, Happy Foods, Lina Kondoprias™ Greek Sweets, Miss Merbein, Willunga Pasta Company, The Biscuit Basket and Warrakilla
- Flowers from Willunga Plains Flowers
- Cheese, yoghurt, butter and milk from BD Paris Creek Dairy, Alexandrina Cheese, Fleurieu Milk and Woodside Cheese Wrights.
- Bee products like Do Bee Honey, Taronga Orchard and The Honey Lady with Chai Tea & Honey
MembershipBecoming a member of Willunga Farmers Market is a wonderful way of joining and supporting a local community whilst enjoying the benefits of discounted shopping. When you join you receive a personal membership card, valid for a year, and a free Willunga Farmers Market shopping bag.
There are also benefits for members including;
- 10% discount at all stalls (excl the breakfast stall)
- advance invitation to all events and fundraisers
- voting rights at the AGM
- an opportunity to run for a position on Willunga Farmers Market Committee.
The cost of an annual membership is just $35 a year and many members say they save that in less than 3 months with the 10% of their produce purchases.
Stall OwnersWillunga Farmers Market puts all possible and current stall holders through a stringent selection process to ensure the market™s integrity is upheld. This is how shoppers can know that the market is actually the best in SA!
This selection process consists of an application detailing produce to be sold and its origins and a 100 point selection test. Producers must reach 100 points in their selected category, to be eligible to hold a stall.
The stall holders are required to renew this process every year and to make sure they are true to the core value of the farmers market movement their farm or property where they produce their goods can be inspected.
The market stalls cost $40 per week plus annual membership, which is $35. For more information on becoming a stall holder or to download the application form and 100 point selection test visit the Willunga Farmers Market website.
The market began with assistance from the Onkaparinga Council, including a small cash grant. They were very lucky to have internationally renown conservationist David Suzuki open the markets.
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Zannie Flanagan was in Sydney a few weeks before the market began and was staying in the same house as the person who was organising David Suzuki's visit to Australia including his appearance at Adelaide Writers Week. She cheekily suggested that he come and open the market - and he agreed! It was fantastic. David was keen to support the positive action, having previously been known
mainly as a dooms-dayer and harbinger of bad news, this provided a good
opportunity to support local action. Several thousand shoppers were
attracted by media publicity around the opening, ensuring a good day and
solid start to the market.
Zannie has gone on to start and run the highly successful Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers Market and has recently been awarded a member of the Order of Australia AM for over 30 years of work to promote regional food and producers and the farmers market movement.
Even the occasional severe weather does not keep the regular punters away, although it may reduce numbers of more casual shoppers.
The Willunga Farmers Market is open every Saturday, 8am to 12:30pm rain, hail or shine!