There’s never been a better time to shop at your local farmers’ market. Unlike the supermarkets, where price gouging is rife with the asking price of lettuce at a staggering $10 each, the farmers’ markets have remained a stable source for fresh locally grown produce at a fair price.
Byron Farmers Market manager Tom Carey said prices at the farmers’ market never fluctuate to the degree they do in supermarkets.
‘Our farmers are able to keep their costs down – and fair – because they are selling directly to the consumer, cutting out freight, packaging and middle-man costs,’ he said. ‘Their produce is not being carted hundreds or thousands of kilometres to reach its destination. It’s grown locally and sold locally’. Price gouging is really not in the spirit of what we stand for at the farmers’ market.’
Indeed, NSW Farmers Horticulture Committee chairperson, Guy Gaeta, recently told the ABC that supermarkets were pocketing extra profits made through price rises.
‘People are paying more for their fruit and veggies at the supermarket, but the farmers aren’t selling them for more, so who’s really raising the prices here?’ he said. ‘Sure, you’ll get a little lift in prices because of the cost of fuel, but not like we’ve seen at the checkouts recently. They’re ripping off the farmer and they’re ripping off the consumer.’
Mr Carey said that despite one of the wettest seasons on record, buying at the farmers’ markets still guarantees the consumer a fair price.
‘It’s been a very difficult season for all farmers – one of the hardest in living memory. On top of that we’ve had skyrocketing fuel and fertiliser costs. In time, farmers may need to pass on some of the increasing costs, but it’s certainly nothing like the price hikes we are seeing in the supermarkets.
‘On top of that, at the farmers’ market your money goes directly to the person who grew your food and ultimately this keeps the money in our local economy, which is good for everyone.’
Byron Farmers Market is held every Thursday 7–11am at Butler Street Reserve, and Bangalow Farmers Market is every Saturday morning 7–11am behind the Bangalow Pub.