Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Farmers' Markets Offer Best Value; Buying Local Fresh Produce Guarantees Longer Shelf-Life

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Farmers' Markets Offer Best Value; Buying Local Fresh Produce Guarantees Longer Shelf-Life

Article excerpt

Byline: JANINE HILL

SEMI-molten and retaining its form thanks to the plastic wrap more than its rapidly blackening skin, the cucumber looked like something that had been dragged out of the compost heap, but was actually bound for it.

Horror stories like this are thrown up by everyone's refrigerator at some stage. However, this retrograde gourd had not been long-lost in the crisper, but rather, purchased from a convenience store only three days earlier.

Is it any wonder that more and more people are buying their food from markets these days? About 6000 people visit the Noosa Farmers' Markets every Sunday morning and another 2000 head to its Saturday sister market at the Nambour State School grounds.

Shane Stanley, the convenor of the markets and another at North Lakes, believes the freshness and quality of food brings the customers in droves to the markets.

Mr Stanley and his cohorts recently "fridge tested" produce sold at the markets and found lettuce and cucumbers handled two weeks in a cold room without a problem, with apples still crispy fresh after six weeks.

He said much of the produce had been picked the day before by stallholders, unlike fruit and vegetables sold by supermarkets, which had often spent weeks in transit and storage before hitting the shelves.

He said one stallholder used to rise at 3am on Sundays to pick tomatoes to take to the Noosa markets by 5am.

"That way, he could say that his produce was the freshest," Mr Stanley said.

Mal and Del Moss shop at the Noosa Farmers' Markets every week to buy fruit and vegetables for their home as well as their cafe - Coffee Rest at Noosaville.

"Because we own a cafe, we buy pretty much a week's worth of fruit and vegies and it lasts," Del said. She seeks out zucchini, sweet potatoes and other vegetables that she can use as ingredients for various slices and other dishes. …

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