Farmers’ markets around the Gold Coast are up and running again after COVID-19 restrictions forced them to close earlier this year.
The temporary closure of the markets had meant hundreds of small, locally-owned businesses had suffered a financial hit, but their reopening has meant customers are once again able to shop for the fresh produce and handmade goods these stalls have to offer.
State member for Bonney, Sam O’Connor, said he was thrilled to have the markets back in full swing for the community to enjoy.
“Markets give people a chance to enjoy the sunshine, buy fresh produce, have a coffee or meal, and buy niche products they might not have found otherwise,” Mr O’Connor said.
“For many people they give a potential second source of income too which is really important at the moment”.
However, Mr O’Connor urged everyone in the community to remember to follow the COVID-safe regulations.
“Everyone needs to follow the rules though,” he said.
“We saw some worrying behaviour in Brisbane markets earlier during this pandemic.
“Stick with social distancing and be considerate of others.
“Stall holders need to follow their COVID Safe plans to minimise any risk.”
Bundall’s Markets in the Meadow is a relatively new farmers’ market that runs every Sunday morning.
John Steytler from East Coast Bee Services is a long time market stallholder on the Gold Coast and is a new member at Markets in the Meadow.
He said while he had struggled to adapt to the new ways of “market distancing” to keep COVID-safe, he was happy to be able to continue to share his pride and joy… honey.
Mr Steytler, who is a local farmer and beekeeper at Tallai, said he had been attending markets on the Gold Coast for 13 years.
“I sell raw and infused honey and beeswax,” he said.
“My infused honey has everything from cinnamon to lavender!”
And while Mr Steytler said bees were his favourite company, he said he liked the locals too.
“I keep coming back for the friendly people,” he said.
“It’s much better now to see everyone back and it getting busier again.”
“I missed the chatter, but I’ve still got ahold of my sanitiser though!”
Liam Filholm from Ulla’s Flowers has been selling dried and fresh flowers at markets on the Gold Coast for two years and is now selling his products alongside Mr Steytler’s stall.
“I love the atmosphere here, [and am] absolutely happy to see the markets back in swing,” he said.
“This market here is so casual, relaxed – it’s just great and such a variety of produce.”
Another Markets in the Meadow regular is Linda Holroyd from Miss Macs Macadamias.
Ms Holroyd is new to the market scene, having only started her stall a year ago.
However, she raves about the experience.
“Every week is different, different stall holders, different customers, but always a great atmosphere.”
The Gold Coast currently offers farmers markets in a number of locations including Palm Beach, Burleigh, Helensvale, Mudgeeraba and Currumbin, but MP Sam O’Connor would like to see more.
“We need more markets on the Gold Coast and that will be one thing I’ll be looking to get council to bring here,” Mr O’Connor said.
“I’d love to see some set up in the Labrador and Chirn Park area, and there’s not much north of Southport, which is a huge part of our city,” he said.
“Everyone misses NightQuarter, so there’s clearly a need for markets here.”
Markets in the Meadow managers Rosalind and Tony Slaughter encourage all Gold Coast locals to get out and support their local markets now more than ever.
The pair are keen to assure customers they will get great service and fresher produce from the markets than in stores, with the added bonus of making some local farmers very happy.
“We encourage everyone to come try the markets; you won’t be disappointed,” they said.
Markets in the Meadow are open on Sunday mornings from 6am at the Gold Coast Turf Club in Bundall.
Or look online to find out what markets are on offer near you.