Market plan springs to life

Market plan springs to life


Life & Style
Fiona May, with Wessex saddleback boar Walter. <i>- Picture: Lucia Photography.</i>

Fiona May, with Wessex saddleback boar Walter. - Picture: Lucia Photography.

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A VIBRANT farmers market in Toowoomba has been a long-held dream for Fiona May.

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A VIBRANT farmers market in Toowoomba has been a long-held dream for Fiona May.

Not content with waiting, she decided to take matters into her own hands, establishing a committee to help her plan and host the Toowoomba Farmers Market.

Fiona has thrown open her farm-gate for the inaugural event, which will take place on Saturday, June 13, from 7am to 12pm.

For a gold coin donation, visitors to the market on Fiona's property will have the opportunity to speak with producers about what they do and also buy fresh, seasonal produce.

There will be demonstrations, guest speakers and live entertainment throughout the morning.

Fiona said the response had been overwhelming and attributed it to the fact Toowoomba does not have a genuine farmers market.

"I'm very passionate about value-adding, educating people about food and healthy eating," she said.

"We want to focus on real food and what you can do with that real food.

"This will be the first market but we do have plans for the future to value-add and zone in on education for people."

Thanks to all those who have contacted us about having a stall at our upcoming Farmers' Market (I'm still yet to respond...

Watch a milking demo when we host the first Toowoomba Farmers Market's. With over 1400 RSVP's (already) think its fair to say Toowoomba wants this :)XO

Lowering food miles and helping the community establish a connection with where their food came from helped stimulate Fiona's plans.

She said the committee was working with the guidelines of the Australian Farmers' Markets Association.

"Another thing that motivated me was hearing about local producers who are going to markets in Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, and Gold Coast to sell their produce and products.

"I think that's ridiculous; we have such a great food bowl and agricultural sector in Toowoomba."

Taking a holistic approach to farming, food and lifestyle has long been an interest for Fiona, who is inspired by the work of Joel Salatin and Tammi Jonas.

While on maternity leave with her youngest child, she decided to turn their four-hectare property at Cawdor, 15 minutes north of Toowoomba, into a business opportunity. And so, From Paddock to Potager was born.

"It's all about educating people on the things you can rear in a paddock and potager is the French word for 'kitchen garden', so educating people about that side of things too."

The mother of two young boys runs farm tours and workshops, where visitors can see her heritage chooks and Wessex saddleback pigs and learn more about the food production process.

She also has an active blog and social media presence and hopes to eventually buy another property to establish a commercial, free-range pigging business.

Another part of the From Paddock to Potager experience is the CSA (community-supported agriculture) program.

"In accordance with local laws, we are only allowed 21 pig units on the property, so we have one boar, three sows, and grow out their piglets to seven months of age.

"As part of the CSA, we are teaching people about how to rear a pig; we give them a free farm tour, discounted workshop and they can come and see how their pig is reared ethically and in a truly free-range environment.

"At the end of the process, they get to pick up the final product from Bannock Brae Meats, a local butcher in Meringandan."

Fiona is eager to see a variety of industries showcased at the Toowoomba Farmers Market and is excited about the opportunities it will create for local producers and businesses.

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