Saturday, 25 April 2009

Farmgate Market @ The Pier

The opening day of the Farmgate Market @ The Pier last Saturday brought quite a bit of mixed commentary over at Cairnsblog. I've resisted any comment so far as I don't think any judgement can be made on the basis of an opening day and I only passed through briefly before fleeing the crowds!

However, I will get together some thoughts and comments both here and at Cairnsblog soon ....... so after some delays a too brief commentary which I'm sure will need to updated including ideas and suggestions ......

After avoiding the opening day crowds in favour of a coffee down at Cafe Lumiere I turned up for a more relaxed browse last Saturday. Maybe Anzac Day wasn’t a good day to make a judgement either but there was still a good turnout and unlike many more cynical commentators at Cairnsblog, I don’t see why this concept can’t be successful in this location, although there may need to be some evolution as it develops and matures.

Those commentators who seemed to think they may be able to go and do their fruit and vege shopping like at Rusty’s were misguided to begin with. If you thought that’s what it was going to be no wonder you were disappointed. It won’t be replacing my regular weekly jaunt to Rusty’s but as a food slut this is an addition. I walked away with a few kaffir limes, some hot chillis, and a bottle of sluttishly decadent rainforest lemon jus.

I have had the same response from vendors, with Gil down at Rusty’s Coffeeworks telling me that his sales hadn’t been affected by the opening, and they were also very pleased with the response for Coffeeworks at The Pier. Similarly Rusty’s vendors such as Jervois, Gallo, Mungalli, Spice Girls and both the local pasta makers seem content to support both venues. I found some products by these people I hadn’t seen before and some interesting new local producers such as Happy Beef, Rainforest Bounty and Tarzali Smokehouse.

The emphasis at this location needs to be more on high quality gourmet lines of regional best produce with an attraction of tourists as much as locals. We are more blessed than we realise and this is a sector that has been badly done and neglected here considering the global growth of food tourism. The local food tours are just cheap and shabby in my view and were I a visiting foodslut I would be disappointed in what we offer of our bounty and potential compared to other regions of Australia and the world.

My sense was that these were not necessarily the same people down at The Pier that you may run into down at Rusty’s, and the ambience was very different. There has been an obvious huge spin-off for the restaurant’s down at The Pier. Unlike many Cairnsblog cynics I’m not prepared to bury this so early and there is plenty of scope for evolution and ideas to let this grow into something positive if the organisers are willing to experiment . There were many ideas prompted in what passes for my mind but i'm not giving them away yet .....


I Love My Produce said...

No offense Kitchenslut, but you've I think made the point very well about why this can't succeed (at least with its current focus). You went away with a few limes, some hot peppers, and a bottle of seasoning. And that's pretty much what everyone left with the first two weeks. That kind of stuff isn't a "weekly shop", it's monthly or more.

The reality is that there isn't enough local produce to have a "local produce" market. Reminds me of the "local produce" markets in Beijing years ago - one time of the year, mountains of cabbage would be dumped on streetcorners - instant produce market. And in the summer, mountains of watermelons were dumped on the streetcorners. Those were at the time the two crops grown around Beijing.

And because of the government restrictions related to the "grant" for the establishment, they can't just branch out and do anything else. And if they do, they're just duplicating the council markets on the Esplanade, and then what's the point.

With it being subsidised by tax money, I'm sure they'll be experimenting but the basic concept is flawed.

And the venue is frankly hideous for anyone on a Saturday morning.

just another sad consequence of Alan Blakes continual mid life crisis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
KitchenSlut said...

The Farmgate Market at The Pier still seems to be doing well and attracting interest with good spinoff for the restaurants there and positive feedbackfrom key stallholders.

The pasta people told me they are selling more at The Pier than Rusty's. Jervois meats were also very positive and confirmed my previous suggestion that it was mostly a different crowd at The Pier.

Last Saturday they also introduced some printed recipe ideas, with ingredients from stalls at the market, which were also demonstrated by a chef from Cho Gao. This was something i'd previously considered for Rusty's.

This is more a lifestyle gourmet foodie destination and works well as a promotion as much as for any sales volumes.

P.S. The vanilla essence from the Port Douglas man is excellent!

Anonymous said...

I've been every week, soon after 7.30am. I am more than satisfied with the quality and freshness and, increasingly, the variety. I am now able to do the entire weekly shop there for fruit and veg and some other items. I have not been into Rustys for a month. Crowds are certainly less than they were at the start and i do hope it is sustainable. I love it.

Buzz said...

I reckon it's going well. I bought coffee, cheese, smoked fish, sugar bananas, yoghurt, pawpaw, chocolate, pasta, sweet potatoes. If you want to reduce the food miles then just eat what's produced locally rather than all that stuff that's been transported thousands of kilometres.

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